While Chatroulette may not be talked about as much these days, it’s still one of the premier free video chat sites on the internet. If you’ve never heard of it, the website basically “pairs strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations.” Continue reading to see twelve bizarre screenshots, along with a Call Me Maybe cover composed entirely of Chatroulette conversations.
- The Chatroulette web site was created by Andrey Ternovsky, a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow, Russia. Ternovsky says the concept arose from video chats he used to have with friends on Skype, and that he wrote the first version of Chatroulette in “two days and two nights”.
- Ternovsky chose the name “Chatroulette” after watching The Deer Hunter, a 1978 film set in the Vietnam War in which prisoners of war are forced to play Russian roulette. In early November 2009, shortly after the site launched, it had 500 visitors per day. One month later there were 50,000.
- The site has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York magazine, and on Good Morning America, Newsnight in the United Kingdom, Tosh.0, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In February 2010, there were about 35,000 people on Chatroulette at any given time. Around the beginning of March, Ternovsky estimated the site to have around 1.5 million users, approximately 33% of them from the United States and 5% from Germany.
- An early growth phase was funded by a $10,000 investment from Ternovsky’s parents which he soon paid back. As of March 2010, Ternovsky was running the site from his childhood bedroom, assisted by four programmers who were working remotely, and the site was supported through advertising links to an online dating service.