Chatroulette: Trying to Save Face by Changing Its Face… Again

faces

In case you’re unfamiliar with the controversial, Russia-based site known as Chatroulette.com, it is a popular social video site that allows the user to chat with any other random user who is also on the site. It’s a pretty cool concept that leaves some obvious ways for it to be abused (read: lots of naked people).

Because of their troubles with pornographic content filling up the site, they’ve tried several times to overhaul the site and put human and automated filters in place to weed out the offending users. Their past attempts have been relatively unsuccessful at cleaning up the site, so they’re going to try one more time.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Chatroulette has again stated that they are going to try to refresh their image, this time with a contest for designers to take a shot at creating a new logo and a new site design. For a video service that had a lot of initial promise, it will be interesting to see if they can salvage their brand and rise back to popularity.

As you can see from the unique visitor chart below, Chatroulette experienced very rapid growth right after they launched in late 2009 with a peak in March of 2010. But ever since then, there has been a steep decline in traffic, even after a major overhaul of the site during the summer of 2010 that was generally thought of as a step in the wrong direction for the site and they implemented nothing to censor or deter the rampant pornographic content.

unique visitors to chatrouletteInterestingly enough, the unique visitors seem to be on a slight upswing since they began to improve the content of the site this spring, and at worst, the traffic appears to have leveled off and become relatively stable. Even more interesting is the average stay chart below that shows that despite having fewer users, the users they do have are more engaged than ever before.

average stay chatrouletteYou can see that since December 2010, average stay on the site has leveled off at well over 10 minutes! Even at its peak traffic last year in March, the average user only stayed on the site for just barely over 10 minutes, and it rapidly declined from there. It’s clear that some people are still using Chatroulette, and it looks like they’re still reaching their core audience. According to our March 2011 data, 57% of the site’s users fall within the 18-34 age range, and even more surprisingly, gender has shifted to be pretty evenly split at 51% male and 49% female. They must be doing something right!

What do you think? Will another overhaul on the site’s appearance attract more users? Have you ever used Chatroulette or would you at least think about using it if the site’s content got cleaned up? Are you an aspiring designer planning on entering the redesign contest? Let us know in the comments!

About Jared DeLuca:
Jared is currently the Associate Digital Marketing Manager at Compete (Millward Brown Digital). He is a graduate of Northeastern University, having achieved his B.A. in Communication Studies. If you like what you read, you can connect with him on Google+, Twitter, or on LinkedIn.

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  1. Janet Peischel

    Now this is interesting. I first heard about Chatroulette in an article in the New Yorker. It included information about how they were receiving VC funding.

    Naturally, I went online to see what this was all about. Let’s me just say that I’m not their demographic, but I do think it’s intriguing, but frankly, I don’t see how a new logo is going to change their image. What am I missing?

    Reply

    • Jared DeLuca

      I think what they’re trying to go for is the new logo/site design, coupled with their more advanced content filtering will give them a much-needed image boost to the average user

      Reply

  2. apumpkinpatch.com

    A Pumpkin Patch has a pretty solid moderation system and it’s trying to have something for everybody. http://APumpkinPatch.com

    It’s literally brand new, almost finished development but it already has ways to meet random anonymous people using video and audio, as well as text only or audio only. It also has a Facebook only video mixup section using Facebook connect to display basic chatter information.

    and… there is an android and iphone app counterpart coming within the next week or two, and way more on the horizon. It’s going to be a lot of fun for people looking for a site like this…but want more to do!

    Reply

    • Jared DeLuca

      Interesting, looks like it could be a really cool alternative to Chatroulette

      Reply

      • apumpkinpatch

        Thanks! Appreciate it! I’m an independent dev, and i’ve been working on it a lot the past month. Almost done development, I have a lot of fun things planned. I feel like there is so much potential for this concept that no one has even began to touch yet.
        I just figured i’d get it up online asap to start building users. Because, obviously the site won’t work without people. Anyway, thanks for letting me post it here, i’ve noticed it’s helping send a few people over my way.
        If you’d be interested, send me an email and I could explain why I think apumpkinpatch would be worth writing an article about. Thanks again!

        Reply