Chatroulette returns--with more of the same

Version 2 is now live. Despite expectations that the site would clean up its act, salacious content is almost instantly available.

Version 2 of Chatroulette was expected to make the site more user-friendly--and less salacious. But a short while after it went live, little appears to have changed.

Chatroulette went offline just over a week ago for a revamp. When users load up Chatroulette now, they will find a very basic home page with no guide to help them maneuver around the revised site.

Beyond that, Chatroulette has several issues. For one, if someone doesn't have a Webcam, Chatroulette isn't working. In fact, the person won't be able to view anything. Even with a Webcam, connecting to the site was difficult. I was forced to reload multiple times before it would connect to my Webcam.

And then there is the issue of content.

Since its launch last year Chatroulette has been criticized by some people --especially parents--who say the site makes it too easy to discover sexual content. Chatroulette is designed to let you bounce from one anonymous video chat to another, with some people offering meaningful conversation and others offering something much seedier.

The new version was expected to address that issue.

It hasn't. Within a few minutes, I came across people either performing or desiring risque acts on camera. All in all, it seems that the new update has done little (if anything) to clean up the site.

That can't be a good thing for Chatroulette. In order for the site to survive, it needs to be able to attract advertisers. Chatroulette continues to say that it wants to limit sexual content to do so. But it has so far failed.

Until it finds a solution to the problem (or just embraces its other side), it will have little luck achieving its stated goals.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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