Imagine if you could play Chatroulette without the perverts. And with more women.
That’s the goal of a new student-focused video-chatting service being developed by a company in Massachusetts called CampusLIVE.
The new tool is one of several knockoffs of Chatroulette, an Internet phenomenon that allows users to communicate over their Webcams with random strangers around the world. Chatroulette is a brutally simple platform: one box with your image, one with a stranger’s, and a “next” button you can click if you don’t like the person staring back at you. The male-dominated site is also a magnet for sexual exhibitionists.
CampusLIVE, whose business is producing campus-specific Web portals for students, hopes to filter the Chatroulette experience by rejecting the site’s anonymity and requiring users to register with a “.edu” e-mail address. Instead of limiting chats to random strangers, the company also lets students chat with their Facebook friends. The video service is still in a testing stage right now, but eventually students will be able to filter conversations by campus, gender, and topic. Almost 10,000 people have tried it so far.
“The idea is for it to be a safer, fun way for students to interact with each other,” says Boris Revsin, a co-founder and chief executive of CampusLIVE Inc. “It’s only people in the 18-to-24 group. And if there are perverts, it’s immediately caught by our system because no one is actually anonymous.”
The company’s site baits would-be video-chatters with photos that include a fetching blonde. When Wired Campus tried to give it a spin today, though, we mostly got a message saying “all students are paired up right now” and try again later.
Anybody think this service will actually catch on with students?