Monday, July 12, 2010

1.5 million ChatRoulette users taking personal branding to the extreme

E-commerce is becoming the norm for a variety of items: gifts, clothing, books, music, and even a new home.  However, now people are using e-commerce to brand themselves and shop for people. The trend is, of course, personal branding.  People have built web-based profiles on sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, and to reflect how they want their life to be viewed by their network.  We shop for new employees or employers, friends and associates, and lovers.  Be it professional or personal, one can take an identity to the extreme.

The latest is ChatRoulette.

ChatRoulette is a website that pairs random strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website randomly begin an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection.

According to CNN, “ChatRoulette has the trappings of every web site fad. The site had 3.9 million visitors in February according to Comscore, quadrupling its traffic in a month. It has become a pop culture phenomenon with singer Ben Folds incorporating it into a live concert and Daily Show host Jon Stewart dedicating a segment to it. It has created at least one web celebrity, pianist Ben Merton, who posts his improv videos using the site. It even has its own vocabulary word: players “next” each other when they’re ready to move on to a new conversation.”

In February 2010, there were about 35,000 people on ChatRoulette at any given time. Around the beginning of March, it had an estimated 1.5 million users, approximately 33% of them from the US and 5% from Germany.

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