‘Voyeuristic’ website connecting strangers sees spike in Australian visitors

A website created by a Russian teenager allowing random strangers to talk face to face via webcam has attracted worldwide attention, and has this month seen a spike in visits from Australian internet users.  

Chatroulette, which was created in November last year by 17 year old Andrey Ternovskiy, has been described by some observers as voyeuristic, frightening, and surreal.

According to Hitwise data, as of February 17 Chatroulette was ranked the 481th most visited website among Australian internet users. However, this was down from the peak of 356 the previous day. It is also the number two webcam website behind surfing site Coastal Watch.

Further, the Mosaic Group has identified three wealthier types of user groups to the site which over index against the Australian online population. They are: privileged prosperity – the most affluent families in the mist desirable locations; academic achiever – wealthy areas of educated professional households; and young ambition – educated and high-earning young singles and sharers in the inner suburbs.

Hitwise also found that in the week ending February 13, search engines and social networking and forums were the main drivers of visits to Chatroulette, delivering 76.3% of upstream traffic.

However, Alan Long Hitwise Asia Pacific research director, said the novelty may already be wearing off as average visit times to the site dropped from a peak of 14 minutes 25 seconds in the week ending January 2, to six minutes 38 seconds last week.

Long added that the peak it experienced in January was more than likely driven by the holiday period.

The site has attracted the attention of Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist with Union Square Ventures who has been in contact with Ternovskiy.

Wilson over the weekend wrote on his blog:

I think we’ll reach out to Andrey and offer him a visit to NYC. I’m still not sure if this is something we should invest it, but I’d sure like to meet this guy. He reminds me of many great young entrepreneurs we’ve worked with and his story sounds so familiar.”

The New York Times was also the first to interview Ternovskiy, via email, to talk about his site.


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