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Marketing with Chatroulette

Alex Christie

8 April 2010

One of the hottest new online destinations is Chatroulette, a website which randomly connects users with other visitors for a random video chatting experience. Chatroulette is largely uncensored and while there’s an age requirement of 16, there’s no real enforcement of the rule. The website’s anonymity features have made it extremely popular and fun. It’s no Twitter, but traffic has been on a stable rise. In February, stats hit an all time high of 4 million visitors.

There’s no question about it- Chatroulette should be acknowledged as an up-and-coming platform which marketers can use to engage users. Unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter approach to take. The site’s simplicity and lack of tools/add-ons means that businesses will need to use its main function to promote their brand.

Currently, most companies are being very cautious about using Chatroulette for marketing. A significant number of the site’s users are gentleman who enjoy showing off their nether regions to strangers; understandably, few businesses want to be associated with that sort of thing. However, a couple of adventurous companies have tried to incorporate the platform into their marketing strategies:

  • The French Connection sponsored blog, Manifesto, launched a saucy contest challenging users to woo themselves a romantic partner through Chatroulette.
  • sidetaker, a new website which lets users share thoughts on the two opposing sides of an argument, is hiring representatives to surf Chatroulette and encourage the people they connect with to visit their site.

It’s unclear if either of the above strategies will prove fruitful. It’s extremely hard to gauge and understand the audience that can be reached through Chatroulette; users come from all different age groups and countries, visiting the site for very different reasons. Everyone’s eager to tap into Chatroulette’s traffic but doing so will prove to be tricky.

Tamar is putting a together an internal experiment which will test Chatroulette’s conversion rates. If times permits, I’ll get to play a key role in the test and will provide an update on how it goes. If you have any suggestions on how to use Chatroulette for marketing purposes, please leave a comment!

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