Chatroulette may have lost some of its initial buzz in recent months, but that doesn’t worry founder Andrey Ternovskiy as much as the accompanying loss of traffic. But, despite 60% drops in visits, Ternovskiy has a new idea on how to make the site pay off – and it’s all thanks to men taking off their clothes.
Ternovskiy famously turned down many investment opportunities when Chatroulette became a phenomenon last year – and it’s something he’s since learned to regret, as the site became familiar to users:
[The success came because the site] was like a movie: Everybody watched it, and then everybody else. Well, now that they’ve all watched it, they’re less interested. After I declined the offers, I realized it was very difficult to execute something myself. I think I would accept the offers now, because I’m much more educated about it. But I’m not sure things would be better if I took the offers back then–I think traffic would’ve gone down anyway after the investment.
And so, with no more offers coming in, Ternovskiy has come up with a way to make a running joke about Chatroulette into a way of generating income:
Everyday, about 50,000 new men are trying to get naked. What we’re doing is selling the naked men to a couple of websites–it’s an investment for us…. Basically, once we detect a person is naked, he’ll be kicked from our service to another website. So, we’re actually getting revenue from naked men right now.
The “couple of websites” are adult dating services, which pay for referral traffic. If Ternovskiy is to be believed, the referrals net the site $100,000 per month – triple what he calls the site’s “normal” revenue. Now all he has to do is hope that exhibitionists are a naturally renewable resource.
He’s probably pretty safe there.
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