Since peaking in usership in the spring and early summer, Chatroulette has been hemorrhaging traffic, with visits plummeting close to 60% in the US, according to Quantcast.
After a brief down period in late August, the site relaunched with improved saftey features, and traffic appears to have bottomed out.
Ternovskiy now shares a one-bedroom apartment with two engineers that doubles as Chatroulette’s headquarters.
It’s early in Palo Alto, California, and Ternovskiy’s voice is soft and raspy. “Just a second–I can’t talk very loudly because there are people sleeping in my room,” he whispers in his Russian accent.
You never know who you might end up talking to, hence the name, "Chatroulette." Log on and in seconds you could be talking with someone from next door, Japan, or even the Jonas Brothers (the band's been known to talk to fans on Chatroulette from time to time).
"At first, I thought, 'That's kind of cool,'" Kathleen said, speaking from her background in marketing and entertainment (she runs the consulting firm Pob Lab Marketing). Brands could really use this to build buzz" But there's a darker side to this buzzworthy site.
However, that's not quite what they mean: they want to take those adults who are currently functionally illiterate and get them up to reading speed: being able to read a medicine label, read a kiddie a bedtime story, that sort of thing.
No one is aiming for getting the entire population through Anna Karenina - as PJ O'Rourke put it, the great question of which is, OK Leo, so why did she bonk that guy? Essentially, contestants are invited to create a mobile app that increases literacy among either (or both) native and non-native English speakers.