Video chat service Chatroulette goes offline, updated version to launch tomorrow

Chatroulette, the video chat service that lets users randomly meet up with each other, has been taken offline. A new version is expected to be launched tomorrow.

On the site, a message says, “The experiment #1 is over for now. Thanks for participating – Redesigned and updated version of the website will be launched tomorrow.”

The site turned into a phenomenon because you never knew what you were going to find when you took your chances by randomly meeting strangers on the site via webcam. Some images were quite amusing. But a lot of women were also turned off by the large number of men who masturbated while using the service.

The site was founded by Andrey Ternovskiy, who was a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow when he started the service. Ternovskiy said that he created the service in “two days and two nights.” He chose the name after watching The Deer Hunter, the 1978 Vietnam War film in which prisoners of war have to play Russian roulette. The service launched in November, 2009, and quickly got to 500 users a day. After a month, there were 50,000 users a day. Around March, it had grown to 1.5 million users. After that, traffic began to subside, according to Compete.com.

Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and the first president of Facebook, has been working with Ternovskiy in some fashion. Parker had said that the service might work better if it automatically forwarded users to people who had not been voted thumbs down by previous users.

[photo credit: best of chatroulette]

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