Chatroulette is putting naughty users in a time out – permanently. Those who flash their private parts on the anonymous video-chat service will be automatically redirected to an adult website that may or may not be Hustler, and their computer will forever be blocked from Chatroulette.
On Wednesday, the New Yorker posted a story about Chatroulette founder Andrey Ternovskiy and the future of his voyeuristic Web site. The story originally said that Chatroulette "started redirecting pantless visitors to Hustler's Web site, and their computers would forever be blocked from Chatroulette. At first, [they] were banning a hundred thousand users a day, but now, he says, the flasher rate is down to one in two hundred-and Hustler pays for the referrals, giving [Chatroulette], at least for the time being, a healthy revenue stream."
The story later replaced Hustler with "an adult Web site" and a note at the end of the piece said "An earlier version of this post named Hustler as Ternovskiy's partner." It was not clear, however, if the story mistakenly named Hustler as that partner or removed the reference to the company for other reasons.
Hustler and the author of the New Yorker piece did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The bulk of the story, however, centered on the future of Chatroulette, the voyeuristic service that lets users video chat with complete strangers. It generated buzz earlier this year, but interest has reportedly waned in recent months, culminating in a Gawker story with a headline that read "R.I.P. Chatroulette."
"Gawker is like an annoying fly," Ternovskiy responded.
He told the New Yorker that traffic has dropped from 2 million to 500,000 visitors per day, but re-directing traffic to that adult Web site has helped improve the finances. "How can you be dead when your revenue has doubled?" he asked.
Chatroulette is trying to shake off its x-rated reputation. There have been rumors about some of the tactics used to combat the pornography problem, including talk of penis-detection algorithm. The site closed down for a week in August, after which the former Internet darling re-opened with a "renewed and updated" version. It remains to be seen if these new tactics will result in a renewed membership base.
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