Wheel Of Misfortune: Why ChatRoulette Is A Losing Bet

LOUD WARNING:The following post contains content and links that might be considered Not Safe For Work.  Reader discretion is advised!

Chatroulette is the newest social-networking craze sweeping the Intertubes.  The premise is simple: you fire up your webcam, hit up the site, click the “Play” button, and it randomly connects you to someone else who’s logged in.  What happens after than is entirely up to the two of you.

Now, you may get lucky and connect to a member of the opposite sex.  (An attractive member — even luckier!)  If you’re a GI JOE fan, you might find yourself in conversation with Cobra Commander himself.  HOWEVER: the key word here is not “chat,” it’s “roulette.”  Meaning game of chance.  Meaning the odds are against you from the get-go.

Don’t believe us?  Well, in the interests of…science?  Statistics?  Morbid curiousity?  Anyway, we decided to play the game and track our results.  Over four hundred “spins of the wheel” later, here’s what we found:

This image described by statistics, Chatroulette, webcam, masturbation, nudity
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You’re most likely to encounter either a dude’s face (28%) or a Jeff Spicoli wannabe (21%); an actual female face showed up only 10% of the time.  There’s an 8% chance you’ll stumble across a guy — how can we put this delicately? — playing with himself.  Now, we’re good liberals and all that, but even we said “Eww.”   Odds of running across jailbait, or hooters of the non-restaurant variety?  1%.  (Yep, boobs and wieners despite CR’s front-page TOS warning: “Chatroulette
does not tolerate broadcasting obscene, offending, pornographic
material and we will have to block users who violate these rules from
using our service.”
)  Hell, you have better odds in REAL roulette (one in thirty-seven, or 3%) of guessing which number on the wheel the ball’s gonna drop into.

Real sex.  Real women doing the nasty, showing their ta-tas, and/or doing the L-word nasty with one another.

As much as we’ve dreamed of upcoming iPhones/iPads/iTouches with front-facing cameras, we’re honestly afraid the legitimate uses of same (webconferences, live podcasts, etc.) would be overwhelmed by non-stop Chatroulette junk-in-hand dudes.  The data throughput load alone might be the final nail in AT&T’s overtaxed 3G network coffin.

We could go on, but Rob Sheridan (creative director for Nine Inch Nails, and an all-around cutting-edge-tech kind of guy) summed it up on his Twitter feed better than we ever could:

“Like most clever online communication ideas, it’s ruined by 1000s of desperate horny dudes…Internet dudes: This might surprise you, but your penis is NOT a commodity. Pointing a webcam at it impresses NO ONE.” 

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