Is Chatroulette a New Marketing Channel?
After the whole world seemed to hype Chatroulette, the natural question rises for web 2.0 marketing experts, how this new form of communication could offer new marketing channel opportunities. The rules of Chatroulette only state that you have to be over 16 and vested, so actually marketing is not forbidden.
To get a good feeling for ourselves, we did a simple experiment with astonishing results:
1. The Experiment
To see if chatroulette may work as a marketing tool, we set up a camera pointing at a piece of paper, showing a photo of one of our models and pointing to gettingflirty.com - the support page of our new iPhone App "Getting Flirty", which seemed to be an adequate product for chatroulette. The parameters were clear. We counted how many seconds people looked at the app, rated their facial expression and at the same time monitored any movement on the homepage. The whole experiment was conducted over three hours.
2. The Result
We saw two groups of people. The first half seemed to be male and naked escorted by very xxx-rated commercials setting a truely unworthy tone for any other product not ranging in that business segment. The other half of the people ranged from 12 to 70, also mostly male. The medium duration of the people looking at our ad ranged from 3 to 7 seconds. The facial expression was mostly uninterested. At the same time we saw no correspondend activity at our homepage. No questions were asked about the product (although one of our experimenters greeted each user with a neutral sentence showing that there was actually a person sitting next to the ad (e.g. "nice yellow shirt" or "nice blue cap")
3. The Conclusion
Besides the fact that all of us will need quite a time getting some of the pictures out of our heads, this case study showed that chatroulette does not offer any true potential for serious marketing activity at this point of time. For any brand manager it would be careless at this point of time, using chatroulette for marketing purposes due to the type of activity seeming to dominate this application.
I think the basic idea of chatroulette is fantastic and in my opinion we will see very many copy-cats and spin-offs. Support groups,speed dating, business networking events are just a few ideas. If anyone will formulate practical ground rules supporting the basic idea (while preventing overwhelming nakedness), I think we are looking here at new dimension of communication, allowing a communication on almost all eleven channels of a real face to face conversation.