PopJam turns Chatroulette idea into random IM with strangers

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Chatroulette emerged in the last couple of days – a sort of Hot Or Not for random Webcam chats with random strangers. Visit the site and you’re suddenly connected in a video chat with someone randomly selected. You can of course hit the “next” button and move on to find somebody more interesting – or better looking. As one might imagine, it’s led to a lot of exhibitionists and voyeurs tuning in and a whole heap of unsavoury characters, as blogger Jason Kottke has noted.

That danger of course makes it pretty addictive to some, but now there’s a somewhat safer version just launched, which is in fact a re-animation of a site that went pop only recently, namely PopJam.

But instead of webcams, PopJam uses Facebook Connect to random send you into a Facebook IM chat with a total stranger.

Now, although there is still no guarantee you might meet a weirdo, at least you can track them down and point a finger at them on Facebook, should the need arise.

It’s hard to see how this turns into a business, startup, or whatever, but it’s actually kind’ve fun, and way less stressful than appearing on a Webcam. But then again, all the usual warnings about weirdos still apply.

Built over the last few weeks by Pojam’s Alex Tew and coded by Joachim Krebs (former CTO YouNoodle), Tew has “some cool ideas about where it could go.”

  • Matthew Zito

    Note that Omegle has been doing this for forever.

    • http://www.tjetter.com Jelmer

      It’s a little different (and arguably more hilarious): http://www.tjetter.com – the site allows you to participate in, or eavesdrop on random conversations between strangers.

    • dave

      kind’ve fun = kind have fun = nonsense

  • WTF

    What the hell Mike!!! You could at least put a NSFW warning label! I saw a bloody erect penis as soon as I clicked the link…

    Why would anyone wanna use that piece of garbage =(

    • http://www.payingptcsites.info Best PTC sites

      Hahaha where did mike get that — k jokes apart
      but Papjams idea was nice , it turned into a good IM chat with strangers .

  • Jand

    Why is this even given coverage on TechCrunch? Is it news?

  • http://arunshroff.com arunshroff

    Anyone remember CuSeeme from the early days of the web using B/W webcams and dialup modems ? What is surprising is took so long for that idea to be reborn in the world of broadband and laptops and phones with webcams…

    • http://adamhallett.com Adam Hallett

      This is nothing like CuSeeMe.

      • http://www.meegodevelopment.com Meego development

        Cuseeme is another funda when stranger chat is concerned .
        it not bad but also not good

  • http://www.twitter.com/chiefchimpanzee Darshan

    Oh dear. My mum will be so proud.

  • http://www.twitter.com/chiefchimpanzee Darshan

    I actually do think this has a lot of potential and clearly they know it. As I was beginning to say in the chat above, the amount of game ideas that could work off this is immense. That’s just one example of a use for it. I’m sure from the brief chat I got to have with Alex – on the app, earlier today – they have some great ideas in store. Whatever, the idea they run with – the main focus I guess is fun. That can’t be a bad thing.

    • Will

      There’s nothing new about chat. It’s been around for years in various forms – IRC, instant messaging, threaded email, forums, etc. Popjam’s live chat hasn’t invented anything new, so why do you suddenly expect all these new possibilities to emerge? Plus, why bother building yet another chat interface? Why not use something more stable with wider distribution like IRC?

    • http://www.meegodevelopment.org Meego development

      May be it doesnt have but the idea is good and would work well maybe in some other app .

  • Reader

    Uh… Chatroulette has been for at least a month or two. Not “in the last couple of days”.

  • lol

    ‘Chatroulette is a site that has appeared the last couple of days’


    How come I was messing about on chat roulette back in November.

  • http://www.saint.cl Saint

    They should check their random seed. I chatted with the same guy 4 times in a row!

    • http://www.payingptcsites.info paying ptc sites

      Chatjack is similar but most of the features are a copy in both of them

  • Dave Hanna

    I read about in NY times couple days back- as earlier post states, went to site “chatroulette” only to find “erect penis” on half my clicks, F’that.

    However, fun concept to have discussion with random person for maybe specific category- travel, vocation, hobby etc. and have to believe there will be considerably less “erect penis” incidence on the channel- quilting or garden tool sharpening;)

  • http://www.teethremoval.com wisdom teeth removal

    I’m not sure how this article got through. Who is to say that Chatroulette inspired PopJam…. the article contradicts itself in this regard since Chatroulette has been around for months.

  • http://iptiam.com iptiam (iPad, Therefore I Am!)

    Isnt popjam from Alex Tew, the creator of the Million Dollar Homepage?

  • Chris Broadfoot

    “Chatroulette appeared in the last couple of days”

    Err, it’s been around for ages. If anything, Chatroulette built on Omegle’s concept – and PopJam obviously has not innovated anything here.

  • jeff
  • Bobberto

    I went on the site with the webcams and I was connected for like 2 seconds with either the actual jonas brothers or someone who was playing a video of them

  • Don

    According to this other techcrunch post http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/15/oh-the-humanity-my-chatroulette-experience/ the founder is a young russian Andrew Ternovskiy http://www.crunchbase.com/person/andrew-ternovskiy

    Mike says its Alex Tew Techcrunch US says it Andrew so who are we to believe?

    • Will

      Andrew from Russia = Chatroulette

      Alex Tew = Popjam.

      It’s not a conspiracy… you just need to read a bit slower :)

  • asdfg

    Well this is a pretty blatant rip off of Omegle.

  • http://www.funadvice.com/chat Jeremy Goodrich

    Thing is, iddin.com, gettingrandom.com are both omegle clones.

    This, by virtue of facebook connect, is very limited…it’s the ability for *anybody* to jump in that makes it fun and interesting.

    We’re the only Q&A site with this feature bolted on…and, clearly, not the only ones that see this as a novel concept (or at least, novel feature).

    There isn’t a stand alone business opportunity here, though.

  • Trevor

    This is a good idea.

  • http://chrisrae.co.nz Chris Rae

    I must say, of the few times I’ve checked out things like this I have only once talked to someone who wasn’t clearly a pervert.

    That one individual was French, and was quickly irritated after I started talking about Thierry Henry.

    This sort of ‘technology’ has been around for donkeys years though surely?

    • Will

      Exactly. “Random IM with strangers” = IRC. End of story.

  • Andrew

    No business model, huge bandwidth costs.

    Another Internet FAIL.


  • delboy

    Is Alex Tew still associated with PopJam?
    I hope not……..for his sake

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