Rather than answering questions in text, the browser-based feature lets anybody with a webcam record and upload an answer in video to questions sent to their Ask.fm profile, which can be from other Ask.fm members or submitted anonymously. It’s pretty straightforward, with the ‘Record video answer’ sitting right next to the regular answer button, while the video recording functionality itself is powered by Flash.
Ask.fm says the new video feature was inspired by the recent Chatroulette craze (sans private parts, presumably) as well as the popularity of YouTube. And it’s easy to see how video adds another dimension to a service that is after all designed to appeal to our narcissistic instincts. It also adds a lot more colour and personality to answers provided, which by their very nature are often quite personal.
Launched in June 2010 and founded by Ilja Terebin (CEO), Mark Terebin and Oskars Liepins, Ask.fm claims 370,000 registered users and 1.5 million unique visitors per month. The service, which is available in 24 languages, is run out of Riga, Latvia and is bootstrapped/self-funded to date.
Meanwhile, Ask.fm’s most direct competitor, San Francisco-based Formspring, is funded to the tune of $14m and in January this year claimed around 22 million uniques per month, dwarfing its European rival.
(You can ask me a question here).