Men exposing their unsolicited penises online at unsuspecting - or maybe just "curious" - people in the privacy of their own homes is a tradition as old as the Internet itself, but ChatRoulette, the arguably non-pornographic video chatting site receiving up to a million daily visitors, is struggling with this phenomenon. Andrey Ternovskiy, the site's seventeen-year-old founder, has been swarmed by angel investors, venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley scenesters since his website took off last year, but, according to TechCrunch, all the penises on Ternovskiy's site are hurting his prestige:
"The site is quickly losing it’s appeal as more and more people are turned off by the sheer number of people exposing themselves or worse on the site. The brand is becoming permanently associated (with help from Daily Show and South Park features) with the more disgusting parts of humanity."
Ternovskiy has tapped Shawn Fanning, Napster founder, for help: "Fanning stresses that the advisory role is informal, uncompensated and that he works with a number of other entrepreneurs as well." But can Ternovskiy ever eradicate the penis problem? Maybe:
"Look for feature changes soon that will try to send all those penises to the background. The service may add software that can quickly scan video to determine if a penis is being shown."
TechCrunch points out that, currently, the website "satisfies the basic human need of some people to show the world their penis." While TechCrunch and Ternovskiy seem to feel that the "parade of penises is driving everyone else away" and threatens to turn the website into "a punchline," you've got to wonder: If ChatRoulette does find a way to successfully squash this particular phenomenon and turn away all those penis-exposers, what would happen to its traffic?
Related: The Human Shuffle [NYM]