vChatter Becomes Family-Friendly Alternative to Tawdry Chatroulette

As Chatroulette becomes a destination for pervs, vChatter has built a family-friendly alternative that’s popular among Asian families and migrant laborers.



If Chatroulette had been launched in Asia instead of the U.S., it might look a lot like vChatter. Founded by a group of Indian and American entrepreneurs who previously made a matrimonial match-making app for Facebook, the service has become popular among Filipino and Indonesian families and migrant laborers spread across the globe.

Although Andrey Ternovskiy has been promising some kind of penis-detection technology that would clean up his popular Chatroulette service, so far it’s still dominated by wankers. And that’s created an opportunity for family-friendly services like vChatter, which has attracted 1.5 million active monthly users. So far about 6 million video calls have been made using vChatter and average time on the site is 5 minutes.

The founders, Hitesh Parashar, Dan Owen, and Will Bunker, specifically developed vChatter as a G-rated version of Chatroulette. But there is a key difference:

vChatter operates within a social container. Using the user’s friend list, a Facebook member can either invite a friend to log on for a video or text-only live chat, or chat with a random fellow Facebook member on the site.

“One interesting thing I noticed when I saw the sudden adoption in the United Arab Emirates was that it was driven mainly by the overseas Filipino workers who got invited to vChatter by their wives and families in the Philippines,” says Parashar. “It is used by many families now to remain in touch as people travel everywhere. I observed a similar user cluster that formed in Los Angeles and around because of a huge Philippino population over there.”

Still, vChatter is being monitored for any inappropriate behavior in an effort to keep the public channels clean. “We are determined to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for our users,” says Parashar.

About the author

Jenara is an overseas reporter for Fast Company and a freelance writer/producer in Asia, regularly on CNNGo, and a graduate of Harvard and UC Berkeley.