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Old Media’s “Next” Innovation and the Unauthorized New York TimesRoulette

ChatRoulette

If you’re a gambling man, I would put a fiver on a lot of Web-based April Fool jokes tomorrow being ChatRoulette-related. Andrey Ternovskiy‘s idea has, over the past three months, made a lot of pervs very happy indeed–not to mention the general public.

And, where pervs, comedians, and the general public go, so newspaper execs follow. First of all it was The Guardian, where, following a chat by Internet guru Clay Shirky, a Guardian Online software developer called Daniel Vydra (alongside some other guy who works at the Guardian whose name I won’t mention because his sodding blog has caused my browser to crash four times now) knocked up The Random Guardian.

New York TimesRoulette

The concept is basic: a home page with a button on the top that brings up a random Web page anywhere from guardian.co.uk. And Vydra has just done it again, with a version for The New York Times, although it doesn’t appear on the Gray Lady’s front page, for fear of offending someone’s sensibilities, no doubt. Next to follow was ABC news in Australia–and, like I said, tomorrow is April 1.

Interest in Ternovskiy’s innovative site is, perhaps, peaking, and The Guardian‘s interest means that ChatRoulette may be about to do a Fonzie and jump the shark. Charles Arthur, correspondent of that very same newspaper, wrote a rather entertaining post about the seven stages of an Internet idea, on how, once the imitators have stepped up to the bar, it’s a rapid schuss downhill, passing the signposts marked Charity, Scam, and Founder’s New Project. Onward, to Death.

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