It took him three days to construct a basic version.
A few months later, it was one of the most talked-about social-networking sites in the world. When you log on to Chatroulette.com, you see a sparse white window with two boxes.
There’s also something liberating in the protection that the “Next” button provides.
Striking up a conversation with the person next to you on the subway is risky, and potentially time-consuming.
He would talk and joke with the tourists, but he didn’t push them to buy anything.
If someone asked for a discount, he happily obliged.
But by combining video-chatting technology and randomization Ternovskiy has bucked a decade-long trend that has made the Internet feel progressively more organized, pleasant, and safe.
More than a million people, most of them from the United States, clog Chatroulette’s servers daily.
To “next” someone has become a common transitive verb.
This rankled his uncle, but Ternovskiy didn’t see the problem.
“I couldn’t just make people pay the money,” he says, laughing.
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Ternovskiy, an eighteen-year-old high-school dropout from Moscow, has a variety of explanations for why he created the Web site