Airtime is the brainchild of a couple pretty famous entrepreneurs, Sean Parker and Shawn Fawning, the creators of Napster (the first major online music sharing service that set off the digital music industry, etc). Of course, Sean Parker was also instrumental in the growth and success of Facebook, so he’s just a little bit loaded (billionaire). But, if Airtime proves anything, it’s that fame and fortune can’t make an idea work, because it has been basically a complete failure. Before he founded Airtime, Parker apparently approached Chatroulette to see if they could work together, but the founder of Chatroulette refused the request, I guess he didn’t like the direction in which Parker wanted to take his site, and it seems that it’s a good thing he denied the request based on how poorly Airtime has done. Anyway, the idea behind Airtime was to add certain new capabilities to the random roulette video chat concept that would make it a better experience for everyone.
First, they wanted to make the site a Facebook app such that they could hold users accountable for what they broadcast by having their legitimate identity tied to them. This obviously would be an effective means of thwarting the nasty imagery many testosterone-filled men share with us all. However, the Facebook app portion would also serve as a conduit for providing further important features. The issue with Chatroulette, if you want to call it an “issue”, is that you are connected with people 100% randomly, and it can take quite a long time to find someone you can talk to that will have similar interests or want to discuss the same topic you’re looking to talk about with someone. Thus, with Facebook comes a person’s “likes”, which is very valuable data in terms of determining commonalities between two users who could potentially be matched. When you add the “likes” to the mix in terms of determining who should be matched with who, you are much more likely to create a match that lasts more than a fleeting second. Regardless of the benefits, however, things just didn’t work out. The exact reason for the failure is tough to pinpoint, but if I had to venture a guess I would say the loss of anonymity is really what led to Airtime’s demise. People love being able to be anonymous on the internet. Visit Airtime at www.airtime.com.