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Old Jul 10, 2003, 05:25 PM   #1
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What's with all the new iChat AV sites?

There's a new iChat AV site like every hour now, is there money to be made there? Does anyone have a webcam they'd chat with? I don't even KNOW anyone with a cam! And I'm not shelling out $150 for iSight.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 05:35 PM   #2
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Getting iChat AV into mainstream use is a chicken-and-egg problem. Somebody (Apple) has to go first and provide the means for audio/video chat as conveniently as possible. Free beta software, support for existing cameras, and a not-too-expensive specialized camera are a good start.

Then early adopters have to try it, like it, and get their friends to try it. As with instant messaging, the first user had nobody to talk to until the second user arrived! But by the snowball effect, the more people who use it, the more useful it will be.

If and when there is enough market for it ("critical mass"), third parties can make money with whatever add-ons or support services they can think of: iChat AV registry sites, newsletters/magazines/shopping guides, tie-ins to dating services, iChat AV action figures, and who knows what else?
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Old Jul 13, 2003, 09:12 AM   #3
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The logic is simple. Each new product creates a need for services. Alert entrepreneurs will provide the service. Nothing is free.
Skeptical observers tend to expect these sites to be glorified internet personal ads or dating services ending in awkward meetings with creeps. Some even predict future peer to peer porn sites and, let's face it, that element will always find it's niche with the anonymous internet masses.
Like most readers on this forum, I have better things to do than chat with losers but I couldn't resist peeking under the tent. First of all, many use audio but few use the video function because they either don't have a camera (my Sony camcorder works fine) or broadband. What I found was more positive than I expected. Sites that have detailed member data such as age, occupation, specific interests, etc. allow other members to selectively seek out users that might be helpful in a job hunt, problems with lupus, a legal issue, or want to build a web site. There's usually someone out there who is willing to connect. The biggie is teleconferencing with friends and relatives! There are a lot of folks practicing and what that means for Apple is big sales numbers at the holidays when people invest in, or give gifts of, Macs instead of paying AT&T or Sprint every week. You're brilliant, Jobs.
Of course there was the iSight equipped couple in Kansas City with a laptop and Airport calling from their hot tub. Hmmm.
There are several sites up now. If "recreational pharmaceuticals" is offered as one of only ten possible interests when you sign up, you're probably in the wrong place! Be careful of sites that will display your last name and city; if your name is not Smith or Jones, you can be personally located. And lastly, any site that displays your email address is an open door to the world of spam. As usual, be careful!
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