Is it really almost two years since Chatroulette showed up, grabbed our attention for a few seconds, and then disappeared? Amazingly, yes. And while both that link to a piece here at Answer Guy Central and this story about the legality of Chatroulette continue to bring us traffic (That’s Search Engine Optimization, friends), Chatroulette itself has all but faded into memory.

Now, we get younow.com. and in a way it’s more horrifying that Chatroulette ever was.

Think of YouNow as kind of a Gong Show for the Internet, but as with so much of the web, unmoderated. If you remember that television nugget from the 1970s, contestants came on stage, performed various shows of talent—or lack thereof—and if they survived their moment in the spotlight without being gonged off had a chance at one low-value prize or another.

At YouNow.Com, anyone can have their moment of attention. There’s very little documentation, so I imagine there’s little to nothing stopping “contestants” from getting naked and acting in the oh-so-attractive way people do at Chatroulette, but in the time I’ve spent watching younow, mostly what I’ve seen has been people crying out for attention—literally. At younow.com, at least so far, “talent” seems to be about pleading for more time.

While there’s potential for more to develop at younow, I suspect it won’t happen unless some of that aforementioned moderation takes place. Absent editing, or production, or some sort of audience-focused judgement, younow is no more than an ill-conceived attempt to wrest traffic from Youtube. And as I’ve told you before, video for the sake of doing video has some problems.

Naked, dressed, or otherwise, the current iteration of younow.com feels like a good idea for business change that’s doomed to fail. But at least younow isn’t Chatroulette.

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