Unless you are looking for cheap talks/conversation, Internet chat rooms are quite a no-no these days. But then, there are nice people out there and a few hooligans/trolls should not bring down the otherwise nice concept of chat rooms.
Chatimity is an app that helps users meet new people and make friends. Chatimity provides clean chat rooms, where even nice people can hang out. Long decent conversations are encouraged and nasty behavior penalized.
What’s the big deal about it? after all, there are so many chat sites? Well, the basic premise of Chatimity is that current social networks like Facebook help you manage relations with your existing friends but do not really help make new friends there. In real life, people make friends by conversing with new people. On the Internet, conversations (“chatting”) have been in disrepute due to prevalence of misuse scenarios. With the advent of mobile phone era, it is possible to address most of these pain points (using location and phone identity), so that you can create a place where people can interact in a safe and controlled manner.
Chatimity assigns a niceness score (called “Nice Points”) to each user. If a user behaves nasty, gets blocked or uses offensive words in public rooms, his score decreases. Due to such measures, users tend to be much nicer in the chat rooms. Under the hood, Chatimity’s Nice Points system measures niceness of users based on fuzzy signals from their social interactions and an automated moderation system. These systems together encourage good people to stay and drive away bad guys.
Launched in 2011, the Bangalore based company is founded by 2 ex-Googlers and the app (download link) boasts of a very high-engaging userbase (85% repeat visitors).
Here is a QnA with Chatimity cofounder, Tarkeshwar :
Pluggd.in: How do you ‘keep it clean’?
Core of “keeping it clean” is a Nice Points system, which awards points on good behavior and deducts on bad behavior. For example: getting added as friend and having long conversations are good signals; getting blocked, getting messages flagged, having short conversations, using profane phrases are bad signals.
Behind the scenes, we have language based filtering, underage detection, underage reporting by users, bad-people detection and banning/muting routines running, leading to a system that acts as a “bouncer in a club” and keeps a check on behavior of people. There is no manual intervention.
We also try to actively put off lower rated people as we only want to retain good people on the app.
Pluggd.in: what has been the traction so far?
We have 10k+ users logging in every day. 85% of visits are repeat. We have high engagement of users who stay on for couple of days. Average time spent is 150 minutes/month/visitor. Best compliment is users saying that they find nice people on here (even though it might be the system doing the magic behind the scenes :)
We have numerous personal success stories of users dating on the app, couple of marriages and almost all long staying users having a vibrant social network. The pseudonymous nature of the network allows higher level of personal talk and much more sharing of feelings than a real-name network of your existing friends like Facebook may enable.
On monetization front, we were pleasantly surprised by the performance of basic mobile advertising, probably due to higher user engagement. We are already profitable by a huge margin.
Pluggd.in: How have you got the initial user base?
Initial user base was pretty much those from Android Market. Not spent any marketing dollars ! Most of the audience is from USA, UK, India, Arab and Philippines.
Pluggd.in: Future plans?
We plan to grow the user base to a very high number as addressable audience is huge. Chatting with new people is a mainstream activity from a user perspective, even though the need has not been addressed properly so far.
In the short term, we will be launching an iOS app and improving the UI.
Aside, the company has received call from YCombinator (for the final interview) and we certainly wish that they make it to the YC programme.