February 23, 2007 4:00 AM PST

A social site where Webcams rule

Remember JenniCam? If not, here's a refresher: it was a seven-year experiment in Internet voyeurism, featuring a girl and her always-on Webcam.

Now, imagine hundreds of similar live video feeds of strangers--Jenni's and Johnny's alike--broadcasting from their rooms to a single social network, and that's Stickam.com.

The spirit of JenniCam--which went offline in 2003--is apparently thriving in Los Angeles-based Stickam, a year-old social networking service that urges members to connect with others via live Webcams and instant chat. Because rivals like MySpace won't allow Webcams for security concerns, Stickam appeals to exhibitionists and others who want a freer environment to post personal profiles and chat live, with a camera in their face.

stickam

But Stickam is trying to transcend the novelty--and potential pitfalls--of strangers' bedrooms and build an empire bigger than MySpace or YouTube. One of its plans is to add live video feeds of celebrities, musicians and even magicians. In one example, Stickam plans to pipe in live video from a camera at Prince's Oscar afterparty on Sunday, said Scott Flacks, a vice president at Stickam. (The final details are still being worked out, he added.)

In addition, Stickam is building a production studio in Los Angeles to create original video for the site, and it's in talks with Hollywood studios about content partnerships.

One planned show will feature exclusive video from Hollywood's Magic Castle, a members-only club where magicians perform for invited audiences. The company has already featured behind-the-scenes videos of American Idol's Bo Bice and video feeds from the Sundance film festival. It also had a live video chat with musicians Stu Stone and Jamie Kennedy (in partnership with Warner Bros. Entertainment Group), during which 10,000 Stickam members showed up.

"Our goal is to start to create compelling experiences that keep users immersed--like fun, live events," said Flacks, who previously worked at Fox Interactive Media, the parent company of MySpace. "It takes social networking to the next obvious level: not just photos and video, but being able to chat live and reach out in a more personal way."

"It takes social networking to the next obvious level: not just photos and video, but being able to chat live and reach out in a more personal way."
--Stickam Vice President Scott Flacks

The start-up's quest for the limelight is not unlike the struggles of many new Web media companies trying to succeed in the shadow of MySpace and YouTube. Stickam, like others, is trying to appeal to the changing habits of a generation growing up with broadband video, instant chat and virtual environments. And yet it's trying to carve out a niche not yet claimed by the Internet giants, and capitalizing on that early.

For Stickam, the strategy is to act even more nimble than predecessors MySpace and YouTube, which have both been absorbed by larger entities Fox (owned by News Corp.) and Google, respectively.

"Fox's still trying to discover how to provide features to users of MySpace and keep it on the straight and narrow from a corporate governance standpoint," Flacks said."We're a little bit more svelte, a little bit more relaxed. It's not a free-for-all, be we want to provide an experience."

Still, what happens on live video cameras can make parent safety groups and even Stickam members squeamish. The site requires that members be at least 14 years old, and bars obscene or indecent behavior. But because enforcing those restrictions can be difficult, if not impossible, with live video, questionable behavior appears common, according to a quick survey of the site.

One user called "nataliemuffin" says upfront in her profile that she will ban anyone who exposes themselves to her or asks her to expose herself. "I don't usually kick, I ban," she said. "Another one of my peevs is people who come into my room and are over 30. If you're over 30 and you're reading this, please leave my page."

Member "bina," a teen girl, also says upfront not to ask her to get naked or for "cybersex."

CONTINUED: Better-quality video feeds…
Page 1 | 2

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22 comments

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No Password Protection!!
I just tried signing up and I can see what I type in the password field in the sign-up page....

That is pathetic!!
Posted by hyena55 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are wrong
There is password protection, but they don't use "password" as the input type on sign up so that you don't incorrectly type your password when creating your account.

Here is the HTML:
input type="text" name="password"

This is handled by your browser. This only presents a danger in the event someone is standing over your shoulder looking at your PC as you create the password for the first time.

After you create your account and go to sign in, they use input type="password" in the form so that your browser knows to hide the values as you type.

Here is the HTML for that:
input type="password" name="password"

BTW, does hyena55 mean you are 55 years old?
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
No Password Protection!!
I just tried signing up and I can see what I type in the password field in the sign-up page....

That is pathetic!!
Posted by hyena55 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are wrong
There is password protection, but they don't use "password" as the input type on sign up so that you don't incorrectly type your password when creating your account.

Here is the HTML:
input type="text" name="password"

This is handled by your browser. This only presents a danger in the event someone is standing over your shoulder looking at your PC as you create the password for the first time.

After you create your account and go to sign in, they use input type="password" in the form so that your browser knows to hide the values as you type.

Here is the HTML for that:
input type="password" name="password"

BTW, does hyena55 mean you are 55 years old?
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
Stickam Slogan:
"Rock out with your **** out!"

Or at least that's how it seems! I'm on Stickam fairly regularly and it's a ton of fun, but holy crap there are a lot of guys on there that just want to whip out their dongs for any and all to see!

Now, before everyone gets all worked up about the "lack of security" and all that, I think that Stickam's very model actually gives it a HUGE leg up over Myspace and similar sites on that front. When a 30 y/o guy gets on his webcam and starts chatting with a 14 y/o girl, the girl KNOWS that he's 30! What's more, by being able to SEE the people's she's talking to, this 14 y/o girl is MUCH more able to pick out who the pervs are!

In any case, I'd highly recommend Stickam to anyone looking for a FUN social networking site. I have a Myspace account to but find that it's mostly just a bunch of emo kids having a competition to get the most "friends". Stickam is actually about talking to people and having a good time! Yes, there are LOTS of pervs on there (and not just men, I've come across some very pervy women too.. they're just a bit sneakier about it!), but they're very easy to deal with. Just set 'em on "ignore", kick or ban them or if they're whipping their wangs out for no good reason, click the little flag to report them to the Stickam police. Or you can just do what most of the rest of us do and either ridicule them for their perviness when it's not appropriate or join them when it is!
Posted by Hoser McMoose (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oops.. censored!
Haha, my Stickam slogan got censored! Oops!

In case anyone can't figure out what it is, it starts with a 'c' and rhymes with 'rock' :)
Posted by Hoser McMoose (182 comments )
Link Flag
Stickam Slogan:
"Rock out with your **** out!"

Or at least that's how it seems! I'm on Stickam fairly regularly and it's a ton of fun, but holy crap there are a lot of guys on there that just want to whip out their dongs for any and all to see!

Now, before everyone gets all worked up about the "lack of security" and all that, I think that Stickam's very model actually gives it a HUGE leg up over Myspace and similar sites on that front. When a 30 y/o guy gets on his webcam and starts chatting with a 14 y/o girl, the girl KNOWS that he's 30! What's more, by being able to SEE the people's she's talking to, this 14 y/o girl is MUCH more able to pick out who the pervs are!

In any case, I'd highly recommend Stickam to anyone looking for a FUN social networking site. I have a Myspace account to but find that it's mostly just a bunch of emo kids having a competition to get the most "friends". Stickam is actually about talking to people and having a good time! Yes, there are LOTS of pervs on there (and not just men, I've come across some very pervy women too.. they're just a bit sneakier about it!), but they're very easy to deal with. Just set 'em on "ignore", kick or ban them or if they're whipping their wangs out for no good reason, click the little flag to report them to the Stickam police. Or you can just do what most of the rest of us do and either ridicule them for their perviness when it's not appropriate or join them when it is!
Posted by Hoser McMoose (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oops.. censored!
Haha, my Stickam slogan got censored! Oops!

In case anyone can't figure out what it is, it starts with a 'c' and rhymes with 'rock' :)
Posted by Hoser McMoose (182 comments )
Link Flag
this could be the greatest thing for live theatre
i do some work with community theater groups. How
do we get our repertoiry revues of the classics
featured?
Posted by minitrue (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Contact me for this request...
marketing@stickam.com

Attn: Scott
Posted by sflacks (4 comments )
Link Flag
this could be the greatest thing for live theatre
i do some work with community theater groups. How
do we get our repertoiry revues of the classics
featured?
Posted by minitrue (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Contact me for this request...
marketing@stickam.com

Attn: Scott
Posted by sflacks (4 comments )
Link Flag
Password Protection
That is on purpose of the sign-up page so that the user does
not need to re-enter twice. The password is
masked when you try to login though.
Posted by sflacks (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Password Protection
That is on purpose of the sign-up page so that the user does
not need to re-enter twice. The password is
masked when you try to login though.
Posted by sflacks (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is called Video chat - been done many times!
Why is this news?
This is Video chat.
Web sites that offered Video chat have been around for ions. Well since 1997 and onward.
Man VCs and their Big Media partners must be
becoming desperate Hyping one not new idea after another not new idea! 1st it was MySpace which is pretty much same as Geocities & Tripod were/are, then there is 2nd life which is/was pretty much like many other 3D chat worlds of 1990s and now this!
What next? A site that offers email to masses for free!

VCs want to offer the people something new useful?
Offer cars that get 100 Miles per hour, Flights were coach costs same as 1st class does, Home & Health insurance
that is easily available and affordable, Search engine Advertising that is not expensive and a total waste of money as Advertising on Google or Yahoo are, etc.
Not these childish Web sites which have been done many times since late 90s with the only thing they offer new is that they are free
and have Web 2.0 Font & look & feel
Posted by Sea of Cortez (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
been done
It's not about what have been done, the example on Geocities and Myspace say it all!! it's about the user experience and what people find compelling. VC should not look only into innovation , because the users does not!
Posted by cogitoergo (2 comments )
Link Flag
This is called Video chat - been done many times!
Why is this news?
This is Video chat.
Web sites that offered Video chat have been around for ions. Well since 1997 and onward.
Man VCs and their Big Media partners must be
becoming desperate Hyping one not new idea after another not new idea! 1st it was MySpace which is pretty much same as Geocities & Tripod were/are, then there is 2nd life which is/was pretty much like many other 3D chat worlds of 1990s and now this!
What next? A site that offers email to masses for free!

VCs want to offer the people something new useful?
Offer cars that get 100 Miles per hour, Flights were coach costs same as 1st class does, Home & Health insurance
that is easily available and affordable, Search engine Advertising that is not expensive and a total waste of money as Advertising on Google or Yahoo are, etc.
Not these childish Web sites which have been done many times since late 90s with the only thing they offer new is that they are free
and have Web 2.0 Font & look & feel
Posted by Sea of Cortez (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
been done
It's not about what have been done, the example on Geocities and Myspace say it all!! it's about the user experience and what people find compelling. VC should not look only into innovation , because the users does not!
Posted by cogitoergo (2 comments )
Link Flag
I'M NATALIEMUFFIN(TM)!
Bahaha.
What the hell?!
A friend of mine sent me the link to this **** saying I was on news.com.
Didn't believe him until I actually read it.
Made me literally LOL.
Anyway...Shouldn't you have asked my permission to quote me?
I mean...It's alright...But still. Would have been nice for some kind of notification.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stickam.com/profile/nataliemuffin" target="_newWindow">http://www.stickam.com/profile/nataliemuffin</a>
Stop by sometime.
As long as you're not 30 or over.
Bahahaha.
Posted by nataliemuffin (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yeah, they should have
they should have contacted you before quoting you, If only as a courtesy. im not sure of the legal implications involved but as a courtesy in the least.

but reading this article has peaked my interest enough to go check out whats going on with this site. maybe I'll even stop by yours natalie.
Posted by tremorfireheart (40 comments )
Link Flag
I'M NATALIEMUFFIN(TM)!
Bahaha.
What the hell?!
A friend of mine sent me the link to this **** saying I was on news.com.
Didn't believe him until I actually read it.
Made me literally LOL.
Anyway...Shouldn't you have asked my permission to quote me?
I mean...It's alright...But still. Would have been nice for some kind of notification.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stickam.com/profile/nataliemuffin" target="_newWindow">http://www.stickam.com/profile/nataliemuffin</a>
Stop by sometime.
As long as you're not 30 or over.
Bahahaha.
Posted by nataliemuffin (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yeah, they should have
they should have contacted you before quoting you, If only as a courtesy. im not sure of the legal implications involved but as a courtesy in the least.

but reading this article has peaked my interest enough to go check out whats going on with this site. maybe I'll even stop by yours natalie.
Posted by tremorfireheart (40 comments )
Link Flag
 

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