Entrepreneur Marc KÃ¶hlbrugge has launched Dear cat, an online chat service where each character typed costs a penny. As spotted by Motherboard, KÃ¶hlbrugge announced the site in a tweet, calling it a “social experiment to see what happens to a chat room when it’s not a free game, but each post costs you cash.” And where is all this money going? Directly to KÃ¶hlbrugge.
The site displays a leaderboard, with those who spent the most at the top, then the chat room itself. There are a few friendly posts, but as of the short time that Expensive Chat has been up and running, it’s mostly littered with ads for businesses and services. There’s a box at the bottom of the page if you’d like to compose your own post to post, and Expensive Chat takes Stripe, debit, and credit cards as payment.
Happy to launch my latest product today!
Expensive Chat – Chatroom where you pay $ 0.01 per letter.
It’s a social experiment to see what happens to a chat room when it’s not a free game, but each post costs you cash.https://t.co/Ss6fMzBhoF
– Marc KÃ¶hlbrugge (@marckohlbrugge) February 28, 2019
There are a number of ways that users try to play on the site to gain visibility. Some have opted for the more is more route so that their name appears at the top of the rankings. Others are simpler and give tiny remarks about their services, followed by a URL. Someone discovered a workaround to get their message across that costs just a dime:
KÃ¶hlbrugge presents the site as a social experiment, and it could be viewed through this lens (a Twitter response notes curtly: “The rich and powerful can buy the floor as always”). Public chat rooms can quickly turn into overwhelming and chaotic spaces, so it’s interesting to see how people’s decisions change when every letter matches an invoice. Behavioral comments aside, KÃ¶hlbrugge recounts Motherboard the real reason he started was simpler. It seemed like a “fun way to make some extra money.”
KÃ¶hlbrugge believes it could now be further developed into a more concrete product where public figures can have paid chats and choose where to direct those funds. âFor example, chat with Kanye West, $ 10 per message. the money goes to his charity â, he said Motherboard. And for anyone who doubts people would pay per character to post on a random website, KÃ¶hlbrugge pocketed around $ 150 in the few days of Expensive Chat airing.