SAN FRANCISCO - The world's largest speed-dating website on Tuesday launched an online television channel showing the lengths to which people will go for love.
WooMe.com has compiled videos of rapid-fire online encounters between its more than a million mate-seeking members in an Internet Age version of reality television called WooMe TV.
"There is some very entertaining stuff that rises to the top," WooMe chief executive Stephen Stokols told AFP.
"You get some people playing pranks on each other, smoking weed.... It truly is kind of a raw reality TV. This is taking it and locking it in 60-second sound bites on the Internet."
WooMe and rival websites are applying the latest Internet technology to speed dating, a phenomenon that started a decade ago with men and women darting from table to table to chat in rapid-fire succession at a time keeper's signal.
Automated timers at WooMe cut off online video chats after as little as 60 seconds or as long as three minutes. Those that felt romance kindling during the brief exchanges can later reconnect to fan the flames.
WooMe members can save digital video of their encounters for review, and are prompted by pop-up boxes to indicate whether the website has permission to make copies public.
If both sides of exchanges give permission, video of the brief online dates become fodder for WooMe TV.
A peek at WooMe TV revealed that snippets voted "favourites" by users include a woman who painted lips around her belly button and "spoke" to a suitor ventriloquist-style by squeezing her tummy in a close-up camera shot.
Stokols said the company aims to minimize the number of potentially offensive scenes.
"Late at night there are the bored and horny that get naughty, then after midnight you get racier sessions. We are being conservative to make sure this doesn't go down too spicy of a path."
WooMe TV is a free program supported by brief ads that play while videos are loading and while daters' "scores" are tallied at the finish. Testing indicates the "watch-through" rate of videos and ads is nearly 100 percent.
"It is all 60-second clips, which is perfect for the Internet generation," Stokols said. "It's a captive audience. They are not going anywhere."
The California-based company says that thousands of hours of video content are generated by its members weekly for the online television show that Stokols refers to as "a voyeuristic play."
"Not all of it is good," Stokols said of the date videos.
"But the reality is the person within the content will always watch it and share it with friends. And, every now and then you get some entertaining people that 25,000 people think are funny." -- AFP