Can Yobongo avoid the “masses are asses” chat room problem?

Let’s say I invite you to a chat with me, you, and Bill Gates. Or Steve Jobs. Or Barack Obama. Or your closest personal friend. You pick one. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Now, lets say we invite in 1,000 random people. Wouldn’t your utility go down? Of course it would.

That’s the “masses are asses” problem that hit chat rooms.

So, when Caleb Elston, founder of Yobongo, told me he had a way to solve that problem, I was intrigued.

How does he solve it with his new service Yobongo?

1. He keeps the chat room size small. Only about 10 people. Others will be pushed into another chat room.

2. Yobongo’s chat rooms will be location-based, so you’ll have one thing in common, you’ll be chatting with other people near to you.

3. Yobongo is keeping track of who you actually chat with, who you like, who you private message with, etc, and will continually improve the room.

In the interview with Caleb you can hear my skepticism. But that was before I tried Yobongo.

Now I’m addicted, but still skeptical about how they grow over time.

See, it put me into a room with people who all have something in common: we’re early adopter crazy people.

But will this work when normal everyday people join the service?

Will it still be interesting when we get drunk at SXSW? Techcrunch thinks it could be one of the hot services there.

Will it solve the “masses are asses” problem?

We will see. For now I’m in a cool chat with 10 people arguing about which winery in Napa is best and we’re discussing Zagat‘s new design (if you’re a foodie that’s a site you should watch). Gotta run!


8 thoughts on “Can Yobongo avoid the “masses are asses” chat room problem?

    1. Hey Robert, feel free to come by and check out any of our 14 live chat sites that we’ve launched at

      We started our first chat app with MLB 2010 at and now have 14 with (also have Nascar/F1/Hockey etc etc)

      You’re able to register with facebook account, invite friends to join via email, post to both your twitter and facebook accounts, all while chatting with people live while watching the game.

      We have Buddylists + Badges with lots more to come.


  1. So, you’ll just end up chatting with people with whom you have the most in common. Already.

    Not much of a learning opportunity, and you’ll completely miss the synergy that comes from diversity.

    What was the point of internet chatting?


  2. In the text, you talk about “solving” the masses problem, which this does nothing at all for, but in the title you got it right – something like this can _avoid_ the problem while meeting certain niche needs. And I agree there is value in that. Classrooms, restaurants, media events…


  3. The bigger problem is bots. Just ask Yahoo, they have 10 thousand chat rooms full of bots talking to bots (presumably selling each other porn subscriptions)


  4. Location limiting alone is huge – I’m less likely to be an ass to you if there aren’t six routers and four firewalls between us.


  5. textPlus nails this on a few levels with Super Groups we call Communities. You can create your own and add up to 100 folks. We also believe heavily in topic based chats to bring people together (we have Community search in the app, with tagging, descriptions and categories). Of course you can still use our app for personal close knit groups, but Communities can be invite only if you wish.


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