An Italian site now breaking into the English speaking market RIVCams is a mixture of established site which has been online since 2005 and some brand new attempts to market itself.
Like most non-native-English webcam sites there are plenty of language errors, with bits of Italian appearing in menus and so on. However this doesn't detract on the whole from using the site even if the only Italian word you know is spaghetti!
Of course it all comes down to how many chathosts there are online and what sort of people they are. As I write I can see a round 20 girls listed in the "online" section, though they claim to have over four thousand active models what really matters is who is online now doesn't it.
So at RIVCams; oh and by the way the name seems to be an abbreviation of the Italian name ragazzeinvendita.com or ragazze in vendita which roughly translates as "girls for sale". A little crude that, but to the point I suppose.
Each of the girls has the option to say where they are from and I see some Roma, Verona, Firenzi, Milano and so on. Yes real Italians, not a Filipino or Romanian to be seen so far. I'm sure that will change though as they open up to new hosts from our global webcam village. :-)
Each chatroom is tagged according to the languages spoken by the host and as we are coming in via the English entrance I suppose the English speaking hosts are listed up at the top. So of the 20 hosts online only the first 5 indicate they speak English, and of those three also speak Spanish. The linguists of the cam world I suppose. Another host speaks German or Italian, and the remaining only make claim to Italian.
There is real free chat, and you can follow the site in twitter to get instant notification when someone you are interested in is going into the free chat room.
Yes the free chat room, there seems to be only one giant chat room and everybody is in it. Both video and text chat all together. I'm not sure if that is a good idea or not, it is very vaguely like the PartyChat that the now defunct Spread4u had, but not really.
It is a bit confusing at first but notice that you can hit the "Settings" button and turn off some of the things you don't want to see
And you can also ignore the other guys in the room by unchecking the box that says "men".
Now you can view this as long as you want but the moment you try to participate in the text chat and type something you will get sent to an age verification screen. Then a registration screen with the usual name and password and email, but then it gets more specific on the next page and they want address and they emphasize you need to provide "". Ok at this point the casual surfer is just going to give up and go to an easier to join site but for now I will persevere and see where it takes me.
It took a while to get the address form to work because it tried to cleverly work out my address from my ZIP code which didn't work quite correctly. But finally I hit the submit button and gladly there is no more - no email verification, no credit card, no purchase credits. I'm just into the site with a free account.
A big red button says "Start the Chat" and I'm back into the free chat. So this is very much not the normal way around where you see thumbnails of girls and you click one and you get into chat with her. I wonder if that will confuse people, I'm afraid I got confused and wasn't sure how to get back into the chat. There are tweets listed which say to go into free chat with a particular host, but then I suspect those sessions have expired as I can't get in any more.
After clicking around a while I find that most things I would want to do involve credits, even viewing the pictures in the girls profiles if they are nude require a few credits. I could also spend credits to get the girls contact details like email or msn. Having a free account I don't have any credits so when I try to do this it just complains I have insufficient credits, but strangely does not then offer to sell me some.
In fact I can't see anywhere on the screen to click to "buy now" or "add credits", until I realize that it is the discrete item "deposit" which is on a user menu I had collapsed earlier. Deposits are via ClickandBuy which I had not heard of before and I am offered a special 5500 credits for 550 Euros which is sure to confuse the US guests. The regular price though is 250 credits for $44. A strange conversion rate which will get me thinking to work out how much private actually costs!
At clickandbuy I'm told that only Visa/Mastercard is accepted -- well and Electron and Bank transfers but I don't see that being too popular.
All in all I'm getting a bit bored at this point and decide to see how things are from the other side of the field. As I signed up with a male account it is intriguingly offering me to "Become Webcam Boy", which I presume will be the same as a camgirl so I take a closer look. It does tell me that I can choose to set my costs from 18 to 50 credits a minute. But as the actual costs of credits varies with how many the customer buys I'm not sure how that will relate to my take. No % is mentioned anyway, but in the detailed terms and conditions I notice that payments are net 40 days from the end of the month, with a $300 minimum! If that's true I can't see the typical chathost accepting it. They want their share and they want it now, end of the week latest.
The payment percentage, or royalty as they put it, is defined in the "attached schedule". Only it isn't attached, I have to click "I Agree" to the terms to continue and I've still seen nothing. Then more agreements to rules and regulations, nothing unreasonable but do I really have to tick agree to so many individual items? then uploading scans of documents referred to in step 3. Yadda Yadda. I feel like I've just joined the army, and no it isn't complete yet! I still have to upload scans of all sorts of documents.
And still, nothing has indicated what I would be paid as a webcam girl (or boy).
Sorry but this is not going to attract the typical independent webcam chathost to try signing up to see how the site goes.
Sadly I can't say I have much hope for this site as it stands. Hopefully this is teething problems of the English version and they'll get it sorted soon. I'll check back in a couple months and see how they are doing!
Until then, if you have any more information about RIVcams, please drop me a note in the webcam forum, thanks.