Rated as 2 out of 5 - Still needs a lot of work and really only suitable for Portuguese speakers
Although officially international/English sala21 shows it's Portuguese roots everywhere. When I first loaded it I was surprised by the loading counter in the center of the screen which took about 30 seconds to get to 100% before anything could be seen. It's like those "Flash Intros" that were hot a few years ago on some sites, but in this case there is no "Skip.." button as you have to let it load.
Basically the entire webcam chat system seems to be within Flash, which has both good and bad aspects. On the one hand it allows a very novel and different user interface. On the other hand it allows a very novel and different user interface.
Seriously though, different can be good but it can also be confusing, and at first I found the interface extremely confusing. Although the system detected I wasn't in a Portuguese country and switched me to the "English" version of the system still has a few Portuguese words here and there but you get used to it after a while.
Finally the site did load and showed me that 8 chatrooms were online, of which half were in free chat. Clicking on the thumbnail took me straight into a room without delay, no signup or loading or anything, very fast and accompanied by a "boom" sound. Luckily you can turn off the various strange noises it makes with a little box at the bottom of the screen marked "Sounds".
The "Help" box though I'm not sure what that does. Perhaps it is the little help messages like:
The little flag gives you choices of Portuguese, of course, both Portugal and Brazilian flags, then German, English, Spanish and finally French. The system worked out I needed English automatically, I'm not sure how.
A prompt for "Free Signup" appeared, but I think this was on a timer as it kept appearing and I could easily close it and get back to the chat, or rather watching and reading because as an unregistered guest I could not type at all.
A lot of the site looks like it was designed by someone who normally does video games. The controls are not at all obvious, like what does this circle with symbols on it do? You can guess a few such as Home and Favorite as those are common icons, but you would be wrong. Point your mouse cursor at them and you'll find that the Heart is actually for Tipping. Yes this is a tipping site though I also saw plenty of privates going on. Thumbnails of online but in private hosts are clearly marked as being in private, with a number after which I presume means how many viewers there are as it always seems to be "1" for privates.
Like any new site they are keen to get more models and so quite a bit of the promotions are inviting models to join, and I'll talk more about that later in the Models part of this review.
As a viewer though you finally need to make a free account if you want to interact with the chathosts, so click the register button then choose "Customer" and there are three pages to go through, a benefit screen which is rather redundant if you have already decided to join, the actual form and a T&C "I agree" page. Now I know that nobody ever reads the terms and conditions before clicking "I Agree", but that doesn't mean you have to make it so small it is unreadable. At Sala21 it looks like they have scanned a printed document and put the scans into a little window, you can page through but you'll have to either Zoom in or get real close to the screen to read the words. Or maybe the person who designed this has a much bigger monitor than me and it's ok for him!
The signup form itself is username, password, email and then you click next and "Register". You can login as soon as you have completed the form, you don't need to wait, but take care you only click the login button once, not twice as I did and accidentally logged myself in then out again before I realized it. Click the button and wait patiently for a few seconds even though nothing seems to have happened after a while you will be logged in and the login button changes to a logout button.
When I first logged in I was suprised by the weird pop-ups that look more like some debugging code than a normal website.
Luckily they disappear on their own even without you clicking "close" on them, which is good as they are quite annoying.
When you get the confirmation email it is subject " [INFO] Sala21.com: Bem vindo | Welcome " and just contains your username and password, there is no email verification going on.
To buy credits click the little globe icon under the $ sign to select where you are in the world, then it will offer you payment types.
Credit card handling is via Zambio and you can buy packages of credits starting at 10 Euros for 480 credits through to 100 Euros which gets you 4,800, plus a 15% bonus. If you sign up for a monthly 25 Euro purchase you get a 5% bonus, no different from if you just buy 25 euros at a time.
So if 10 euros buys 480 credits, and privates are 60 credits a minute, and one euro is about $1.25 then... I think I should have studied mathematics harder. No, I think that means privates are about $1.50/minute. Which is cheap, very cheap, down there with camcontacts.
Nude chat is half that price.
Problem is of course that there are not that many hosts online, so you don't have a lot of choices. After spending some time looking around most of them had logged off and the two "free chat" rooms still going were both just sofa-cams, the models having left their cameras running while they went off.
Even when there are hosts online you are limited to 20 minutes in free for ever 2 hours you are online. You can raise that limit by spending even a little bit in private or nude chat. Just one minute of private gets you 2 hours of unlimited free. But this doesn't help if there are are no hosts in free.
Then several of the free chat hosts I saw were just sitting there typing, not even showing their face or talking to their viewers. And what typing that was happening was mostly in Portuguese or some in Spanish.
Even room titles are in Portuguese: what does "ola meninos vote em mim...obg" mean? It's something like "vote for me boys".
A few times the whole site crashed and I got the little dead flash icon
I tried to talk to some of the hosts in Free chat but they either could not or would not respond in English. They were not even showing their face so it wasn't really possible to get into some feeling of conversation with them.
So basically despite the effort to internationalize the site I think Sala21 is really only for Portuguese speakers, and ones who are willing to learn this unusual user interface.
If you'd like to comment more on sala21.com please post a message in the forum. Thanks.
You don't need to speak Portuguese to work here, but it would help. There is a "model earnings calculator" which lets you simulate how much you would earn doing different amounts of hours there.
To signup use the same "Register" button as for a customer, but then on the next screen chose "Model". They boast that you can work without showing your face, which is a bit strange for such a site, but I guess it is good for privacy. This is unusual for US cam sites but I know that for example Japanese sites like DXLive have many girls who don't show their face.
One great things it that they send payouts every 3 days, but how much you actually earn is confusing to see. The promise of "up to 80% net payouts" is confusing. According to the terms and conditions the payout is 0.60 euros per minute or about 75 cents a minute which is more like 60% I think, you also get 70% of tips.
There is also voting and and weekly and monthly prizes for top voted, 2nd and 3rd places models. But you can't guarantee those and the prizes are small anyway. At most 50 euros for monthly first place. This is trivial compared to chaturbates hourly prizes.