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Friendfinder Adds Virtual Dating Chat Feature

( - January 28, 2004) FriendFinder has announced that it is now the first major online dating service to bring internet chat rooms to life with vivid, movable three-dimensional characters and scenic, visual chat rooms. FriendFinder's new FlashChat service lets singles choose animated characters that reflect their appearance and personal style. FlashChat enhances the chatting experience by transforming flat, text-only chat rooms into virtual parties. FlashChat uses virtual reality technology and is the cutting edge in chat room technology.

Before FlashChat, chat rooms were simply text-based and you needed an active imagination to figure out the sex, age and image of the participants:

< chiller > -- yes we will protest ronnnnnn
< m_425 > -- shisha is hot
< tigra562 > -- hello y'all
< freebird > -- hiya JEWELS how was your day? Huggies!
< Camguy > -- 21/m/uk
< blonde virgin > -- I need more popcorn
< trish dosnt pvt > -- grr tawna just left
< baby_boy 391 > Hey hottie 81 -- are U m or f?

Now, with FlashChat, < Chiller > can choose a character (or "avatar") of a black man in a suit and tie, while < Blondevirgin > will now be a long haired blonde in a demure dress. When < Tigra562 > enters, you see her avatar appear, and when < Tawna > leaves the room, her voluptuous longhaired auburn avatar literally moves to the edge of the screen. It's also much easier to keep track of conversation, because chatting now appears in "thought bubbles" above the avatar's head.

Singles choose from an array of lifelike, costumed, animated avatars that mingle in realistic, three-dimensional rooms. New York's chat room is a glittering city skyline; Hawaii, a palmy beach. The 30 male and 30 female characters range from surfers in red shorts to elderly gentlemen in tuxedos ... from women in conservative business attire to sexy vixens in lingerie.

"FlashChat is the cutting edge in internet chat systems, and we're the first major online dating service to bring avatar based chat to the public," says FriendFinder founder and CEO Andrew Conru. "You can get into the role playing aspect of chatting in a whole new way that is totally immersive and addictively fun. Other people can immediately decide if you look intriguing and if they want to approach you, without wasting time with "SWM" introductions."

Another visual advantage of FlashChat is the ability to physically move around avatars inside a chat room. To visually express the desire to join or leave a conversation, a user just drags their avatar away from their current group (with the computer mouse or arrow keys) and places it next to the new entrant.

"20 million active FriendFinder network members have access to our chat rooms, making it one of the most active chat destinations on the Internet," said Conru. The FlashChat system is free for all paying and free trial members on FriendFinder and will be available on more FriendFinder dating sites shortly.

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