1. What gave you the idea to start ViewaCam.com?
I was looking at Earthcam and thought, what a great idea! But I noticed there were a lot of ads and popups on all the pages. Their site is inundated with ads, and we are more about the broadcaster and the viewers. While we do indeed have ads, they are limited to only the bottom of the page, and the site remains nice and clean for viewers to look at the bottom ads only if they want to.
We have to have ads to pay for the site; it's a must, but once we get enough users on there, I may put up a poll asking if users would rather donate a few dollars here and there through a PayPal donate button rather than having ads on the site, and then it would be 100% ad free.
Our site is very easy to navigate, too. It also has a built in chat system that works in two ways. You can either interact with your watchers by chatting with them, or you can use the chat box only for yourself to describe what they may be seeing. You can give viewers details about what they are looking at, especially if there is something that is changing like maybe a parade going by or something like that.
2. Do you stream your own webcam, or have you done this in the past?
Yes, I try to stream my own cam as much as possible, and you'll see mine listed as Admin. The cams use your screen name you create once you join as your ID.
Don't forget to name your broadcast which is right on top of your chat screen, too, before you press start on the broadcast. Then you'll have your broadcast name and screen name, IE: Chardon Ohio - Broadcast by Admin.
3. I think there is a lot of diversity out there when it comes to webcams, and I especially like ones that feature animals or the ocean. What are some of your own favorite webcam subjects?
I personally like the webcams that are around neighborhoods. As I described above, you can see some really neat stuff like parades, people enjoying life and everyday living, and by being able to go from an Ohio neighborhood to a California neighborhood, you can see the differences of culture and ways that people live.
Also, at Christmas time, there is nothing more beautiful than someone who may decorate their home with lights and things like that, which just really brings out that holiday feel. I say this because there are a lot of people that are disabled and can no longer take a drive or a walk just to gaze at the lights in the neighborhood at Christmas, and enjoying webcam feeds can be their way to go out into the world and really look at things from all over our little blue marble we call home.
4. For webcam owners, what are the benefits of making their webcam stream available on your website?
Well, for one, the site is well-designed and easy to navigate. Secondly, again, no intrusive ads, and thirdly and probably most importantly, this isn't just another webcam site in my opinion. It is a webcam community. That's really a big difference even though it doesn't sound like it is.
You can befriend people here, send them messages, comment on their photos (yes, there's a photo section, too), and chat with them in their own chatroom. There is also an events section where broadcasters can post something special coming up so people can look forward to it; broadcasters can use the events section also even if there is no special event, just to let people know when they will be going on air. It is really much more than just a webcam site. You can make good friends here.
We also are very responsive to our broadcasters and will protect them if they are having an issue with an abusive guest, which hasn't happened yet, thank goodness, because we are a brand new site, but you just never know in the future what will come! I have been to a lot of different chats across the web and have learned a lot about what we won't allow here.
5. For people who want to set up their own webcam for the first time, do you have any advice?
For first time broadcasters, I would offer this advice: Have fun with this! Set aside at least a few hours of relaxation time and make sure you spread the word about your webcam to your friends and tell them to come on over and hang out, and before you know it, you'll have new people coming in to see your webcam.
Decide if you want to have it on 24 hours a day or just a few hours a day. If you have an older PC not being used, I'd say set it up, hook up a cam, point it at what you want to show, and let it go 24/7!
Remember, finally, to be friendly when you have a guest come in. They will ask questions about your cam, where it is located, what it is showing, stuff like that, so be ready with that information. Friendliness is really the key to it all.
Even though the community is small right now, everyone has to start somewhere, right? We hope to be a thriving, friendly, warm, and welcoming community that shows the world, YOUR world, through your cam's eye! Come join us, won't you?