can be just the answer for those who can't travel, don't live
near a gay venue or just feel uncomfortable about visiting
a gay venue. It can also provide exciting and safe "entertainment"
where you can indulge your wildest fantasies and the proliferation
of webcams means you can now see and hear what someone you're
chatting to is doing.
The types of chat systems are:
Chat room systems
Many of the larger gay sites and specialist gay senior
sites have chat systems with individual rooms which include
gay seniors and admirers. If you click on the name of a chatter,
they will display the profile of the user from the dating
system of the site. They also allow for 1 to 1 chatting.
Provides the ability to both see a photo of the person
you may be interested in, to send text messages. Some also
allow voice, moving or still image attachments to the message.
adds the ability to talk to the other person like a telephone
- or more like talking over a walkie-talkie as you (usually)
have to wait for the other person to finish.
adds to that the ability to voice or message real time while
seeing and hearing a moving image of the other person - provided
you both have a webcam and the requirements below.
There are three distinct categories
of software for chatting:
While you can get away without a webcam for text chatting,
you are unlikely to get much interest from other users on
video chat systems if you don't have one.
Also you need a fairly powerful
computer to run webcams - particularly for two-way video chat
- so we suggest a minimum 700Mhz processor and 128MB RAM or
more for windows users.
While you could use video chat
with a dial-up connection the result are likely to be so slow
to make it impossible to use successfully, so DSL, a cable
modem or other broadband connection is required.
Webcams require good lighting to provide an adequate image.
Spend some time to optimise the set-up of your webcam, ensuring
that you (or whatever you are pointing it at) are well lit
with the light from the behind the cam.
Don't be concerned if people
you send messages to seem to ignore you - they may have a
broadband connection which they leave on all the time, although
it is polite to add this to your profile.
Do complete your profile and
add a picture - a face shot will tend to get you more response.
Some people will not answer messages that don't have a profile
or without a face.
for Robots) are fake profiles set up to spoof a chat session
and lure you to pay sites - you can block them on some sites
but only after they have interrupted you.
Private chat Enables
you to chat 1-1 with another user and even video chat in some
instances. Some sites will interrupt you with multiple requests
for private chat when you're in the middle of one already.
chat room systems
Their text chat system is subdivided
into world geographical locations and into themes (including
Mature). Profiles, video clips and photos can be added to
chat identity and a click on a name will display a thumbnail
photo. General Mature rooms tend to have more U.S.chatters
than international. Regional Mature rooms are under-used.
Requires paid upgrade to see full-size, adult & private
photos. Irritating ads to avoid before you get to chat.
They also have a separate Video Chat system but this requires
a paid upgrade to use.
Summary: Used to be the best chat system but the requirement
to pay for much of the content, the number of bots (automated
chat users which are in fact advertising), the confusing
ads and interface make it much less user-friendly. As a
there seem to be fewer users although it's still busy at
hours. Probably best if you are US-based and don't have a
Simple text-based chat system which provides links to personals
profiles. Chat rooms are separated into geography and themes.
"Age 50 plus" is the one for mature men.
Upgrade allows for thumbnail display of chatters but unlike
Gay.com you have to view the profile to see a picture - there's
no pop-up on a profile name.
Summary: Probably best if you are in UK or Australia. Chat system
is not as sophisticated as gay.com and lacks any video capability
- but the interface is cleaner and easier to use. No pop-up
ads or Bots.
chat room systems (Older/younger gay sites)
|It's so easy for a website to add a chat system
that many of them have one. However, we have only reviewed the
most popular becuase that's where you're most likely to find
someone to chat to.
Has had a text-based chat system for some
time but has recently added excellent Video chat facility.
result the number of users in the older text chat has dropped
Text chat links to profiles when you click on a chat name
but doesn't have a pop-up photo or a short description - this
means you have to open many profiles to find someone who may
fit your likes.
Video chat is very fast and doesn't require additional software
to use and has now been split into Older/Younger and Older4Older
rooms. You can broadcast your webcam picture to all other
users or only
to one user
private chat the video picture displays behind the text you
type which can be irritating (re-size chat window to change).
There have been reports of younger guys asking
older guys for money - don't do it! - there are plenty
out there who love older men for free. Report the user
to Dennis the webmaster.
Has had text based chat system (Caffmos lounge)
for some time with links to profile from chat name. Has UK
and US hosted chat on Sundays. New video chat system allows
premium members to video multiple webcams simultenously. Non-members
can only view one at a time.
Video Chat Software
|The advantage of the dedicated
chat software is that it is easier to find someone with similar
tastes and know that they have a set-up that allows you to video
chat to them as well. In addition the cost of the software tends
to put off spamers.
ICUII includes a Quick Message
function that sends audio, text and a video image to any user
on the directory or on your Pal list. This provides a quick
and easy way to communicate with all of your friends online
- or to make new ones in the themed rooms.
This includes a room for Gay
Seniors which is very busy and attracts between 50-100 people
at one time, around 50% of whom are over 50. You can also
create your own sub-rooms.
In ICUII's software package
includes, text-based chat, audio, and a number of other features
such as a built-in directory, caller ID, and a 'Do Not Disturb'
ICUII even has a filter built
in to protect its users from unwanted users frequenting the
A free 21-day trial version is available. Cost of full license
ISPQ offers similar functionality to ICUii and is probably
better suited to bears and their admirers, as their public
"room" for seniors and admirers is called "bears,
cubs and daddies".
ISPQ provides additional
functionality for setting up private "rooms" where
you can video-chat with up to 5 users simultaneously.
A free 21-day trial version
is available. Cost is $39.95 for one year.
Free dedicated chat client which can give excellent
results if you're chatting 1-1 - (both will need to install
it) usually better than you'll get with instant messaging software
like Yahoo and AIM. Highly configurable for bandwidth and picture
quality. Also has gay chat rooms but none for older gay men.
Offers links to instant messaging systems but we could not get
it to work.
Another free dedicated chat client (used by Caffmos)
but free version has restricted image size. Also has gay chat
rooms (including some in French) but none for older men/admirers.
of the following is that they are usually free and allow you
to keep track of your friends online and send them messages
and files. Being free is both a blessing and a curse since
anyone can open an account and use it to spam (aka Spim) other
users - or try to lure them into parting with money - you
have been warned.
The proliferation of users
means there is also a big add-on market to enhance use of
the different systems such as web interfaces etc. Click here
The different chat systems
are incompatible, however there is software available which
will enable you to access all the main chat networks simultaneously,
which are described here
Microsoft may be the company
you love to hate, but there are a few things you can get from
them for free, one of them being MSN instant messenger. This
is a small download which adds a little icon to your tool
bar that looks like fat gray man (how appropriate! - Ed.),
from this icon you can access your online friends.
Windows XP includes a version
of the software called "Windows Messenger" that has more features
than MSN Messenger. In Windows Messenger, Microsoft essentially
blended their presence and messaging application with their
NetMeeting video conferencing and collaborative work application.
Windows Messenger interoperates with MSN Messenger but you
won't be able to use the advanced features.
Adding a friend couldn't be easier, get the e-mail address
they've signed up with and a couple of clicks later you've
got a friend to talk to.
- Unlimited file transfer
- Lots of emoticons to play
around with (smiley faces etc.).
- Easy to change screen name
- Send and receive text messages
- Video Chat
- No way of logging on automatically
in Invisible mode, so people know that you're online even
if you click off-line straight away.
- Can only send messages when
- No off-line messages
The second 'big' name, and
the main rival to MSN - however there are a few differences,
first is the signing up process which requires you to get
a free Yahoo id before you can then download the chat software.
Adding friends is pretty much
the same as MSN, just find out their user id and away you
- New (05/2005)
-Beta versoin allows IP-based telephony (high quality calls
over the internet)
- You can sign on straight
away and be off-line (which is very useful if you have a
large list of contacts.
- You can send and receive
messages whilst appearing off-line, so if you ever only
want to talk to one person, you can appear off-line and
still speak to him/her alone.
- You can leave off-line messages,
handy when you've only got a few words to say.
- Video chat with Webcams
(Super mode allows hihg resolution/frame rate).
- If you're playing one of
Yahoos many games (games.yahoo.com), and also have messenger
turned on, a friend of yours can join you by clicking on
- Anybody can come through
to you on messenger, whether they know you or not, although
you can block them.
- Video chat requires broadband
to be effective and a fast PC. The video stream is jerky
compared to dedicated video chat software such as ICUii
- Limit to file size you can
AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)
With approximately 85 million users, AOL Instant Messenger
(AIM) is currently the most popular instant messenger. Chances
are pretty good that somebody you know is already using it.
Since it was one of the first messenger clients, AIM has many
features and runs on many platforms, including a native Linux
version and as a web applet. One of AIM's strengths, its large
user base, is also a weakness. It is almost impossible to
find a username when registering.
AIM has better support for
private group chats than any of the other clients I tested,
supporting up to 23 users. It also supports inline photos,
which would be very useful for users who want to share pictures.
Again you can add Friends from
their screen name and see when they are online to send them
- Number of users
- Links to AOL
- See how long friends have
- Video chat
- If AOL is your ISP, there
you cannot appear off-line, you can leave a message after
your screen-name that says what you're really doing, but
its still showing that you're online
- No off-line messages
|These programs provide
a way to connect to multiple chat systems simultaneously which
means you get a single program that provides a way to chat to
all your friends no matter what system they use - although the
functions tend to be limited.
It provides a single interface
for all your chat-programs (Yahoo, AOL, MSN, ICQ) in one window.
- You only need to have one
chat client for all your friends
- Can be confusing since it
shows all your friends on all the services
- Communication set-up is
not very intuitive
- Does not have the advanced
features of the original chat clients (e.g. video chat on
Yahoo) even though you may be chatting to a Yahoo user
- If one of the chat services
it supports changes it can disable Trillian until for that
service until a patch becomes available
America Online, MSN and Yahoo instant-message users can sign up for
an Eyeball ID, and instant message each other through one program,
Eyeball Chat. While others offer the same "interoperability" among
several systems, only Eyeball does this with text and video.
The video and audio quality of Eyeball
is better than most chat clients and you also can send video e-mails
to those who are Webcamless. But if you don't have high-speed Internet
service, don't expect to see as much movement — on dial-up, they are
Print and TV commercials featuring mature gay men
| ART & PHOTOS
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All gay cruises and gay cruise groups
| DATING ADVICE
Safe and succesful dating guide
| DATING SITES
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| CHAT, VIDEO CHAT & MESSAGING
& video chat systems for interacting with friends or lovers
for mature gay men and admirers
| HEALTH & WELLNESS
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Gay history through the ages
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| LEISURE & FUN
Fun and funny sites for seniors and admirers
| MAILING LISTS & GROUPS
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on DVD and VHS featuring mature and younger gay men.
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| SEARCH & PORTALS
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Fun T-shirts and other merchandise
| TRAVEL OVERVIEW
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| TRAVEL TALES
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Porn Video & DVD with mature men.
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