You can create as many chat rooms as you want, with even greater control over how they operate, with these software packages:
- Fully customizable, written in Perl, with many features. A slimmed-down trial version is available, with no time-limit on length of use, and can be upgraded to the full version by purchasing plug-ins.
- Several versions available. The free version limits the room to ten.
- Server-based Java chatroom. Well-designed with lots of fun features.
- Free Chat
- A set of CGI programs written in C. Available for UNIX and Windows NT systems.
- Lucid Chat
- Provides real-time text streaming without Java, ActiveX, or a Netscape plug-in.
- Free and commercial versions of this Java chat room are available. Commercial versions are leased for an annual fee.
- Three versions of this chat software are available, including a free version.
- Programmed in Java, customizable, and easy to use. A free version is available.
- The PeoplePanel
- Free set of community tools. Runs in a pop-up window.
- Shareware chat room that's fast, clean, and maintenance-free.
- Nice functionality but fairly expensive.
- Web Chat
- Comes as part of a suite or can be purchased separately.
Add a link to your chat room from your web page. Add a link at the bottom of your email posts.
But remember -- your chat room will become what you, as hostess/host, make of it. If you never go there, nobody else will either -- and if you don't make it welcoming to others, you'll be there alone.
Starting a chat room is a lot like starting a website. What do you want to talk about? Who do you want to talk with? What do you want the atmosphere to be? Planning ahead of time will make your chat room more successful.
Setting up a schedule also helps build membership. (This is the main reason I hate Chat, myself.) As with a webpage, take a look at some successful ones and learn from them.
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