What, you thought the anonymous gossip sites were gone?
After Juicy Campus went down in 2009 with a rash of potential lawsuits and lack of revenue, and after College ACB also went offline in October of last year, a hole in the undeniably popular market for college gossip sites opened up. How would people spend their lectures meticulously ranking fraternities? How would anyone know who, truly, had the best ass on campus? Dark days indeed.
Enter Collegiate ACB—the next site that will take over campuses this year. If you're in college and hadn't heard of it yet, consider this service journalism.
Unlike Juicy Campus, which had an office and the very public face of Matt Ivester running it, Collegiate ACB is run by two college kids who, until now, have not disclosed their public identities. They did for us, though: The site is operated by Kirk Henf, from the University of Florida, and Tim O'Shea, who goes to Central Florida. Both code and market the site from their respective dorm rooms. They're juniors and fraternity guys, and they're somehow balancing busy school and social schedules with running a destination that had 50,000 unique visitors a month this summer—when school wasn't even in session.
From our conversation conducted over many emails yesterday, I got the sense that both are trying to avoid the pitfalls that turned Juicy Gossip into the Internet's Karachi, Pakistan during its darkest days. Henf and O'Shea said the site aggressively takes down posts that are flagged by users. (Whether users actually will take advantage of this is a different story, of course.) And the two said the site is not indexed by Google, a strategy used by anonymous image boards like 4chan to not have someone's name, for instance, come up in a Google search. These are smart moves that could enable Collegiate ACB to be used more responsibly than its two predecessors.
Because I'm an idiot, I originally didn't realize that Collegiate ACB was a different website than College ACB (which has now been rebranded as "Collegeacb.co," and does not appear to have any active forums). So excuse me for my first question.
Thanks for doing this, guys.
First things first: How did you get involved in this site as college students? Did you buy it from [former College ACB owner] Peter Frank or are you working under a different corporation? Basically, what's the management structure like?
We are in no way affiliated with the former College ACB. We came up with the idea for CollegiateACB back in March when we identified that in the fall of CollegeACB, Blipdar, and JuicyCampus, there was no longer a centralized location for anonymous student discussion. After development, we released our first version of the site to a single school in March and formed a company (CollegiateACB, LLC) which is currently run by the two of us. For the most part, one of us handles the technical side (web development and the server) and the other deals primarily in marketing for the site, though we’re looking to hopefully add others to our team in the future (someone to deal strictly with securing advertisers, for example).
I see, I see. So without the College ACB affiliation, how has the site already grown so quickly? Word of mouth or other means? I'm on the forum for my alma mater right now, and it's pretty staggering how many posts have already gone up. Classes haven't even started yet.
A very large amount of our traffic comes to the site directly (including new visitors), which indicates to us that it's spread primarily by word-of-mouth. Other than that, we've found many people will talk about the site on Facebook, Twitter (for which we have an account @CollegiateACB), TotalFratMove, and other similar sites. Once a few posts on a school appear, people tend to stop lurking and contribute more frequently. We were quite happy with the number of posts and traffic we've received thus far, especially considering many students were on Summer break.
What kind of traffic are we talking about here?
We averaged over 50,000 unique visitors per month over the summer. Given the increases we've seen since students across the country have been returning to class, we're hoping to see that number double (at the very least) by the end of September. We're on pace to do that, too.