Yale’s campus, CollegeOnly has so far only attracted about 300 Yale users, both graduateand undergraduate students.
Josh Weinstein, creator of last year’s popular matchmaking website GoodCrush, conceived CollegeOnly as an answer to Facebook’s lack of privacy. Weinstein, a Princeton graduate, said he created the social networking website for college students to share their private information and photos freely, without parents and future employers peering in. Still, some studentsinterviewed said they do not think the site will be different enough from Facebook to gain popularity.
Unlike with Facebook, each CollegeOnly user’s profile contains only basic information, such asthe student’s class year, major, dorm room and phone number.Yet, like Facebook, students on CollegeOnly can also post status updates and comment on their friends’ statuses.
In addition to Yalies, the website is also currently available to Princeton and Cornell students, but users are only able to interact within their own school’s network.
Aside from posting flyers around Yale’s campus, CollegeOnly cosponsored two parties during Camp Yale and a party at Toad’s Place last Wednesday. The company also gave out free T-shirts, sunglasses and door-hangers at these events to promote thewebsite, marketing representative Jeanne Snow ’11 said.
User Emily Yin ’13 (who is a Production & Design staffer for the News)said she created an account out of curiosity after attending a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity party sponsored by CollegeOnly. But she haslogged onto the site only once since.
“The only advantage is that you can see events from your school,” Yin said. “But it’s difficult to adapt to a new social network. I don’t think it’ll be interesting enough to attract that many people.”
Yin added that the few people currently using CollegeOnly update their content only rarely.
Another user, Omar Njie ’13, though attracted to the website’s privacy, said he is also an infrequent visitor. Njie said CollegeOnly might succeed if it can supplement popular social networking sites.
“If the website is looking to compete with Facebook, it should just stop now,” he wrotein an e-mail.
Stephen Feigenbaum ’12, who works as a promoter for CollegeOnly, refutedthe view that CollegeOnly cannot compete with Facebook:He said that beyond connecting individuals’ pages, the newer website aims to create an online version of the Yale community.
Many of the interactive functions on the website are still under development: Feigenbaum saidCollegeOnly is hoping to introduce a chatroom function that connects students in large lecture classes. Bored students would be able to use the chatroom to talk to anyone in the lecture hall — not just their friends in Google Chat, he added.
Another feature that might be coming soon would allow multiple students to post photos of an event to a single photo album, Feigenbaum said.
“It’s supposed to capture what happens in real life, whether you are in a group at Yale or at a party,” he said.
So far, Weinstein said, CollegeOnly has received about 300 requeststo bring the website to other college campuses.