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Home MAGAZINE Career Advice JuicyCampus Creator, Matt Ivester

JuicyCampus Creator, Matt Ivester

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Chances are, if you attend a major university, you’re probably familiar with a little gossip website called juicycampus.com. But this isn’t your average celebrity slam fest. Instead, juicycampus.com offers students the opportunity to read and post gossip items to their respective campus’ page, allowing their peers to become topics of praise, ridicule and judgment. It’s not surprising that the controversial site has raised quite a few concerns as topics can range from the hottest sorority on campus to which sorority girl is the “biggest slut.”

However, juicycampus creator and Duke graduate Matt Ivester, who launched the site in August of 2007, claims the site simply encourages free speech and offers an outlet for the kind of talk that would ordinarily occur on campus. Whether morally just or not, Ivester has tapped into a uniquely profitable market. In fact, the site has become so successful that this month, juicycampus.com will go from covering 63 campuses to a whopping 500 due to an overwhelming demand. In a rare interview, Ivester filled us in on all the juicy details behind
juicycampus.com.

JuicyCampus.com creator, Matt Ivester

What gave you the idea for juicycampus.com?

I was brainstorming about what I could do on the internet. I realized my core competencies were that I knew the college market really well because I was not that far off from school. I was very involved in Greek life [while attending Duke]. I guess I just started thinking, “Gosh, some of my favorite stories were in college. It would be fun to have a place to start sharing those stories.”

What was your initial business model?
I wish I could say that it was really planned out, but the truth is that when I started it the plan was “Hey, I can build this for pretty cheap, I’m going to launch it on seven campuses and see if anyone cares about it.” I was frankly overwhelmed by the tremendous demand for this kind of website and the success was almost immediate. Within a month of launching it, we were getting a hundred posts a day. Within two months, BusinessWeek picked up on a story from the Duke newspaper. From there, we decided to invest a bit more money and expand to the 63 campuses.

Your first job was working as an associate business consultant?
I graduated from Duke in May 2005 and double majored in economics and computer science. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and consulting is a great option coming out of school. We were working with just the top management companies. To be on a team with these industry leaders was just fascinating to me. I was very much doing it knowing that I am an entrepreneur but needing a bit of business experience before launching out on my own.

Was the site a side venture at first?
No, I took the leap and I left my job and didn’t know what I was going to do except I was determined to start my own website.


What is your feeling about those who criticize the site for spreading unnecessary gossip?
It has been criticized. I never expected the level of controversy that we’ve seen. We really did not anticipate that. I think there have been some healthy discussions, and this is one of things that is bound to happen as the internet is evolves.

Is it difficult to get advertisers, your main profit source, due to the racy content?
The college demographic is very popular with advertisers. But there are some advertisers that we recognize that we are never going to get. We are not going to go out and try to pitch Disney. If that was our business plan, I don’t think we would get any investors. There are tons and tons of advertisers who recognize what the website is. It is a gossip website. college students enjoy it and you have to advertise where the college students are.

The site reserves the right to remove posts. What would be the kind of post that would be removed?
We’re not in the business of censorship. We want to create a free, open forum where college students can discuss the topics that interest them most in the manner they deem appropriate. What we will do is if we’re notified that someone’s contact information has been posted such as an e-mail address or a phone number, we’ll delete that. If there is a rampant hate speech and it’s not saying anything, that’s not what juicycampus is all about, so we’ll delete that.

Are the posts closely monitored?
Nothing is prescreened before it goes up. Just because of the volume of the posts it is impossible to do that.

Now that you are expanding to 500 campuses nationwide, what’s the next step?
There are over 2,500 four-year institutions in the U.S. so we have a long road ahead of us before we are on all of them. Eventually, we would like to be on all of them.

By Jillian Gordon

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Comments (12)
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there is nothing so wrong with matt ivester
11 Thursday, 07 May 2009 00:04
Truth
because guns don't kill people; people kill people.
This horrible website
10 Tuesday, 05 May 2009 18:35
Keaton (Alabama State Student)
I guess now days ppl will do anything for their own fame; no matter how many lives their affecting?! This Juicy Campus thing is rediculous and has even caused a few gilrs to consider sommitting suicide because of the lies being brodcast...whoever came up with it should be arrested and if theirs no law against it there needs to be one...it really is a shame! Jesus has to be on his way back!
To the poster pretending to be matt ivester
9 Wednesday, 29 April 2009 02:04
Anonymous
you slam matt ivester for all these things in your sarcastic impersonation, yet you use homosexuality as a way to insult someone? shame on you.
Shut Down Finally
8 Friday, 27 February 2009 04:48
mom
You provided a venue for middle school immaturity to continue through college. And why did you think this was going to be a good idea? You should not feel good about yourself and Duke should NOT be proud of you. I guess you did have a tough time getting advertisers or you would have been sustainable. Glad you are gone.
History
7 Friday, 06 February 2009 10:45
Dr. J
Wonder if there'll be a follow-up story about Matt's total inability to create a sustainable business. As an entrepreneurship professor at a major university, I will be using JuicyCampus as a perfect example for all those students who think you can throw valueless crap on the internet and get rich. Thanks Matt, for showing us that "Dukies" can be just as irrational as other students.
Juicy Campus
6 Tuesday, 06 January 2009 14:58
Matt Ivester
Hey guys, thanks for reading about me.. let me start by saying I don't know how I live with myself.. I cheated and bought my way through Duke, my parents are miserable, my mom sleeps around, I am gay.. I don't let anyone post any comments about myself on Juicycampus.com, but I allow others to get tortured and slander with their first and last names. All I care about is the personal gain I get from the website. Everyones shallowness and cruelty towards each other just makes my life ten times better, it makes it easier for me to sleep at night knowing people have it worse than me. I am a fake, a fraud, a cheat, a scam, a homosexual, and a scumbag. Please someone find a way to legally take my site down.
Looks like
5 Tuesday, 23 December 2008 15:56
Hello Kitty
He looks like Tom Cruise
Juicycampusrevealed.com
4 Tuesday, 09 December 2008 23:01
M J
found this site that explains why juicy campus can get you sued, why this anonymous site is is hateful and why juicy campus is a virus at our universities and colleges.

www.juicycampusrevealed.com
woo
3 Saturday, 06 December 2008 21:02
erin
you look like napoleon Dynamite. lol i guess its true that only nerds create these websites.
resigned or fired
2 Sunday, 23 November 2008 13:16
brice
Matt Ivester may have left his consulting job because of a sexual harassment claim against him.
Devil
1 Sunday, 02 November 2008 06:45
AD
Matt ivester is the devil

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