College students’ own real life Gossip Girl website, Juicy Campus, left its last XO Feb. 5.
In an open letter posted on the site by Juicy Campus founder Matt Ivester on Feb. 4, he said the site could not keep up with economic demands.
‘Juicy Campus’ growth outpaced our ability to muster the resources needed to survive the economic downturn and the current level of revenue generated is simply insufficient to keep the site alive,’ the letter said.
At first, some were skeptical that the site would close and called the press release a publicity stunt.
College of Communication junior Damaneke Santiago said it is contradictory for a company that is in financial trouble to spend so much of their time and money publicizing their closing.
‘The fact that people like myself, who barely visit their site are aware of its closing is kind of ridiculous,’ Santiago said. ‘Had I not heard of all the PR for the site, I wouldn’t have known, and honestly wouldn’t have cared. This seems like a publicity stunt to me.’
Boston University public relations professor Don Wright said he sees why people would think it was a stunt, but does not agree.
‘Perhaps they hoped communication about the site closing might prompt supporters,’ he said.
However, he said, the announcement was probably not a publicity stunt because the website would continue to operate if it was making a profit.
‘It seems to be an organization being openly transparent about its demise, and I don’t think this would be classified as a ‘media stunt,” Wright said.
School of Management sophomore Bridget Rowan said she thinks another factor may be that the website relied on the pockets of college students.
‘Juicy Campus is marketed towards college students, so it might have been due to this that the advertisements fell through or didn’t bring in as much money,’ Rowan said.
The gossipy spirit of the site is going out of style anyways, Rowan said.
‘If the economic situation does get better though, Juicy Campus may not even have a niche anymore,’ she said.
The gossip site’s reputation as an immature message board was not deserved, Ivester said in his letter.
‘Juicy Campus has raised issues that have passionate advocates on both sides, and I hope that the dialogue will continue.’
A Juicy Campus ‘replacement’ site, called College Anonymous Confession Board, has already sprung up according to a College ACB Feb. 5 press release. Currently operated by a Wesleyan University freshman, the site ‘seeks to give students a place to vent, rant, and talk to college peers in an environment free from social constraints and about subjects that might otherwise be taboo,’ according to the press release.
However, it will set itself apart from Juicy Campus, according to the press release.
‘Such a philosophy sets the ACB apart from Juicy Campus, a website that fostered superficial interactions, often derogatory and needlessly crude,’ the release said. ‘By contrast, the ACB consistently hosts a higher level of discourse, while still making room for the occasional gossip post.’
Juicy Campus spokesman Steve Wilson said they are no longer taking any questions regarding the site or ACB.
The new ACB site still does not hold appeal for some students, Santiago said.
‘I have never really gotten the appeal of gossip websites,’ Santiago said. ‘Gossip just creates drama. If you want drama, watch Gossip Girl, watch reality television. Don’t talk about the people in your class.’