The founder of JuicyCampus.com decided Feb. 5 to shut down its operations indefinitely.
According to Matt Ivester, founder and CEO of JuicyCampus, the site’s inability to maintain steady revenue led to its demise. As the economy took a turn for the worse, Ivester said that shutting down the site was inevitable.
According to the press release, the controversy that has surrounded the site since its early development did not affect the company’s decision to cease operation.
Confronting a series of rumors following the decision, the press release denied that advertisers were hesitant to buy ads on the page and that the Ohio Attorney General was investigating the site.
Ivester acknowledged the site, in the past, was unpopular but said he hopes that overall, the site was beneficial for all users.
“I hope that it was (a positive addition to the lives of readers),” Ivester said via e-mail. “I think we all recognize that certain posts were not positive, but I also think that users got a lot of entertainment and information value from the site.”
As of Feb. 5, all previous posts were no longer available to the public.
“We’ll have a copy of the entire site, but it won’t be publicly available anymore,” Ivester said. “And we plan to maintain our same privacy standards.”
According to JuicyCampus’ user agreement, the entire site remained anonymous throughout its year-and-a-half existence. During that time, JuicyCampus refused to make any users’ IP addresses public unless there was a court-ordered subpoena.
Vice President of Student Affairs Barbara Jones said she believes that the site’s closure is to be expected.
“I think that it is not surprising that a site that is that negative cannot find the sponsors to continue to operate,” Jones said. “The press release that they put out today said they could not get sponsored and their venture capitalist pulled out. I think the reality that enough people complained that they couldn’t find advertisers … is not surprising given the nature of the site.”
The site’s closure has met a variety of reactions at Miami. The site was met with anger and disappointment when various posts were published about the Miami Greek life, with posts about “sorostitutes” and the “ugliest frat.”
Andrea Akin, former vice president of public relations for Panhellenic Association (Panhel), said the site had a negative impact on the Greek community.
“First of all, when people are given the chance to be anonymous, they can be cruel and say things they wouldn’t necessarily say to someone’s face,” Akin said. “It was very hurtful to a lot of people and a lot of organizations. These were things that could have been avoided.”
Akin said that while she was vice president of public relations, Panhel made various attempts at shutting down the Web site, including contacting Ivester, going to the university for help and writing a signed letter to the Ohio Attorney General.
“I think it’s great (that the site is being cancelled),” Akin said. “It’s overdue, really. I know multiple people write to them (JuicyCampus) to have their name or organization be taken off and they were so unhelpful, it is not sad at all to see that Web site go.”
Overall, Akin said the end of JuicyCampus is good news.
“I would hope everyone is relieved,” Akin said. “I don’t think it spread a positive light on the Greek community, the site had nothing very positive to stay.”
“I would think students would be pleased,” Jones said. “Most students found the site offensive and didn’t really support what was going on with it.”
Nationally, Ivester said reactions have ranged across the board.
“We’ve already seen a wide variety of reactions, ranging from sincerely disappointed to completely elated,” Ivester said.
As for Ivester, the future looks very promising. Ivester will be consulting with a few startup companies in Los Angeles, but is already brainstorming his next big move.
“I’m not sure what my next big site will be,” he said. “It won’t be a college gossip site again, but it might deal with the college demographic or gossip-I’ve become quite familiar with both over the past year.”