GoodCrush, which launched just a few months ago, is now on roughly 20 college campuses. Josh hasn’t been able to recreate the overnight magic of his first attempt everywhere, but the potential for that sort of growth is what makes GoodCrush’s college-focused model promising, despite the glut of dating sites out there.
Here’s how it works:
- Students who sign up can enter the email of up to five “crushes”. They have to have an email address from a participating college to get started.
- The people you have a crush on will be notified that someone has a crush on them, but they won’t be able to see who.
- If they sign up, and they also list you as one of their crushes, a match is made and both parties are notified.
- GoodCrush also runs a “missed connections” service, a la Craigslist.
GoodCrush is obviously not the first site to use this sort of mechanism (though Josh says he didn’t realise it had been done before when he came up with the idea), but the combination with the strict control of who can be involved makes it a much easier sell to college kids.
Josh points out that the social stigma amongst the young surrounding online dating is rapidly going away, but it is still very real. But using a service that is limited to people at your school seems much less like looking for a date on the Internet. And that fact that you are anonymous until a match is made means that students aren’t putting themselves out there to the same degree.
Josh recently applied these principles to the random anonymous video-chat craze Chatroulette. His other service, RandomDorm, is essentially a Chatroulette clone, except that it requires users have a .edu email address. It’s still entirely anonymous, but college kids know they’ll end up looking at people their own age, and, in theory anyway, they are a lot less likely to run into perverts.
The new service is just a few weeks old, but the early signs are promising — last week 4,000 people signed up.
All that said, dating networks are not in short supply, and soon enough Chatroulette-style services will be a crowded field as well. GoodCrush is off to a great start, but it obviously faces an uphill battle.
FirstMark Capital seeded the company, and Josh is currently talking to Angels and VCs. A Series A round of funding should be worked out in the near future.