According to TechCrunch, JuicyCampus, a website that allows students to post messages about their peers anonymously is out of business. Further reading will tell you that their VC money dried up and they had no steady stream of ad revenues. When I was in college, I remember reading a weekly college magazine that had a page full of similar content. The page was called Pandora’s box and filled of “greek” (sorority, fraternity) gossip. I would read it every week. It would say things like “Gamma Phi LP was seen walking from Delta Chi 3am Saturday morning”. Usually, if you knew who’s who, then you can figure out who it was talking about. To report gossip, you would call into a phone number and leave a message. That’s it. No need to talk to a live person. Then you would wait to see if it got published. Devious I know. So, I don’t know how the college magazine made money from Pandora’s box, but I figure that the whole magazine benefited from more readers in general.
Now back to JuicyCampus. If I was involved wih this startup, I would think about restricting access to readers to maybe the first 5 recent comments and not all. Like a basic versus premium service content. Better yet, reward those who contribute and punish those who don’t (meaning pay service). Another thing that I would do is create partnerships with local college magazines/newspapers who may do similar things. Give those print media online access to create more gossip and make it easier for people to contribute gossip a la web. Just a few ideas, but I guess it’s too late now. Salicious gossip will have to be published on Facebook and Myspace or other venues.