Students can rest assured that finding valentines will be easier this year — or at least that they will have one more procrastination outlet.
Two dating websites have emerged in time for Valentine’s Day: GoodCrush, which was founded in 2007 by Josh Weinstein ’09 but shut down last year, and Grapevine, which was newly co-founded by Steve Liss ’10 and Val Karpov ’11.
The first post on GoodCrush, which reads, “We’re back ... by popular demand/revolts” was posted on Friday and was followed by several new posts.
Weinstein said that GoodCrush had enjoyed high success among University students during its previous operation.
“We consistently had about 1,000 hits daily from Princeton for about five months,” he said.
He added that students were “pretty pissed” when the website was shut down in August last year to be integrated into the social networking site CollegeOnly, also created by Weinstein.
“It proved to be a not-so-wise decision,” Weinstein said. “It didn’t really click with people — the new branding was a bit off.”
Weinstein said he was motivated to relaunch GoodCrush independent of CollegeOnly because of high demand in light of Valentine’s Day.
GoodCrush provides two services: a “Spots” page and the “CrushFinder.” Through “Spots,” students can make anonymous postings — similar to those on Craigslist — about romantic interests. The CrushFinder allows the user to enter five “crushes,” who are notified by e-mail that they have been listed. If those “crushes” list the original user as a crush, both students are notified of each other’s names.
Students said they were unsure about whether the website would successfully match its users with their ideal partners.
“I’ve personally never used it but have personally experienced the frustration of trying to find someone to have a good time with at Princeton,” Emily Myerson ’12 said. “But I think it’s kind of a weird thing. Is it just to make people feel better about themselves, or do people actually follow up on it?”
Shu Haur Tang ’12 said he thinks the website’s matchmaking capabilities will depend on how many regular visitors it receives.
“As a user, I’d only use it if I knew a lot of other people used it,” he said. “If I tried to find a particular person through it ... and they didn’t use it, it wouldn’t work at all. It seems people are more likely to use other platforms, like PrincetonFML.”
Weinstein explained that the relaunched GoodCrush will remain entirely the same as its previous version.
“We literally just flipped the switch,” he said.
Meanwhile, the new website Grapevine located at http://www.grpvn.net will do its matchmaking “without the need for gossiping intermediaries,” according to a press release.
The site will use Facebook to verify a student’s identity, after which it e-mails that student’s “crush” to ask if they might be interested in a date — but with a catch.
In this e-mail, Grapevine includes the names of any conceivably interested parties — classmates, club mates and friends — so that the recipient cannot identify the real sender.
The website then asks the recipient whether he or she would or wouldn’t date each person, and the sender thus learns whether his “crush” is interested. Responses for names other than the sender, however, are not revealed.
“It’s private but direct enough that you’re guaranteed to be able to hear back from who you send it to,” Liss said. “With GoodCrush, the problem was that it was too anonymous. You’d send out your crushes and have to hope the other person would crush you back.”
Liss said the idea for Grapevine occurred to him just before Valentine’s Day last year when he was doing research for a thesis on game theory and politics.
“I was figuring out ways for people to communicate honestly with each other,” he explained. “I realized I had found this technique for people to share information with each other without disclosing who they are, and I realized this was perfect for dating.”
Liss added that he had himself tried taking “the direct route” with a romantic interest that Valentine’s Day.
“It didn’t work out, so I had even more inclination to help others like myself,” he said.
Currently, Grapevine is limited to Princeton users so that Liss can test student response before launching it at other colleges.
“Princeton has as dire a need for it as any place,” he said. “It’s just a step to take before asking someone out — there’s no reason not to do this. I’m hoping it’ll encourage people to be more adventurous.”