Move over, “Gossip Girl,” Juicy Campus has come to Binghamton University.
Juicycampus.com, one of the fastest growing user-generated gossip Web sites, allows students to anonymously post gossip about their college campuses.
Founded in October 2007 by entrepreneur Matt Ivester, the site has been growing at a fast rate, jumping from 63 supported campuses to 500 in a single month, he said. Numerous SUNY schools, including Binghamton, have found their way onto the Web site’s discussion boards.
Ivester said that his favorite stories were from his college days.
“I then realized that many other students shared the same kinds of tales, so why not create a Web site where students on college campuses can discuss these topics and stories?” he said.
The Binghamton portion of the site has been very active, with students discussing a variety of topics ranging from the best dining halls on campus to whether or not the right fraternity won the recent Greek God competition.
“Everyone loves to talk and hear gossip,” Steve Adams, a freshman, said.
Although the Web site has its share of honest stories and debates, it hasn’t escaped controversy. The “Students Against Juicy Campus” Facebook group has 2,648 members.
Ivester said that it’s up to the reader to decide whether or not they want to believe in any of the gossip on the site.
“I think the potential to damage someone’s reputation is very low,” Ivester said.
Lloyd Howe, associate vice president and dean of students at BU, said that there are other alternatives on campus where students can voice concerns or debate fairly without spreading negativity.
“Juicy Campus and similar sites have been created for shock value, but I believe that our students will see through that for what this site truly is — lacking in content and purely offensive,” Howe said.
In addition to allowing students to post anonymously, the site added another measure to protect privacy, according to Ivester. Search engines like Google will not be able to access the content of posted stories.
“If someone said something about you on Juicycampus.com, you wouldn’t be able to search your name on popular search engines like Google to uncover the content,” Ivester said.
However, searching a name on Juicycampus.com doesn’t hide content related to an individual person.
According to Information Technology Services Vice President Mark Reed, Binghamton students aren’t as anonymous as they think when using the Internet.
Reed said that if someone was wronged on a site like Juicy Campus and sued for libel, the Web site owners could give records of the incidents to courts.
“If the owners of a site offer anonymity but actually have some way of tracking people and are faced with fines or jail time, they’ll normally comply,” Reed said.
Reed also said that students’ Web activities can be traced when using the University network.
“Each student can be held responsible for any misuse that is traced to the ID assigned to them,” he added.