Students’ latest ‘crush’: New matchmaking web site

GoodCrush has attracted 14,000 students since its launch in February.
GoodCrush has attracted 14,000 students since its launch in February.

There’s a Yale student looking for a girl who took a “glorious fall” in the rain and looked “cute” doing it. The incident is spelled out on a new social networking site that offers an anonymous forum for college students to find the people they have crushes on., a site that launched in February and is now available to students on more than 20 college and university campuses, features a “Missed Connections” page for visitors who don’t know their crush’s name, but hope they’ll peruse the GoodCrush message board.

The anonymous matchmaking site also lets students who sign up enter the eMail addresses of up to five students they have a crush on. Those students will get an eMail saying someone on GoodCrush wants to connect. If they register, create a GoodCrush account, and enter the eMail address of the person who invited them, then both parties are messaged and their names are revealed.

“We’re trying to bring people closer together in a way that isn’t currently done on college campuses,” said Josh Weinstein, who founded GoodCrush in 2007, when he was a sophomore at Princeton University. Nearly a third of the student body registered on the site within 24 hours of its launch.

“We want to combine the sort of online and offline social dynamics together,” he said.

GoodCrush has 14,000 members, and as of March 30, the web site had more than 6,800 missed connections. GoodCrush’s home page lists the “Top 10 Most Crushed” student members, determined by the number of students who have entered these students’ eMail addresses in their personal top-five list.

GoodCrush also manages an online chat site called RandomDorm, a service similar to internet sensation Chatroulette, which connects users to random, anonymous strangers for video chat sessions.

RandomDorm, however, only admits registrants with an “.edu” eMail address—the same requirement for GoodCrush members—and limits the community of potential chat partners.

Weinstein, 23, who operates the site from Manhattan, graduated from Princeton last summer after serving as student body president for one year—a leadership position that forced him to examine the controversial gossip web site JuicyCampus, where college students anonymously posted salacious and hurtful rumors and drew the ire of campus administrators and student governments.

Attorneys general from New Jersey and Connecticut questioned whether JuicyCampus was complying with state laws that prohibit “libelous, defamatory, and abusive postings,” and student government members at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.—where students lobbied to have the site banned from campus networks—said they were relieved to see JuicyCampus go under.

Officials at Tennessee State University cut off campus access to JuicyCampus before that site’s demise, owing to what university leaders characterized as expletive-filled screeds of sexism, racism, and homophobia.

“We definitely learned from the adverse effects of JuicyCampus, in terms of its impact on the real sense of community on a college campus,” said Weinstein, adding that some Princeton students asked him to ban the web site at Princeton. “We just waited for [JuicyCampus] to die, and not give it the sort of credence and legitimacy. … It was always going to be fringe and marginalized, and fortunately, the site died off and it was a flash in the pan.”