Sep 122007
 
Authors: Erik Myers

After battling campus-wide criticism and some technical bugs, the highly-anticipated CollegeRoyalty networking site has finally kicked off.

CollegeRoyalty.com, a new social networking site developed by two CSU students, is now open for college students to log on and vote both a male and female “king” and “queen” of their school.

CollegeRoyalty creators Rob Thomas and Ryan Pinjuv say they are pleased with the result of their efforts since the site launched August 31.

“Everything works really close to what we wanted, we’re really excited about it.” Thomas said of the site.

The site is designed as a social networking site akin to MySpace and Facebook, but without the clutter and tired format of such sites, Thomas said.

In addition, the site will feature ratings on bars and restaurants, where to go for cheap drink specials, and information regarding parties and other events.

Much like a high school prom or homecoming, the site also allows students to vote for campus royalty – a feature CollegeRoyalty and its founders have defended since its announcement. Those chosen as royalty would later be eligible to be featured in an annual calendar.

Getting the Web site up and running hasn’t exactly been easy for the pair.

In early May, the Collegian ran a feature detailing the Web site and the promotion efforts of Thomas and Pinjuv. Following publication, criticism erupted.

The online version of the feature, at Collegian.com, quickly became one of the most commented stories on the site.

Many of the 81 comments attacked Thomas and Pinjuv personally.

“This idea is disturbing,” one reader wrote. “I really don’t like the idea of being associated with going to the school that created such a horrific, stereotypical, shallow, social networking program such as this.”

Thomas said he hadn’t been surprised nor upset at such reactions.

“If I would’ve read a story that was written like that, I would’ve reacted the same way,” Thomas said. “They were only criticizing something that they didn’t see with their own eyes.”

Thomas said the story was misleading. And the page 1 photo, which featured the creators with crowns, shiny goblets and “CollegeRoyalty” models surrounding them (all of which supplied by the Thomas and Pinjuv), sent the wrong message, he added.

“The story basically made Ryan and me out to be the ones who are sitting out on this throne, judging everyone,” Thomas said.

And as for the queen/king, votes can be based on anything from appearance to hobbies, Thomas said.

“It’s not about superficiality,” he said. “People can be voted in for any criteria they wish, whether it’s for looks or for talent or for whatever, it doesn’t matter.”

The site has been running smoothly, outside of some minor technical problems, Pinjuv said.

“We’re fine-tuning it right now, trying to get it a little more streamlined so it’s easier to use,” Pinjuv said. “It’s kind of a work in progress, like anything else when you create a product.”

Senior Reporter Erik Myers can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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