College Royalty

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Jun 122007
 
Authors: Brian Park

CSU students will have to wait to be crowned until the fall semester. Despite a lavish, red carpet kick-off party at Osiris Night Club last month, the much-talked-about debut of College Royalty, a Web site targeted at college-aged students, has been postponed.

College Royalty, a new social-networking site created by two CSU students, will not be officially launched until around the end of August, when classes begin.

“We want a quality product that’s going to entertain everyone. Until it’s really good, we’re not going to put it out there,” said Rob Thomas, a senior speech communication major, and the founder and co-owner of the company.

The site, www.collegeroyalty.com, is being fine-tuned and purged of bugs and other problems. Thomas, and co-owner Ryan Pinjuv, a senior construction management major, do not want to unveil the site until it’s working efficiently and ready to amuse, they said.

“The most important thing I would say is its not serious or an exclusive network like the last story said,” Thomas said, referring to a Collegian article that printed on May 7. “This is just an additional thing for entertainment.”

The article, the two said, cause quite the commotion. The news of a site that allows its users to vote for the most popular guy or gal on campus wasn’t received as well as the two entrepreneurs had hoped.

The article also ran on Collegian.com, where a record-breaking 81 posts were made in response to the article — most bashing Thomas, Pinjuv and the College Royalty models.

Thomas also said it was hard to go to school after the article was published and that he received a large amount of hateful emails from readers who were not so keen on their business venture.

“So many people had the wrong idea of what the Web site is about, and so many people had the wrong idea of what I am about,” Thomas said. “It’s not like we’re forcing anyone to do anything. If you don’t like it, then you don’t have to join it.”

Thomas, formerly known on social networking site Facebook.com as Rob “Party Boy” Thomas, has since removed the moniker from his Facebook account because he does not want to express the wrong idea.

While some have criticized the College Royalty founders, blueprints of their site offer a glimpse into what could be a Web hit for college students.

On College Royalty students can create profiles, add friends (VIP’s), network with other students and have the ability to vote every week for the most famous man and woman on campus, who then are crowned royalty.

And yes, looks are part of the criteria.

Other features include an organizational page that will give students the ability to type in dates and times of exams, parties and job interviews, and then a text message will be sent out to their cell phone to remind them of their plans. Videos can also be uploaded and viewed, via You Tube.

Presently Thomas is toying with the idea of changing the name of the “Drink Cheap” section to “Cheap Dates” or something in the same vein.

“We’re not encouraging people to go out and get drunk; we’re encouraging people to save money. That’s what it’s really all about,” Thomas said.

The CSU student is also the Northern Colorado director for Image Magazine, a Denver-based lifestyle magazine, which will make its debut in the area around the same time College Royalty is launched. The two entities are going to work together, with companies who advertise with Image to also use College Royalty.

“They (Thomas and Pinjuv) have fires under their butts, and they really want to make things happen,” said Greg Bloom, founder and CEO of Image Magazine. “I really want the community to enjoy our presence.”

On May 10, College Royalty hosted its launch party at Osiris Night Club in Fort Collins.

While the Web site did not launch on time, the party helped spread the word about the site and raised money for the foundation Shoot for David’s Cure. The money is intended for David Crider, an 8th grader in Windsor who is suffering from synovial cell sarcoma, a type of cancer threatening to take away his left arm. The money is going toward Crider’s medical expenses.

“The party was awesome,” Thomas said. “It was fun. All the Royalty girls were modeling and we pulled people out of the crowd and had them model.”

The crowd total was 258, and $250 was raised for the foundation. Andy Neely, owner of the club, said the money was sent to Shoot for David’s Cure on Monday.

“It wasn’t exclusive by any means. It was just a fun party,” Thomas said.

Osiris is interested in hosting more College Royalty events, Neely said.

“The night was a success and having models from College Royalty added some pizzazz for a good time,” Neely said. “It was a good event for everyone who was there, and I look forward to doing events like that in the future.”

Thomas hopes to hold events at Washington’s Sports Bar and Grill, and Suite 152 as well — both located in Fort Collins. As for all the publicity that the CSU student has dealt with over the last month, it does not faze him.

“I have other things to do with my life than deal with other people’s negativity,” Thomas said. “Either way even if College Royalty isn’t a success, it was a great learning experience for all of us.”

Staff writer Brian Park can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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