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Niche (company)

Niche.com, Inc.
Formerly called
College Prowler, Inc.
Private
Founded August 9, 2002 in Pittsburgh
Headquarters Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Key people
Luke Skurman, Founder and CEO
Number of employees
25
Website niche.com

Niche.com, Inc., formerly known as College Prowler,[1][2] is an American company headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that runs a ranking and review site.[2] The company was founded by Luke Skurman in 2002 as a publisher of print guidebooks on US colleges, but now runs a website with information on K-12 schools, colleges, cities, and neighborhoods.[1][3]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Product 2
  • Criticism 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

Niche was founded as College Prowler in August 2002 by Luke Skurman.[3] Then a student at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, Skurman spun the company out of a project in his entrepreneurship class.[3] In 2005, College Prowler was recognized by Fast Company (magazine) for being one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the nation.[4] Originally, the company produced print guidebooks, but by 2007, their content was made available online for a subscription fee, and then by 2009, the subscription was removed making all web content free.[3][5]

Product

Niche, as College Prowler, provided rankings and reviews of colleges in the US.[6] During their rebranding process, Niche added coverage of K-12 schools, cities, and neighborhoods.[1][7]

Criticism

In a 2008 scandal known as "Facebookgate",[8][9] hundreds of spurious "Class of 2013" groups were created on Facebook for the purpose of promoting College Prowler.[10][11] Such groups would normally be created by actual students or colleges themselves. According to the CEO, "The original purpose was to use these groups as a way to inform students that they can access a free guide about their new college on our site." He also added, "No employee or anyone else associated with College Prowler has used these groups to send out messages or wall posts."[12] College Prowler later removed all administrative access from the 125 groups, admitting "It was clearly over the line".

References

  1. ^ a b c Epstein, Eli (October 10, 2013), A website for rating 'big life decisions',  
  2. ^ a b Spencer, Malia (October 11, 2013), College Prowler becomes Niche and wants to help you make big decisions,  
  3. ^ a b c d Fenn, Donna (October 1, 2009), Case Study: Finding the Right Price for a Hot Product,  
  4. ^ 2005 Fast 50 Winner,  
  5. ^ Spencer, Malia (August 12, 2011), College Prowler soars after making switch to business model,  
  6. ^ Todd, Deborah (October 4, 2013), Review, rankings site College Prowler becomes Niche,  
  7. ^ Dill, Kathryn (April 14, 2014), Best cities and neighborhoods for millenials,  
  8. ^ Facebookgate, the 2010 editionThe Washington Post
  9. ^ http://higheredlive.com/episode-14-facebookgate-three-years-of-facebook-forgery/ Facebookgate: Three Years of Facebook Forgery
  10. ^ http://targetx.com/xperttip-no-89-facebookgate-summary-of-a-scandal/ Facebookgate: Summary of a Scandal
  11. ^ http://andrewcareaga.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/facebookgate/ Facebookgate - Higher Ed Marketing
  12. ^ Company Created Official-Looking 'Class of 2013' Facebook Groups for Hundreds of Colleges - Chronicle of Higher Education

External links

  • Official website
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