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Type of site
|social network service|
|Created by||Clark Benson, Karen DeMars Pillsbury|
|Alexa rank||18,785,309 (April 2014[update])|
|Launched||Valentine's Day 1999|
|Current status||Defunct as of August 1, 2011|
The eCRUSH network comprises two major sites: eCRUSH.com and eSPIN.com. The network was acquired by Hearst Media on December 31, 2006. The original eCRUSH site was launched on Valentine's Day, 1999 in Chicago by Clark Benson and Karen DeMars Pillsbury. It pre-dates the social networking phenomena of Friendster.com, MySpace.com and Facebook.com.
eSPIN was a spin the bottle-like social networking service backed by a matchmaking engine. Users "spin the bottle" to find other users (although they can also search); the site also has quizzes. Registration is free, however, one must pay a monthly fee or unlock various tools via sponsors to do key processes like chatting or sending messages.
The New York Times cites that eSPIN has registered more than 3.8 million users as of January 2007. ComScore Media Metrix has measured their monthly unique visitors at 1,514,000 and monthly page views at 133MM (December 2008).
eSPIN prohibits minors from contacting adults and vice versa, and their administrators screen user-submitted content before it can go live. Additionally, minors are prohibited from publicly posting contact information like email addresses and screen names.
eCRUSH.com is a teen-oriented anonymous matching site designed to obviate fears of unrequited love. A user creates a list of people he or she is interested in, and has the option of sending anonymous emails to those individuals indicating that an unidentified person has a crush on them. The recipient can then logon to the site and create a list of people they are interested in. If the two people select each other, then the system notifies them of the match. This system is a type of viral marketing in which awareness of the site spreads among friends and acquaintances similarly to a virus as they list each other as crushes and send emails. Over 1,000,000 people have matched on eCRUSH.
Other aspects of eCRUSH
In accordance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, eCRUSH shut down the existing accounts of children who identified themselves as being under thirteen. According to a Red Herring article, "eCRUSHONLINE.com is seizing an elusive but highly desirable audience of young, mostly female viewers, ranging in age from 10 to 37." According to that article, the service has seen its biggest growth at high schools and colleges.
The "Don't Be An Idiot" Campaign
In January 2009, eSPIN launched the "Don't Be An Idiot" campaign in order to educate teens about online safety. The campaign consists of a safety hub page, a safety quiz, a YouTube video and a place to submit safety stories.
The company's emails promise, "At eCRUSH, we know how important your love life is to you, and we would never take advantage of your emotions just to spam your crush." However, an April 22, 1999 article in Ohio University's The Post argued, "It is rare to be matched up with your one and only by trickery or bizarre circumstance. When eCRUSH's initial e-mail is sent, the recipient might discard it like a chain letter or an invitation to a porn site".
The "Someone has an eCRUSH on you" emails do not list the name of anyone the friend knows; therefore, a recipient unfamiliar with eCRUSH could very well interpret them as spam. Moreover, as with many commercial emails, eCRUSH's messages contain images that, for privacy reasons, would be peremptorily blocked by most modern email clients – another red flag suggesting spam to many users. Lastly, the email subject lines – for example, "Someone you know likes you!" — resemble those employed in mass mailings from other dating sites.
Deactivation of Websites
On August 1, 2011, the entire eCRUSH/eSPIN network was deactivated by Hearst Digital Media, and all eCRUSH-related domains began redirecting to a Seventeen.com-hosted landing page. There are no plans to revive the eCRUSH brands.
- "Ecrush.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "Hearst Magazines Announces Acquisition of eCRUSH.com, INC.". Hearst Magazines Digital Media. Archived from the original on January 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
- "Hearst Corp. buys Chicago's eCrush". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
- Siklos, Richard (2007-01-21). "Big Media's Crush on Social Networking". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
- Stern, Daniel (2001-02-14). "Be Mine Online". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
- Yamada, Ken. "Shop Talk: The Web has an eCrush". Red Herring. Archived from the original on April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
- Elig, Jenny and Harvilla, Rob: "Even computers won't make match-making easy". The Post. 1999-04-22. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
- "A Message for eSPIN Users". Seventeen.com. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2017-04-25.