|College Prowler, Inc.|
|Founded||August 9, 2002 in Pittsburgh|
|Luke Skurman, Founder and CEO|
Number of employees
Niche.com, Inc., formerly known as College Prowler, is an American company headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that runs a ranking and review site. 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, neighborhoods, and companies across the United States.
Niche was founded as College Prowler in August 2002 by Luke Skurman and Joey Rahimi. Then students at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, they spun the company out of a project in their entrepreneurship class.
In 2004, the small company obtained an investment of $500,000 from Glen Meakem, who became the Chairman. In 2005, College Prowler was recognized by Fast Company for being one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the nation. 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.
Niche, as College Prowler, provided rankings, report cards (with attributed grades) and reviews of colleges in the US. During their rebranding process, in addition to colleges, Niche added coverage of K-12 schools as well as neighborhoods under their "places to live" category.
In a 2008 scandal known as "Facebookgate", hundreds of spurious "Class of 2013" groups were created on Facebook for the purpose of promoting College Prowler. 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." College Prowler later removed all administrative access from the 125 groups, admitting "It was clearly over the line".
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- Windish, Joe (21 December 2008). "Facebookgate: Companies "Colonize" Facebook for Marketing Exploits". The Moderate Voice. Joe Gandelman. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
- "Company Created Official-Looking 'Class of 2013' Facebook Groups for Hundreds of Colleges". chronicle.com. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.