College dating website sponsors student competition

The website “Date U,” initiated last semester by two current ASU students, is one of five companies sponsoring a citywide sales and marketing competition starting Monday to help brand and advertise the website.

Brent Blaylock and fellow computer information systems senior Jeff Webb created Date U, a college dating website, for a class project last semester and turned it into a limited liability company.

The College Sales Contest takes 15 college students and recent college graduates and has them work for five sponsoring companies focusing on public relations, marketing, advertising, branding and more.

Jenny Brundage, regional vice president of sales for Next Productions, a company that puts on sales and marketing contests across the country and is hosting the competition, said this helps the contestants, companies and communities involved.

She said contestants will get more experience through the competition, sponsor companies pay for 15 employees for less than the cost of hiring one and communities get economic stimulation through the advertising.

“We want it to be a win, win, win for everyone involved,” Brundage said.

The competition lasts seven weeks, and contestants start off working for two of the companies. The remainder of the companies are added in the next few weeks. By the last weeks the contestants have to balance working at all five companies.

Each contestant works for all five companies by the end, and the winners receive cash prizes at the end.

As one of the five companies, Date U will have the participants working for the website for over a month on branding and advertisement in hopes of drawing more members to the site.

“This opportunity will be great to help get the ball rolling,” said Blaylock.

The site was launched Aug. 19 and now has about 270 members, all of whom attend school in Arizona. There are more than 2,500 unique visitors to the site, and more than 500 messages, “winks” and date suggestions have been sent among users, Blaylock said.

“It’s just a great site to meet people on campus,” said Lauren Kanocz, kinesiology senior and Date U member.

Kanocz said she has met several people through the site, one of whom she dated, and a few others she has met in person.

While all current users still attend school in Arizona, the site is now available to students at more than 4,000 universities across the country. However, Blaylock said they have not begun advertising outside of the state yet. He said they hope the competition helps bring more national attention to the site.

“We’re really hoping we can establish a good base of members who live locally and then maybe go to another area,” Blaylock said.

Brundage contacted Blaylock about sponsoring this event, which is the first College Sales Contest to be held in Phoenix. She said she was interested in Date U because of its focus on university and college students and running a site specifically for them.

“Some start-ups just have that spark about them,” Brundage said. “It could really do well.”

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