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Flirting Social Network Likealittle Hits 20M Pageviews In 6 Weeks (techcrunch.com)
120 points by webwright on Dec 20, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 62 comments

I am suprised by detractors - come on people: social dynamics, plus anonymity, plus flirting, plus cyber stalking?

This has the perfect viral pull of "I wonder if anybody likes me" - kind of like that brilliant old Classmates.com line "Is an old classmate searching for you?" or HotOrNot.com

Facebook-attaché Formspring.me has nailed the anon part alone and been rewarded with insane, fairly sustainable traffic:


I'm not sure this is a huge, revolutionary business but I'll bet that these guys do pretty darn well and as a feeder to dating sites they'll crush it (which incidentally powered a huge part of FB's early revenue and is still an important cornerstone).

I totally agree. Facebook has become a bad place to flirt. Who wants to share pictures of their grandma with their latest crush? This has the potential of becoming the standard for dating.

I agree its a great idea. Feels like real time missed connections for college kids. Craiglist should of seen this coming.

More than anything, I'm just impressed that this made it to the 50+ campuses without the tech world having any clue.

edit: ...and I'm in college. I wonder if this says anything about me :P

Sometimes I still wish I was in college to figure out how this is on 50+ campuses, and today is the first day I'm hearing about the company. I'm married, and my college days are behind me, but I would have been all over this service in my younger days. I wonder if it'll go the Facebook route and eventually serve a more global market? Love the idea.

I knew I'd seen it before here, it was submitted a couple weeks ago. Only 2 points, though, so I must have seen it on the New page. Thought it was pretty cool, bound to have some success, but no idea it was doing that well. And really didn't know why it had been submitted...

Now I know!


A friend directed me to this site the other day (I'm a college student), for some reason I got the impression it was an older site, not something that was exploding in popularity.

Similar thing happened with Facebook before it started accepting non-university-students.

My campus is apparently one of the top userbases (Queen's U). And I found out about the service this morning reading that dead thread about the job posting. So you are not the only one :)

I believe they may have been reaching out to college users to kind of create their own branch, or somehow handing out "credit" to the first people to "check in". If you look on each campus' about page, it will show a few names for the "founding members"

anyone know how they marketed this to 50 colleges?

The 20M pageviews are likely from people trying to figure out how the hell to use the damn site. UI is TERRIBLE. 90% of the "updates" look like spam. Spelling mistakes are rampant throughout the entire front-end. Looks like the whole thing was thrown together in a weekend. PLEASE let this thing die a quick and painless death.

* quick edit - Also, from the looks of it, they are hiring for EVERY possible type of position (ui, design, backend, front-end, marketers etc.)

In all honesty the entire thing just feels like a desperate attempt to duplicate the success of facebook with a bunch of fake "statistics" and randomly generated content.

Looks like the whole thing was thrown together in a weekend.

FDR once said that nothing "just happens". Twitter looks like it was thrown together over a weekend, bit.ly looks like it was thrown together over a weekend, Hackers News looks like it was thrown together over a weekend. Everything most people ever poured thousands of hours of thought and sweat and dedication into probably looks like it was thrown together over a weekend. 20M Pageviews In 6 Weeks do not "just happen". I guarantee you that there is a team of very talented people working around the clock to make this product what it is. You can question the quality of their work, but there are tens of thousands of people who clearly disagree with you, and they didn't come about over the weekend.

PLEASE let this thing die a quick and painless death.

I never understood why someone would say that. There are people who spent a long time thinking about the product, building it, tweaking it, pouring their work into it, and inevitably someone comes along and says "let this thing die a quick death". Does it detract from your life? Does it detract from anyone's life? It makes people happy, otherwise they wouldn't be using it. Why would you wish failure upon someone else's work?

> FDR once said that nothing "just happens". Twitter looks like it was thrown together over a weekend,

I agree with 'nothing just happens', but Twitter, right now, doesn't look like a weekend project. Maybe Twttr did when it first started though.

Where is your startup thenayr?

Don't bring negativity into HN like this. These guys have already posted that they are looking for a designer, and the fact that the site is only 6 weeks old and probably dealing with massive scaling issues makes it all the more OK that they need some time to get the UI up to snuff.

Good on ya guys.

Although I agree about the bad UI part, I still think they're in the process of pivoting and finding early traction, so it's unfair to conclude that they would be a failure (or wish them a "painless death"). Instead let's wait for a couple of months to see what they evolve into, who knows it could turn to something interesting that we'll use everyday

Please stop being so disgustingly cynical.

I just threw up a fake post as a blonde girl - 3 replies from guys: "Boysenberry says let me take you out...baby girl you're a cutie let me take you out, to a dinner and a movie?"

I think they may run into the Chatroulette problem...

But very impressive growth indeed!


First, you're the one posting as a female. What do you expect? You post an ad asking for somebody to take you out and then get responses trying to do so. Oh my gosh!

I don't like to be the cynical one (hmm), but I'm not at all convinced. An awful lot of the "dialog" looks like it is generated content. Maybe not all of it, but there is a lot that sets off alarms for me.

<Insert obligatory thread about Turing tests, Twitter, 4chan etc here I guess />

If I'm wrong, then please pretend you never read this, and DON'T THINK AUTO GENERATING CONTENT IS A GOOD IDEA!

I go to Stanford. A lot of people were talking about likealittle within a couple weeks of its launch. Not startup nerds, people who found the product fun. Based on the number of mentions of it I hear about (including some people in my dorm posting >5 joking flirts in the course of 10 minutes while hanging out), I find the high number of posts and comments totally believable.

College students love wasting time and love interacting.

Also, I'm looking at the posts from my dorm, and I know for a fact that at least most of it is real.

It doesn't surprise me that it works & gets interest, but I do wonder how they got over the cold start problem.

I guess I'm just overly suspicious.

I agree, much of the activity does look "faked." It raises red flags when usernames like Boysenberry, Orange, Pineapple, Lemon, Tomato, Grape, Cranberry, Pepper are responding to all the posts.

But IIRC the creators of reddit did the same thing when first launching. They faked activity by posting stories under different accounts. If LAL is faking activity, they could reach a tipping point and get the real users they need.

Whether or not faking activity is ethical is a different question.

Those aren't the usernames, those are the anonymous 'masks' that LAL puts on commenter activity to assign unique identity among comments.

I'm wondering how that's going to scale. How many fruits are there?

(Wait, did I just quote a Skittles ad?)

Ah. I think I got confused. The UI does need some rework as others have mentioned.

Something about it looked fake to me as well, but obviously it's difficult to tell.

Well I just looked at my campus and there's a recent post labelled "two hours ago" about a girl in a cafe just off campus.

The problem? It's 5am on a Monday, and (while I haven't checked) I don't think that cafe is open at three.

But hey, maybe it's a screwy datestamp.

to be honest, it doesn't seem like it would have that much staying power. The dynamics are just not there.

Right now there is a ton of traffic because it's the hot new thing on campus, but essentially it's the missed encounters section of craigslist.

Except that (a) it's more real-time than CL and (b) CL has done little to innovate in what is now a mobile/location-based world.

Ignoring that, it's still not a bad thing to be compared to CL.

You'll likely see companies successfully spin off of "parts" of Craigslist, which are being neglected. The major issue with Craigslist is that it's not organized well. It's extremely chaotic, requiring users to spend lots of time searching the site, learning where stuff is, and memorizing its ebbs and flows. It's this giant database of useful information which is screaming for somebody to make it simpler to use. CL prevents this with their lack of 3rd party developer support, so different databases will pop up and slowly chip away at them until they either open their API's, or die off.

Ditto that, I actually emailed them to get their 'API key' to write an iPhone app for the site. They told me they only got half way through writing the API and then decided to give up and keep people interacting to their site through their mobile browser. :S

What dynamics does it need to have staying power?

the site relies on pretty much everyone being part of the site for it to be effective and checking it 24/7 to see if someone noticed them. Which is just never going to happen.

Yes, it's going to be a pageview generator, since you'll have people early on checking 100x a day to see if someone mentioned them, but give it a little time, and that'll stop since chances are noone will notice the post.

And this is why they mention the 20 million page views number instead of their uniques number.

That's true but they are only 6 weeks in. If they can do this, they can probably add new interesting features which get them loyal users over time. I like to be hopeful rather than cynical by default.

Edit: I just realised you still didn't answer my question. I ask it sincerely: What dynamics do you think it needs to have staying power?

Blue, blue, blue. . . twitter is blue, facebook is blue, most of microsoft/bing is blue, even gmail (default) is blue. A more creative / edgy design would help a lot.

Design critique aside, the idea is a very good one.

Apple love blue too: Finder, Mail, Safari, iTunes, Xcode, Application Loader, iDVD, Quicktime Player, the Folder. Even Word and Photoshop.

so maybe...blue works..?

Having recently been in college, I know first hand how addicted people get to facebook, always having it open in a tab. This looks similar because now the information isn't stagnant and always available, it's constantly changing. If you don't check it, you might miss out on that cute guy/girl who noticed you, and everyone is always looking for that..right?

I think it's a great idea - but just as quick as it's blowing up, it can also deflate imo. As someone else mentioned, it shouldn't get that chatroullette syndrome, where every post from a girl is met with "down to fuck??!!" and "here's a pic of my penis ___". If it gets labeled as "stalker, creepy, gross, lame" by girls and they leave, guys will obviously follow suit...something to watch for

Recent comment by PG on the outing of startups who anonymously post jobs: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2022335. In my eyes such a thing falls in the "not-unethical-but-something-you-shouldn't-do" category. There's nothing strictly wrong with it since you are just using publicly available information, but it is a courtesy not to. Sure perhaps someone else will out a startup, but you don't have to be that guy.

Unless this was just a plot from them to get more publicity.

If so than they can anonymously leak their identity themselves. It's still not necessary to have someone else do it for them.

I made the connection just based on the title, and I'm sure many other people did too.

Love how something gets tech crunch overage when they are trying to keep a low profile when all these other startups who bug them by email constantly struggle to get a mention.

Their URLs are also great:


An omg controller?

Probably just an OMG route.

I can see a facebook 'team acquisition' in the near future.

Penn's "34th St" magazine has been doing this every semester for a while now: http://www.34st.com/content/2010/dec/shoutouts-fall-2010

The formula works.

At least we know who that anonymous job advert was for last week.

The idea definitely has potential. The current market they are targeting is the best setting for this kind of application. A bunch of horny college students in a confined location, i.e. a campus. If the founders manage things right I think they could turn this into a great platform for developers and advertisers and this comes at just the right time because everyone and their gandma at this point has a location aware mobile device.

I imagine to myself LikeALittle.com pitch deck slide:

Total Available Market: "A bunch of horny college students in a confined location, i.e. a campus"

How has nobody compared this to the FitFinder yet? It was clearly better executed than this is and had gained traction in the UK.

The only reason it was shutdown was because the founder was told he would be fined heavily and wouldn't receive a degree if he didn't.

Let's see how long before this post gets canned. Or is the cat out of the bag already?

Given that the link is to techcrunch...

Awww, I had the same idea last year, while taking the daily train, but I never really believed in it. Actually I was also hoping to have iphones regularly advertise the owner's page on which to anonymously comment.

Apparently you get a refund if you don't find your 'future mate' within 28 hours.


Amazing, this thing is exploding on campuses and I still can't figure out how the hell this site even works.

It's a free service from what I can tell....

I'm sure someone will email, complain and demand some non-existing money back! :-)

Also the email they list in that is BillyMaysDating@gmail.com, clearly all humor.

Looks like it's already being abused http://likealittle.com/stanford/

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