Posted by Jean-Ann Kubler
The co-founders of Skrounge.com, a Skidmore-exclusive coupon web site, debuted a new welcome page on April 14.
Skrounge.com, created by Dan DeMartini '11 and Jacques Ward '11, launched on March 21.
The web site offers discounts to local Saratoga Springs businesses, and features a discussion board where students can post housing opportunities and buy or sell textbooks and other items. "Toward the end of spring 2011, we started to think, ‘What do other schools do to encourage students to interact and spend money in their own town?' The idea developed from there," DeMartini said.
Curry Ford and Bob Ford, family friends of Ward, provided funds for the site's startup and helped the founders establish the site as a legally recognized business. Though funded by the Fords, DeMartini and Ward maintain control over the site's development.
To access the site, members of the community must provide a valid Skidmore e-mail address. Use of the site is free for students and vendors, but if the site proves to be successful vendors will eventually have to pay to advertise deals.
The founders said some students have been reluctant to use the site because of the welcome page.
"Currently, the sites welcome page asks you to register before you can see the deals we offer, and we think people visiting are turned off by that. They think its some sort of scam," DeMartini said.
The new welcome page allows visitors to browse the site first and only register if they want to print and use the coupons.
"We have over almost 60 vendors represented on the website," said Ethan Flum '13, the Skrounge.com business manager. Flum will take over local operations of the site when DeMartini and Ward graduate in May.
"It's not just discounts for restaurants and fast food," DeMartini said, "We have three mechanics offering huge discounts for the Skidmore community. You can find deals for clothes, housing, it's all there on the site."
The Skrounge.com team is also working on a smartphone application, which will use geo-location to connect users with local deals.
"If you're standing in the middle of Saratoga, and want deals for the nearest pizza place, the app will tell you the closest deals, and you can walk right in with the coupon on your phone," DeMartini said.
If the site is successful at Skidmore, the founders said they hope to expand to other colleges, and eventually turn a profit.