What makes someone "the most socially influential college student?" Off The Quad, a Boulder-based digital provider of daily tips about hot goings-on, has come up with a (nerdy) algorithm to figure it out that takes into account how often said college student posts stuff on Facebook and how many different people comment on it.
The algorithm is called Trendsttr (misspelling intentional) and it debuts today. According to Off The Quad CEO David Rich, it "shows when a college student gets engaged by a brand, how likely they are to go to Facebook and have a conversation about that brand and how likely it is that that conversation is going to go viral." In other words, Trendsttr mines Facebook to find real-life trendsetters and assigns them a score from 0 to 100.
That's important information for marketers who want to get their product in the hands of people who know people. Once Trendsttr figures out who the 100s are, Rich explains, those people will be offered perks and prizes -- stuff like an Apple TV -- with the hopes that they'll then sing the product's praises on Facebook. "OMG! Apple TV!"
But Off The Quad isn't all about advertising, insists Rich, who grew up in Denver and graduated from the University of Colorado in 2003 with a degree in political science. The company's main focus is a daily e-mail blast sent to members that contains a 150-word blurb about "something they need to know about to get the most out of their college experience -- from a fun standpoint," Rich says. Something like Glowfest, a mini-music festival at CU. Or Wiz Khalifa playing a show at Penn State.
Though Off The Quad has been around since 2010, the company is re-launching today. In addition to unveiling Trendsttr, Off The Quad is moving from its own website to simply having a Facebook page, in part so students only have to remember one login.
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The service is also becoming exclusive: In order to get in, students must be approved by a friend who already belongs. "We're letting the members shape who the community is," Rich says. The Off The Quad overlords can also approve new members, and that's where Trendsttr comes in handy. The higher your score, the better your chances.
Off The Quad is currently serving CU, Penn State, the University of Florida, Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina.
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