ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Where are all the sexy singles? Online!
By Brian Wong
If you’re one of Western’s frosh who can’t get into the bars
or clubs to meet other singles, you can thank Ivey students
Ash Singh, Parag Shah and Dan Fanaberia for making hooking up
with new people a bit easier. The team are creators of the new
Web site University Singles (www.universitysingles.ca).
“We saw that there was a market need for this,” Shah explains.
“University students wanted to meet each other and we knew that
the Internet was growing, so we took those two things, put them
together and made a Web site.”
It was also the right time to do it. With the growing market
for online singles networks and the expiration of the Universitysingles.ca
domain name the trio grabbed the site and enlisted the help
of programmers around the world to build it.
Since going live, 3,000 members have registered - about a third
of them Western students - and the numbers are growing, as 50
to 100 new users are being added each day. The creators have
also taken on the responsibility of screening each new registrant’s
profile and blocking any objectionable language. “We wanted
to keep it clean because we have kids logging on that are 16,
17,” Singh says.
The many services Universitysingles.ca offers include a message
board, chat rooms - with many Western rooms grouped by residences
and faculty - an instant messenger and a hot-or-not feature
similar to Facethejury.com in which users can submit pictures
of themselves to be rated by others (according to hotness of
But the main part of the site is the personals in which users
post their own profiles and if they wish, pictures of themselves.
Shah stresses this feature isn’t simply for people looking for
love: “The service is called ‘Friend Finder’ because some people
just go on the net to genuinely meet friends.” The aim to create
a friendly university community is reflected in the bubbly cartoonish
design of the site and places an emphasis more on networking
than just pure dating.
So far, the response to the site has been gratifying. “We get
e-mails saying things like, ‘Thanks guys, I met someone [on
the site] and we went out and had a really good time,’” Singh
says. “That positive feedback gives us motivation because we’re
not making any money - this is just an initiative that we took.”
Fanaberia, who oversees most of the marketing of the site,
believes the Universitysingles.ca project is much-needed. “The
problem of meeting somebody online is that, how do you know
that’s their picture and how do you [know] that’s their age,
etc. But because [our site] is a university community and we’re
also hosting events and parties, it becomes a perfect venue
to go somewhere comfortable and safe to meet somebody.”