Uloop is the social marketplace for students: Buy, sell, trade, find a ride, a party, opinions on the psychology 101 teacher… Somehow very similar to Craigslist, Uloop is free and exclusively for students – .edu email address sine qua none – in a very ancient Facebook sort of way. Uloop thrives to become the kiosque of the university… Online.
Uloop started out in January 2007 at UC Santa Barbara. The company was founded by Corey Cleek, Mike Ho, Scott Lewis and Ryan MacCarthy. The Santa Barbara experience was such a success that the company expended to more than 50 university campuses, and still growing. Once a student signs up to Uloop, he gets access to all the classifieds posted for his university: Textbooks, roommates, carpools, parties, you name it, it’s there. The site is a 100% free for students, including posting classified ads. Just like Craigslist, the community manages the content on the site, and any inappropriate content can be flagged by the community.
“It’s a classified site for students at school who want to buy or sell […] things that are typical of a college environment,” MacCarthy said.
Advertisers pay to place classified ads. Uloop opened a self-service advertising platform where interested businesses can easily edit their ads and distribute them on Uloop. This makes it easy for the pizza place closest to campus to advertise about its Friday night special pricing, or its free delivery. Uloop creates job opportunities on campus. As Ryan MacCarthy mentions in the video, Uloop’s campus reps are what differentiate the company from the other classifieds site for students. Uloop’s reps are brand ambassadors: they are in charge of creating excitement around Uloop to push product adoption. Uloop lives through the dynamics of his reps’ creativity to find original means to reach out to their peers: Songs, pillow fights, class announcements, chalk graffiti, …
Since Uloop has deployed nationwide, they also offer guerilla marketing solutions for national brands. As mentioned in the video, Uloop worked with UPS, where campus reps would run around their campus handing out fliers and spreading the word that UPS was hiring. There aren’t so many companies who can offer brands such a powerful niche infiltration.
Uloop is the perfect example of a Web company that understands the need of offline marketing to catalyze users online. Campus reps do not only help Uloop grow, they are also part of Uloop’s advertising projects, and above all, they help their peers save hundreds of dollars on school-related expenses. On their resume, Uloop’s reps can show a significant marketing experience in a fast-growing company, before they even graduate.