Didn’t get any flowers this past
Tuesday? Had to console yourself with fistfuls of Sweethearts candies from the Frary
swipe desk instead? Maybe you should have logged into the latest Internet venture of Jesse Pollak PO ’15, an online matchmaking application called LikeSecret.com that launched just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Pollak, who proved himself coding-king last semester with the creation of 5C Ride Share, an application to coordinate student transportation to the
airport, is now taking on the role of digital love doctor.
LikeSecret.com is a website that works concomitantly with Facebook,
although LikeSecret users are safeguarded by complete anonymity. After logging in using their Facebook account,
users select up to fifteen people they “like” from among their Facebook
friends; if interest is mutual, meaning the friend has also “liked” them, both
parties are informed of the “match.” Users are alerted by way of Facebook and
text message if someone has “liked” them on the site, although exactly who liked them remains unknown unless it is a “match.” By virtue of its association with Facebook,
LikeSecret is not only available at the Claremont Colleges, but nationwide.
LikeSecret aims to save single students from
the fears and frustrations inherent to a large college community that at times
seems to be buzzing with romantic activity. “Dating isn’t as easy as people
think it is,” Pollak said. “Dating websites have proven very
effective but college students aren’t going to go for that.”
the stigma against online dating, students are more likely to seek company at
campus events (In this light, Pub may be a cacophonous equivalent to eHarmony.com).
Pollak admits he is disappointed
with the romantic strategies of the big party scene.
“I hate the bullsh— around the social norm on hard-to-get girls,” he said.
The difference between
LikeSecret and a dating website is that LikeSecret aims to inspire romantic
interest within existing circles of friends, to “make the most of the
relationships that you already have,” according to Pollack. “If used correctly, not as
a joke, it does have the potential to improve your love life.”
“People are too scared to take the
risk and share what they’re thinking. This eliminates the risk,” Pollack said. “And it’s really easy; it takes five seconds.”
Pollak and co-creator Drew Blaisdell, a
sophomore at the University of Washington, are encouraging feedback about the site, which attracted 750 users in just two weeks and registered over 40 matches. Still, many Claremont users
“I think it’s a smart idea; he found
a niche that a lot of people will buy into,” Chloe Bobar PO ’15 said. “But
for me personally, I would never use it.”
For Ella Taranto PO ’15 LikeSecret is too close to home. “I could never use it… I know
“I think that on the 5Cs
there’s going to be a bubble effect. People think, ‘It’s that app that that kid I
almost know created,'” Pollak said.
LikeSecret may be
more of a novelty than a legitimate dating possibility at the 5Cs, but Pollak
is hopeful about the site’s future.
“When it breaks out of my networks, it will
have more potential to really succeed,” he said.
Currently, LikeSecret is Pollak’s primary Internet
focus, but he is also working with Kim Merril PO ’14 on an independent
study designing an online application to facilitate small lending that should launch by the end of the semester. In addition, he is assisting
with the organization of a Hackathon for this April, an overnight event for
students interested in web and software development. Pollak is also helping
found the networking organization Pomona Ventures. Pomona Ventures, which has
received huge support from faculty, will work with alumni to organize talks,
mentoring and funding for Pomona’s aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Should be awesome,” Pollak said.