Lotus Lounge opened at 10 p.m. on Thursday night, but Torrey Ripinsky, David Spier and Josh Sasouness know better than to arrive on time for their own party. It’s 12:15 a.m. on a freezing Friday morning and the trio stands at the head of the line that has just begun to form.
The GW sophomores swiftly produce their IDs and a bouncer unhooks the gray velvet rope, waving them out of the cold and into the club. Techno music blares throughout the sleek interior, and only now are peoplestarting to fill the dance floor.
The guys are here to celebrate the launch of their Web site, gwscene.com, or G-Scene, which covers the nightlife of GW students. The site moved Friday from its blogspot.com space to its own domain and in true G-Scene fashion, went all out to promote the big switch.
G-scene was founded in mid-January when Ripinsky came up with the idea of a Web site dedicated to the nighttime escapades of GW club hoppers.
“I went to (Spier and Sasouness) with the idea and we all worked on it,” Ripinsky said. “When it really hit off, we decided to take it to the next level.” He considers the launch of gwscene.com a “big break.” The students have already shelled out $1,000 on the venture thus far, including the price of the Web site designer and the domain registration.
The site focuses on gossip and photos of clubbers, some of whom the guys know and some they don’t. The photos – usually candid shots, the subjects seemingly unaware of the flashing camera – are introduced with snide captions and innuendo.
Posts on the site are anonymous. Ripinsky, Spier and Sasouness are in charge of content, but they have about 10 other people who contribute.
Pictures are posted without consent. The guys say they black out the eyes of those they don’t know, but a picture of freshman Stephen Youdeem – who said he does not personally know the three – was posted uncensored.
“I thought it was funny,” said Youdeem, who had never heard of G-scene until his friend told him his picture was on the site. “I didn’t take it personally. A lot of my friends have been on it.”
At one point, they posted a doctor’s note that publicized their friend’s clearance of an sexually transmitted disease. The caption read “something like, ‘SDT is officially STD free,'” Spier said. “When we put it up, she called us that night laughing.”
They took the letter down when they realized the site was growing in popularity.
“The point (of G-scene) is not to embarrass people, but to capture life outside of campus,” Spier said.
Students can e-mail photos to G-scene, but the trio said they will not post pictures that they believe may put someone’s reputation on the line.
“People e-mail us photos that are crazy inappropriate,” Spier said. He once received a picture of a girl on her knees taking a hit from a beer bong and decided not to post it.
A few months after its inception, the site is now getting more than 1,000 hits per day. When there is a particularly crazy photograph, they have seen upwards of 3,000 hits in 18 hours.
Sophomore Laura Schottland, who is pictured on the site and also mentioned in a birthday shout-out, said it is a fun way to find out what’s going on at GW.
“It’s a big thing, depending on what social scene you’re in,” Schottland said.
And the site has elevated itself onto the procrastination platform of sites such as Facebook and Perez Hilton – a Hollywood gossip blog that seems to have blazed the path for G-scene.
“I go on it when I’m in the library to see what happened over the weekend,” freshman Racine Levy said.
Not everyone is a fan, though, and the site often receives negative feedback.
Freshman Lindsey Pace thinks the site is juvenile.
“To be honest, G-scene is lame,” Pace said on her way into Lotus. “It’s kind of high-school.”
The entrepreneurs behind G-scene say they are not fazed by the negativity.
“Whether you’re calling us out on the street or attacking us in clubs, at the end of the day it’s getting us hits and advertisements,” Ripinksy said. “And we’re enjoying it.”