New Website Is a “Rate My Professors” for Off-Campus Landlords
You wouldn’t expect a college kid to be quoting from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider), but Temple University senior Ofo Ezeugwu knows the language of this law as well or better than the lyrics to his favorite songs.
Ezeugwu is the founder and publisher of whoseyourlandlord.com, an online forum for students to review their landlords. That misspelling is deliberate: It’s intended to put the power of the tenant-landlord relationship back into the hands of the student. Or something like that. The site offers a sort of explanation.
The idea for the site came to Ezeugwu in January of 2012 when he was running for vice president of Temple’s student government (he won). Part of his campaign involved providing assistance to students seeking off-campus housing. After looking for websites with information like that of whoseyourlandlord.com, he realized there was a need.
As is the case with most college kids, Ezeugwu “shopped” for professors using www.ratemyprofessors.com, a site that gets as many as 450,000 page views per day.To some extent he used that as a template for whoseyourlandlord.com. Fellow Temple student Nik Korablin built the site using the “cool kids” website development platform, Ruby on Rails.
Ezeugwu will graduate next month with a degree in entrepreneurship. He unapologetically says that whoseyourlandlord.com “is not a dot org, it’s a dot com”–meaning he wants to make a profit. The website is owned by a consulting/business services company he started called Untapped Inc. When he’s not working on being an Internet publishing mogul, Ezeugwu does “a little modeling” through the Wilhelmina agency.
As for landlords considering mistreating student tenants, WhoseYourLandlord may give them pause. Here’s one disgruntled student’s complaint:
I would definitely not suggest this landlord. She is infamous for not returning security deposits, is very nosy, and shares all of her tenants’ personal business with other people. My neighbors’ house was broken into and she did nothing to help fix the issue. There have been several issues and repairs that have been needed such as leaky roofs, a flooding basement, broken appliances and many other issues. She is by far one of the cheapest people I have ever met and goes out of her way to make repairs to the house in the least expensive way possible, which usually means that things are continuously broken. She is nice at first and once you give her your money she turns into a completely different person. Stay far away from this landlord.
Sounds like that landlord will have to be more careful from now on.