Not all young folks get their social media in app form, and Colin Stuckenschneider keeps gay chatting web-based with his site BoyGush
RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
Colin Stuckenschneider is the kind of guy we all get jealous of. Young and smart, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Stuckenschneider recalls shades of the billionaire entrepreneur that most people will never be. At 22, he’s already sold two online gaming websites, but his latest venture is something else altogether.
“I was very young when I did them,” Stuckenschneider says, “and BoyGush is much more personal because it is a gay website and thus more related to me. I feel like I have more passion to manage this one.”
On March 5, BoyGush.com went live offering a different take on the current crop of smartphone apps — or rather, a nostalgic one. Where only people with high-tech gadgets could access the likes of Grindr and Scruff, Stuckenschneider saw a niche for people who like to surf from a laptop. Since those apps didn’t have an online equivalent, he created his own.
Where Scruff is geared toward bears and admirers worldwide and Grindr is across the spectrum but local, BoyGush targets (duh) a younger crowd. But while phone apps are the apparent wave of the future, Stuckenschneider is hoping to recall the days of chatting a la AOL or Gay.com, but knowing whether that guy is either 236 feet away or three miles.
“I’m really trying to keep away from the social network label,” he says. “You can just log on to chat with boys. It’s already growing a lot bigger though and it seems I’ll have to build up the social networking aspect to keep people’s interest.”
Like the phone apps, the name BoyGush seems to say everything it needs to and he assures that it was by complete accident.
“I wanted one that would grab attention and so I searched for hours on different names,” he says. “I came across word ‘gush’ and it wasn’t taken so I went with it. Nothing obvious came to mind then, but it sounds like a porn site. I guess that’s outta my control.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Words of advice, Stuckenschneider: Sex sells.
Nothing is set in stone for Stuckenschneider right now anyway. He went live but he’s already been making adjustments to the site per the feedback from his friends and site members. What he saw as the winning feature — the chat — was off in the beginning. That drove people away, but after some major revamping, he’s fixed the issue and is in the process of adding new features.
“I’ve been correcting the site since it first opened. I have a long to-do list I’m looking at,” he says.
So far, in addition to taking suggestions from his 400-plus members, he’s been working on a picture rating system, notifications and comments, comprehensible user searches, an easier way to organize profiles and ultimately creating an app version.
This is old hat for the tech expert. At 12, Stuckenschneider found himself fascinated by video games. He wasn’t as interested in a high score so much as how the game was constructed. He read up on programming and began creating his own games. A virtual dog-sitting game was his first and at 15, he sold it for a grand, but not without making some impressive scratch thanks to a $20 upgrade people bought in to. He partnered with a friend for the second game based in a fantasy realm. Soon after, the partner bought him out of it for $2,000. Stuckenschneider was 16.
“I guess that’s a good amount of money for that age,” he laughs.
After graduating from high school, Stuckenschneider had just two goals: “I’ve always had a passion to have my own site and manage that,” he says. “My other goal is that I want to work for Google.”
One down, one to go.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.