Everyone wants to be funny; many people think they're witty and clever. How about testing those theories and letting others decide?
LoadNVote.com is a website that invites people of all ages and talents to post videos and compete for prizes, and it was co-founded by a student who just graduated from UB. Matthew Waxman left school with a BS in accounting in May of 2011, but he had no idea the path his career was about to take.
Waxman was planning on working at a stock broking firm in the fall and going to graduate school for accounting in the spring. In fact, he was pretty set on that plan, but there's a reason he now advises students to "keep an open mind."
Maxx Yellin, a friend of Waxman's from high school, approached his former classmate with the idea of LoadNVote. Waxman didn't think too much of it. It just seemed like a far-fetched dream. That is, until a bunch of investors pounced on the idea. Now LoadNVote is a reality, and by the end of August, it was Waxman's dream job.
"It's definitely not the field I pictured myself in, but it's amazing," Waxman said. "I love doing it every day. It's the first and last thing I think about."
As for the site itself?
"This site is used as an outlet to get exposure," Waxman said. "People can expose their talent and gain recognition. It's like YouTube where you can expose yourself, but instead of people just watching, you actually win something."
Besides uploading their own content, users have the opportunity to vote for winners in other categories like: Best Group Picture, Just For Fun, Musical Talent, Peak of the Party, Unique Talent, Worst Pick-Up Line, and Write the Caption. The submission with the highest amount of votes is the winner.
One of the contests that is still accepting applicants asks for users to submit their funniest caption about a picture from Imgur.com of two fuzzy animals – one in a paper bag and the other sitting next to it. The winner will win a five-night, all-inclusive (including airfare, hotel stay, meals, drinks, and club passes) spring break trip to Electro Beach, Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico during any week the winner wishes, sponsored by College Travel Experts.
Other prizes include a $100 Best Buy gift card for showing off the best "Original and Unique Talent" and a $100 Guitar Center gift card for the best uploaded original musical talent.
The method is simple: companies invest in sponsored contests on LoadNVote, and they get free advertising and promotion on the site.
Freshman legal studies major Sara Fonda has participated in a few contests on the site.
"I would tell students who don't know about the site to give it a try," Fonda said. "For simply uploading a picture or video interesting to them, they can win some really great prizes. It's so simple – not only loading but voting, too, and looking at all of the cool contests becomes quite addicting after a while."
Waxman and Yellin founded the website with a third former classmate, Jonathan Doman. The three have been friends since high school, and decided to go into business together by turning their idea of a video contest website into a reality.
With the help of Canrock Ventures, a venture capitalist firm in Jericho, NY, they received the funding necessary to launch their website on Feb. 2. There are already 600 accounts on the site and over 25,000 viewers daily. With 10,278 fans on Facebook and 10,495 followers on Twitter, LoadNVote is continuing to grow and attract new users.
The site also has several interns from UB.
"Since it's still new, we are trying to keep improving the site and giving people the best experience," said Aaron Marsh, a former UB student who works for LoadNVote.
The webpage provides every user with their own profile page that acts as a résumé for users to showcase their talents. Participants are able to view all the prizes they have won alongside all their uploaded videos.
According to Waxman, the main users of LoadNVote are college students. However, the contests are open to people of all ages.
LoadNVote is a concoction of YouTube, with a pinch of Facebook and a hint of American Idol. Stirred in together, the site just gives students the opportunity to win. Talent or no talent, so long as users have creativity and some free time, prizes and recognition are virtually guaranteed.