— Cody Krecicki says he was thinking of a girl from class who balances multiple jobs to make ends meet when he sat down at his computer and began to piece together a website. How could she and others like her make a few extra dollars?
Krecicki, a 22-year-old Edison State College student, soon came up with an idea: a website where men could pay women $5 for girlfriend-like tasks.
"Girls give guys advice, break up with their girlfriend for them, send them a message on Facebook they can show off to their friends...," he wrote.
He sent those lines to a writer at online news blog buzzfeed.com, who posted a story about it. That day, Girlfriendhire.com
launched – and saw so much traffic, it crashed for several hours. More than a month later, the site has topped 100,000 page views. It has more than 1,600 users who have made 300 orders.
"I feel like Mary Shelley and I've created a Frankenstein," Krecicki said.
On the site, there are pages and pages of women offering online "flings" ranging from helping with homework to giving advice to being in a fake Facebook relationship.
All are $5, a rate Krecicki said he set to try to discourage users from getting into adult or escort services prohibited in the site's terms of services. He said he personally validates all posts and acts as a filter to ensure it isn't abused.
He's had some complaints, he said, and has made a few refunds. He tries to find people who abuse the site.
But Katie Browder, who offers "lifelong friendship" on the site, said that could be difficult to track.
All online services are $5, a rate founder Cody Krecicki said he set to try to discourage users from getting into adult or escort services prohibited in the site's terms of services. He said he personally validates all posts and acts as a filter to ensure it isn't abused.
"That can be hard to enforce because pictures and videos can be shared through a third-party service, like Skype or an instant messenger," Browder wrote in an email.
Krecicki said he's careful to look for those who abuse the site. Girlfriendhire.com is meant to be a safe place for women to offer fun services to make ends meet, he said.
Even if it's only a few dollars at a time.
"People are in a tough spot right now," he said. "A couple of dollars go a long way."
Robin Dunlap, a college student in Texas who has sold two "flings" on the site, echoed his comments.
"Everyone's got to meet rent, so $5 here and there is definitely a big help," she said.
On her page, Dunlap offers to do "something completely random." So far, she's sold two online flings: a Skype conversation and her help choosing music for a DJ set.
Her logic for using Girlfriendhire.com is simple: "I'd be sitting in front of my computer anyway – that's an extra $5 I'd be getting for what I'm doing anyway," she said.
Although Dunlap admitted being "creeped out" by her first buyer, she said she plans to continue using the site.
"No matter where you go, there's always going to be something that you're not going to like," she said. "So that's normal."
The site continues to pick up new users – a fact that doesn't surprise Dunlap.
"If you look at Match.com, how many people pay money to find somebody? I mean, this is kind of a smaller form of that," she said. "Maybe not something where you're finding a real relationship, but something where you're seeking that 15 minutes of attention."
Krecicki, who collects only 50 cents from each sale, said he's been shocked by the amount of traffic the site has seen.
Its popularity, he said, may be more simple: "Girls are mysterious," he said. "Guys don't know anything about girls."