斯科曼很快指出，他并没有抛弃2002年从卡耐基梅隆大学（Carnegie Mellon University）毕业的第二天就创建的College Prowler。Prowler的总部也设在匹兹堡，它的收入自2010年至今已经增长了两倍。2005年起，斯科曼就不再接受外部资本了。他说：“我们跟风投公司谈了谈我们的计划。有人认为你可以按下一个按钮，就得到10倍于以往的收入。我觉得对一些公司来说，这是可能的，但对另外一些公司则不现实。”
根据斯科曼的说法，2013年，每四个高中毕业生中就有一个在Prowler上创建了账户。他们很大程度上依靠广告收入，尤其是定向广告。他说，Prowler如今有21名员工（去年是17名），其中三分之二都是工程师。这个网站的用户参与度很高，这对广告商而言十分诱人，斯科曼希望能够在Niche复制这一点。他表示，Prowler每个月有120万独立访客，其中35%的访问来自注册用户。他们在College Prowler上平均停留12分钟，是未注册用户的四倍。他说：“我们需要的是更多的流量，而我们获取流量的途径则是收集评论，将业务涵盖至所有重大的人生决定。”除了这一点，还要加上找到一个避免让人联想到校园怪咖的名字（College Prowler直译意为“校园徘徊者”）。不过，斯科曼也许已经用Niche一箭双雕地找到了这两个问题的答案。（财富中文网）
College Prowler founder and CEO Luke Skurman says he thinks the Internet needs more user-generated reviews, which is why he's expanding his 11-year-old user-curated online college guidebook and rebranding it as Niche, a site that allows students and families to grade high schools and will eventually give them the ability to evaluate grade schools, cities, and neighborhoods.
"The 2.4 million people go to college [straight out of highschool]. That's a great market size," Skurman says, "but what can we do that's bigger than helping students choose a college? There are 120,000 schools in the country and 55 million students in them, and we want to help students, parents and families make great life decisions."
A minimal viable "niche" has been available for high schools since May. It already features profiles of more than 35,000 private and public high schools and has generated more than 500,000 user reviews. "It took TripAdvisor six years to get 1 million user-generated reviews," he said. "It'll take Niche less than one year."
On Niche's high school iteration, users can grade various subcategories like academics, extracurriculars, food and other sectors of student life and then give a school an overall grade. Niche also uses data from the Department of Education -- like reading and writing test scores -- to rank high schools in the same state against one another.
Eventually, Skurman says user reviews will be incorporated into Niche's grading algorithm like they've been under College Prowler, where grades are used to give colleges an overall rating. Skurman also expects that families will be able to review K-8 schools by the beginning of 2014, and cities and neighborhoods later that same year. "People want to know if a neighborhood is safe," Skurman says. "Is it a good place to raise a family? Is it walkable?"
Skurman is quick to point out that he's not abandoning College Prowler, which he started the day after graduating Carnegie Mellon University in 2002. Still headquartered in Pittsburgh, Prowler has tripled its revenue since 2010. Skurman hasn't accepted outside capital since 2005. "We've talked with VCs about our plan and there's a perception that you can press a button and '10x' your revenue," he says. "I think it's possible for some companies but unrealistic for others."
Instead, Prowler, which in 2013 one-quarter of graduating high school seniors created accounts on, according to Skurman, runs largely off of ad-based revenue, especially targeted advertising. It now has 21 employees (up from 17 last year), two-thirds of whom are engineers, Skurman says. The site also boasts engagement figures that stand out to advertisers, a boon Skurman hopes to duplicate with Niche. Prowler sees 1.2 million unique visitors a month, according to Skurman. Thirty-five percent of its visits come from logged in users, who are four times more engaged than non-registered users and spend 12 minutes on College Prowler. "What we need," he says, "is more traffic, and the way we get traffic is through reviews and covering big life decisions." That, and a name that doesn't call to mind a creepy guy roaming campus. With Niche, Skurman may have found both.