It’s not unheard of for Michigan football-goers to have experienced questionable ticket exchanges and, among the worst of cases, ticket scams. To address this phenomenon, four U-M undergraduate students recently launched a platform called DealDog, designed for U-M community members to trade football tickets without fear of being scammed.
Many students eager to attend sporting events search for tickets on various platforms, such as GroupMe, Craigslist and the Facebook group “Buying and Selling Tickets UMich.” These methods can potentially leave people vulnerable to ticket scams, where students send money to a seller but never receive their ticket.
DealDog was first launched at the beginning of September by LSA seniors Elizabeth Loeher and Noam Jacobovitz, Business senior Dolan Dworak and recent U-M alum Josh Siegel. Their goal was simple: create a platform where tickets could be exchanged simply and securely.
“We realized that there is no centralized organized place for students to buy and sell items,” Loeher said. “There’s so many items that students need specifically that the rest of the general population doesn’t and there’s no app or anything that’s even remotely organized for that.”
Jacobovitz said a goal for their platform was to cater the app towards college students, something current buying and selling platforms do not achieve.
“All these platforms, they’re not really targeted to college students, and so there’s a lot of clutter that gets in the way,” Jacobovitz said.
Loeher said the app prevents scams by requiring all users to be verified as U-M students prior to making a purchase on the platform. She said the platform has been in the works for two years, but only became an app this semester when it launched on Sept. 1.
“We had a lot of organizational meetings on and off throughout the last few years but we really started putting in the work and grinding over the summer,” Loeher said.
Siegel said being in school full time made the process of developing the app and creating the business more difficult.
“The biggest challenge is just really taking the time to sit down and grind for it,” Siegel said. “It’s always great having an actual idea, but without actual implementation and just taking time, the effort to sit down and actually do what’s necessary is the real undertaking.”
In just the first few weeks since the launch, Dworak said the initial success of their platform was more than they were expecting.
“At present, we have around 700 verified students, half of which use the app daily, so that’s around 350,” Dworak said. “We’ve processed nearly 6000 (dollars) in tickets, so that means $6,000 worth of tickets have been sold between other users.”
Jacobovitz said he believes the app has received increased exposure on campus due to the team members’ different backgrounds.
“We all have very different interests,” Jacobovitz said. “I think that’s been very beneficial in the first 10 days since launch because we’ve been able to have exposure to so many different groups on campus.”
Siegel said it has been rewarding to see students discover DealDog and utilize it as a safe and secure resource.
“The biggest thing for us is we want people not to get scammed,” Siegel said. “We want people to go to the game, we want people to have the best experience at Michigan as possible.”
Loeher said the group hopes to expand the platform to other items beyond football tickets in addition to reaching other universities.
“If the business (is a) success in Michigan, which so far it has been — our numbers are exceeding above everything we thought they would be — (then) we would love to expand to other campuses, like similar-sized schools and schools with similar cultures,” Loeher said.
Siegel said even as DealDog expands, their goal will always be to make buying and selling items more efficient and safe for students.
“Whether it be a piece of clothing that you’re interested in, you’re going abroad (and) you want to sublease your place, or you just want to go to a hockey game, you’re not going to have to go through GroupMe, you’re not going to have to go through word of mouth and just asking friends,” Siegel said. “All you have to do is go on our app and everything that you’ll need on campus is there.”
Daily Staff Reporter Emma Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.