10 Things You Didn’t Know about Rate My Professor

Rate My Professor is one of the Internet’s oldest websites for giving college students the ability to share their view on a college professor for all to see. It gives students the opportunity to grade their professors in five separate categories, plus includes one for “hotness.” They can also leave specific comments about the class. The majority of comments left by students involve the fairness of the professor’s grading and if they communicate the material in a way that is easily understood. Beyond this, there are a number of important things you do not know about the website, so take a minute to go through this list of 10 things you did not know about Rate My Professor.

1. Its founders were John Swapceinski, Michael Hussey, and Patrick Nagle.

These are not names you would ordinarily associate with successful websites, but they had the great idea of creating a website that moved from using the Internet for business and colleges to one that actually served the students. Though social media has challenged the value of the website, it is still a great place to go if you are going to a college where you only know a few people.

2. It is an actual company/business that employs people.

While the perception can be that Rate My Professor is kind of a self-run site that requires only an administrator, it actually has about a dozen employees. Anyone who has had a successful business in the 21st century knows customer service is critical. Professors and students alike have written the company about one thing or another.

3. The website was owned by a $13 billion company up until October of 2018.

The business was sold to telecommunications giant Viacom in 2007. Though exact terms are not known, it seems the startup trio knew when to cash in on their effort. This is the tendency of many small website businesses that attract bigger fish – sell the result of your idea and look to start again.

4. Viacom sold the website to yet another startup business – Cheddar.

If you haven’t heard of Cheddar yet, well, it’s because it is just getting its act together but has raised millions of dollars in seed funding to get off the ground. Rate My Professor is the latest of three businesses it has purchased. This leaves the future of Rate My Professor somewhat murky, as its future is now in the hands of an unestablished company, and the aforementioned move to social media for real world information has challenged the purpose of the website.

5. It has an app that is moderately successful.

With an average of more than 7,000 downloads a day, there clearly is some interest in the content of the website. Cheddar apparently is moving it towards a mobile app platform, giving the target audience of students ages 18 – 24 a convenient way to access the data and keep the concept alive.

6. It has almost 9 million monthly visitors.

This makes it clear that there are not many websites that offer this particular service and do it successfully. Its greatest selling point may be that it shares comments from people all over the world instead restricting it to a social media group or network.

7. Professors don’t take the ratings very seriously.

Anecdotal data clearly shows that very few professors care about what comments are left. But this also means they are aware of the site and do stop in from time to time to read them! It’s actually more a source of entertainment for them, and you may even find YouTube segments based on the professor’s responses.

8. You probably have not heard of its main competitors.

Of those competitors – Cappex.com, RateMyTeachers.com, and Unigo – the only one that comes close to connecting with college students is RateMyTeachers, which sounds it’s more for high school and middle school than post-secondary education.

9. Rate My Professor is a registered trademark.

This logically follows from looking at the names of its largest competitors. The fact is that it is one of those easily remembered brands whose name says it all about the website, its purpose, and what to expect when you get there.

10. It generates $3.4 million a year in revenues.

Though Cheddar buying the business from Viacom (for an undisclosed amount of money) may puzzle some people, buying a business that will put about $300,000 a month into your company makes a lot of sense. Time will tell what the future of both will be, but it seems much of it will depend on the success of its app.


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