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Student helps to create online network

Fed up with the limitations of Internet sites such as Myspace and Friendster, USF student Charles Trippy and a team of young entrepreneurs decided to create their own social networking site called

Eekline is about a month old and has more than 5,700 members. It provides free accounts and features such as customizable profiles, options for local bands and businesses as well as blogging capabilities.

There is also a system that allows its users to send out announcements to all of the people on their friends list.

Bob Ricci, who came up with the idea for the site, said the Eekline team is paying the costs for the site out of their own pockets.

Ricci said they only have to pay for the site’s server since all of the programming is done by the Eekline team.

“Right now, it’s not too much of a big deal for us,” Ricci said.

Trippy is the only USF student working on the site. He works on Eekline’s layouts.

“I’ve always wanted to help create something to have a major impact on the Internet,” Trippy said. “This has the potential to do so.”

Ricci said he hopes the site will be like the original, where local bands could advertise their music and interact with fans. He also wants to extend the service to local clubs, comedians and artists.

As a musician, he said it’s important to be able to network with listeners.

“I got dissatisfied with the way Myspace stopped making services available for indie artists,” Ricci said. “Once they got huge, they started catering to the mainstream artists.”

Ricci also said one of the advantages Eekline has over other sites such as Myspace is a lack of errors.

Eekline is set up similar to other networking sites with links to different aspects of the site through a member’s home page, but Trippy said these other sites shouldn’t hurt Eekline’s prospects.

“I’m not sure that the market is particularly saturated with these types of sites though, since there’s such a large demand for it,” Trippy said.

With so many young people using social networking to make friends and plan their days, critics believe the trend keeps people from relating deeply with each other and negatively impacts society.

Trippy believes these sites help friends keep in touch with each other and connect people instead of hindering their interactions.

“We can’t think of a reason that the site would hurt society,” Trippy said. “If we did, then we probably wouldn’t be working on it.”