Bringing the argument online
Robert Crnkovic and Daryl Mason are not lawyers or judges. But they’re looking to bring about justice in their own way.
Crnkovic and Mason, a pair of Laurier alumni, are the co-founders of the recently launched Fantasycourt.com, which gives users the opportunities to bring their disputes to an online jury of their peers for a ruling.
“We did some research and we realized that all those people 18-26 years old, who grew up with Facebook, are basically crowd-sourcing everything that they do,” said Crnkovic. “A lot of the decisions they’re making are based on advice or input from their friends…. People will always have these disputes and they’re used to getting input from their friends, so we thought why not create a tool where they can take these disputes and let their friends decide who’s right.”
Fantasycourt provides a forum where both parties involved in the disagreement post their side of the argument and users then vote on who is right. Crnkovic was involved in one of the test cases, which asked users whether or not he should be able to back out of a $1000-bet that he could get better than one of his friends by 2011.
“47 of our friends voted with him, 45 friends with me,” said Crnkovic. “From that perspective, I have to go through with the bet now because how can I look 47 of my friends in the eye and say ‘I didn’t follow through’… It’s pretty compelling when your network of friends says, ‘you know what, you’re wrong.’”
The site was launched last Friday, however in its early stages, Crnkovic and Mason are focusing on a market they know: Laurier. Both now Toronto-based co-founders graduated from WLU’s business program in 2003 and with their comfort level with Laurier and the heavy concentration of their key demographic, they could think of no better place to launch their website.
“Darryl and I are 30-years-old, which isn’t a huge difference from being 22, but really, it is a huge difference from being 22,” said Crnkovic. “We want to learn from the people at Laurier. We want to hear what the students think.”
Though the site was openly launched last Friday, Crnkovic and Mason are calling it a “beta launch” and really only marketing it at Laurier. They are also working with a pair of current Laurier students, third-year philosophy student A.K. Heffernan and third-year business student Reed Bracken to help promote the site at WLU.