MiddKid.com Revamps Its Look

By Joe Flaherty

Many students are familiar with Middkid.com as the go-to site for course evaluations, but what they may not know is the 13-year-old site underwent a redesign in late September.

Middkid.com, founded by Ted Adler ’99.5, is a student-maintained site that provides course and professor evaluations and connects students with local Middlebury businesses.

Thomas Bryenton ’13 is the Middkid.com campus representative for the site this year.

“It’s a for-students-by-students thing, so it was started by a Midd kid in 1999 and it’s been going ever since,” said Bryenton. “We just celebrated our 13th birthday, which is cool — celebrating working with businesses in the area for a baker’s dozen years.”

Businesses can sign on to become a sponsor of Middkid.com.

“It’s grown to over 20 businesses … and we’re happy having those businesses supported that way,” said Bryenton.

The supporting business’s information is posted on Middkid.com, which ties into the Middkid card, a free card that lists supporting businesses and gives the holder discounts and deals. Bryenton said the traffic the site gets is high.

“We typically have about 500,000 page views per year, which is outrageous if you think about that. So we are able to give our businesses a lot of site traffic,” said Bryenton.

Bryenton spoke positively of the changes to the site.

“We basically wanted the site to look more modern and clean among other things.  Visually, it’s a significant improvement, I think most would agree,” said Bryenton.

Middkid.com also has several new sections following the update.

“We wanted to add a lot of things that were missing before. We didn’t actually have an ‘About Us’ section, so we added that,” said Bryenton. “We added a ‘For Parents’ section — there is a letter to Middlebury parents now because we find that parents actually inquire with us about how we can help their kids. Is their kid going to be able to get a haircut in rural Vermont? Answer: yes. So since we have that demographic going as well, we wanted to cater to them a bit.”

The course evaluations will still function the same and the entire database of course evaluations has been moved over to the new site.

Bryenton explained that students use the site for multiple purposes.

“Students are generally drawn by the reviews and wander to the coupons, to the [business] profiles, to look up phone numbers, addresses, deals,” said Bryenton.

Bryenton said the response to the changes has been good so far.

“Everything we’ve heard has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

Bryenton said facilitating connections between students and local businesses is what the site is all about.

“My most memorable moments at Middlebury have been those dinners in town with my friends and I think Middkid is what guides people to those things. Having someone vouch for a place is what really gets people to go,” he said. “We provide those recommendations people can trust and businesses love it. We’re able to do that in a way that’s beneficial for everybody.  We mean so much to this community in terms of business and otherwise.”

Josh Berlowitz ’16 first heard of Middkid.com when someone mentioned it on a prospective students’ day. He examined the redesigned website and gave feedback.

“It definitely looks better,” he said. The organization is nice.  It’s definitely better-organized and easier to find things.”

Berlowitz said he has used the course reviews since arriving on campus.

“I was deciding between two classes to take and I went with the one that has better reviews.”

He also was impressed by several of the deals listed on the site.

Hasher Nisar ’16 also heard about it before this fall and has signed up for the Middkid card.

“I first heard about it on the Facebook group that we have for our class,” said Nisar. “Someone posted saying if we need to look up certain courses, what they’re like, what people have to say about different professors and different courses, you can search on Middkid.”

Nisar, a first-year senator in the Student Government Association (SGA), thinks many other students use the site.

“I feel like it’s a good tool for people to use to look up certain courses, how much time they have to put in per week or what to expect,” he said. “I think a lot of students in our class and a lot of people at Middlebury use Middkid.com as a resource.  There’s no doubt about that.”