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Web sites explore South Bend scene

Sarah Mayer | Thursday, October 11, 2007

Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students may venture off campus more often to explore South Bend after two new Web sites – soBendt.com and inthebend.com – were launched earlier this year to shine a spotlight on the city’s cultural events and attractions.

While both Web sites promote South Bend’s cultural life to college-age students, they do it differently, catering to different types of users.

Whitney Levett, the creator of soBendt.com, said his Web site is geared toward college students and young adults and is therefore focused on the city’s nightlife, especially the bar and restaurant scene.

“I targeted the demographic of 18-34 year-olds, or as I call it, generation Y,” Levett said.

Set against a black background with neon signs, soBendt.com features different sections that directly aim at students, including “Bendtpix,” a page where users can upload and post pictures of popular bars and clubs during their busiest nights.

The bar and dining guide offers tips on where to get $1 tacos on Tuesdays (Casa del Rio) and $1.50 domestic beers on Wednesdays (Madison Oyster Bar).

The Web site also has a “soTuned” section where it advertises local bands – such as Groupies Wanted, Stillshot and Hypermix – and where they are playing each night of the week.

The BlogStation section allows people to post personal ads from people like 23-year-old Michael, who said he is looking for a girl with “pretty eyes, someone I can have an intelligent conversation with. Someone who isn’t looking to get married in a year but would be up for a road trip or a trip together.”

Alex Luscano, the Web site’s sales representative, said soBendt.com was created for people in South Bend “who just want to have a good time.”

The Web site also has “Bendifieds,” where people can advertise and find postings for houses, cars and other items for sale.

SoBendt.com’s counterpart, Inthebend.com, was created for college students as it says it its “about us” section.

“The Web site evolved from an idea by college students who wanted a Web site that provided listings of all events in the area and on local campuses,” the site reads.

With a less vibrant color scheme, inthebend.com advertises typical college food places such as Papa John’s also has links for local movies, theatre, and music.

The main section of the Web site is called “College Central” and has links to events and sports at IUSB, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, Bethel and Ivy Tech.

Another link at the top of the site is the “volunteer” link. The Humane Society of St. Joseph County and Pet Refugee INC. are both looking for volunteers and have advertisements on the page.

The career center and classifieds of the site links to the South Bend Tribune for job listings and all things that need to be bought or sold.

With the parks and recreation link, inthebend.com advertises golf courses, local parks and zoos.

The creators of inthebend.com say the site’s main feature is its calendar.

“People and organizations in the community can share their event information by filling out the form and submitting it online for posting,” the site reads.

“I do not know if I will use either Web site,” Saint Mary’s freshman Emma Hoffman said, “but I am glad they are out there if I ever want to find something to do.”

Freshman Justin Browne liked inthebend.com.

“[It] looks like an awesome site to find things to do on Sundays or when there is other free time,” he said.