The Weekly Geek: Turn to the Web to turn a profit

In these trying economic times, folks are really starting to embrace their inner web junkies (and web entrepreneurs) for just about everything. Newspapers (like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) are going online only, folks are turning to free or cheap video games online for entertainment &mdsah; and now, one savvy high schooler is attempting to use the internet to put herself through school — literally.

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Harris is a high school senior with an impressive 3.97 GPA, top-10 placement in her class, and a deep, burning desire to go to the University of Notre Dame, though she’s lacking the exorbitant funds to do so. While most kids in this situation take out loans large enough to buy a small island in the Caribbean (with interest rates that ensure that loan collectors are actually able to make said purchase) or settle for community college and a job at Starbucks, Rachel has instead turned to the power of the press 2.0: She created Iwanttogotonotredame.com, and she’s taking donations.

Man, this is a smart move. First of all, she’s getting publicity from everywhere — USA Today, Fox News, The Detroit Free Press — and hey, you’re reading it here, right? She’s also wise to make her case as a deserving student — she’s posted her application essays, her letters of recommendation, and of course, the kicker — the ever-so-easy PayPal donate button. Notre Dame should give this young lady a scholarship — if nothing else, to reward her enterprising spirit (and gain a little good publicity as well — that never hurts).

Of course, this got me thinking about how this geeky/super-smart basic idea can be used for other powers of good. I’m sure there are a few deserving ladies out there who could use something along the lines of Iwantagirlfriend.com. And I think I speak for us all when I say that letsmakebetterlesbianfilms.com would be a huge hit with queer women the world over. Actually, that’s a really great idea.

So, readers, what’s your take? Will this kind of shameless self-promotion/donation-seeking work for Rachel? It certainly helped Obama.

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