Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Greensboro Man Creates Dating App Where He's the Only Guy Allowed (wfmynews2.com)
344 points by evanb 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 392 comments

I had an idea for a dating app a while back, in which the basic idea is that you pay the service to message someone (above a free weekly limit of say 1 msg).

The pricing would be reactive - as popular attractive people get more messages, the more it would cost to message them, growing exponentially in order to limit incoming messages to approx a few a day. Unpopular people who got few messages would have a price that would go down to zero. This would hopefully solve the problem of women getting hundreds of messages a day, and men getting neither any incoming messages nor any replies to their outgoing messages.

It shouldn't be much of a problem to get women on board, as they rarely send messages anyway and it would always be free just to put up a profile and receive messages. And for men it would hopefully be a fair an transparent way to have confidence that their outgoing messages would be received and read (and have fewer immediate competitors), rather than just lost in the noise.

I don't have time for it now, but it's always been something on my mind.

Edit: Thanks for your comments. This is interesting. Lots of hypotheses worth experimenting.

I can see where you're coming from, but I think in practice this is not a great idea. Even if it's not intentional, it's not going to be great publicity when you have an app that shows different women with different price tags.

I imagine it's not great either if, on current dating apps, the number of messages women receive becomes public information. The problem here is less that different women cost different prices to message. The problem is that it's visible. If you can overcome this there might be some merit to the idea. This is just me being open-minded though. It still feels like an icky idea.

There are probably ways you could make it manageable and less morally repugnant.

1) Let people set their own price. Then it's not the platform valuing you, it's how much you value your own time.

2) Provide "auto-pricing" as an optional feature. Use an imaginary unit - call it "stamps" and provide ways to earn "stamps" on the platform besides just buying them.

"How many stamps should it cost for somebody to send you a letter? Or you can use one of our auto-managers - do you want to receive lots of letters or only a few?"

You could still have some kind of invisible credit score under the hood even for users that don't use the auto-pricer - people with good credit get plentiful free stamps.

Then you'd have to get into a whole Google-style graph-based-ranking but for people, which I assume sites like Twitter are already doing under the hood.

Of course, the problem here is that you'd have a plethora of alts to farm free stamps, which would clutter the search list...

Everything is hard.

I like the idea (not that I'm in the dating market) but I think any purchase option is going to end up matching wealthy men with attractive women.

Instead, how about a different approach: You get say 10 stamps/day. There is no way to purchase them. Any message you receive can be replied to once with no cost. Also, the cost to send to someone is adjusted by the cost to send to you. (Another poster suggested ELO ratings, which makes sense.)

You have a choice between occasionally contacting the hot ones or fairly routinely contacting those at your level or below. It will make people much more realistic in who they choose to contact, taking long shots means not having any shot at the ones you might actually get.

The app should be tied to your identity (although I wouldn't require real name use in the prospect-facing side) so you can't just create a bunch of accounts to get extra stamps.

>but I think any purchase option is going to end up matching wealthy men with attractive women.

Isn't that how it normally works out anyway?

Then we deploy it without any computer interface and call it Earth!

And also lots of guys would freak out and get very upset if they perceived someone's price is "too high," which would make the experience more hostile to women.

I've got a better idea. Have a swiping system, but also have a simple indicator to see how often people respond to messages after first swipe. There could also be an indicator for how long those conversations typically last.

Or you could just make it extremely simple: just have something saying "this person is X% likely to respond after a match."

Or an opaque "conversation score" which is hard to game, but indicates whether or not they're actually talking to their matches. You could categorize them as "great conversationalists!" and then allow people to filter out those who aren't.

Of course, that could be gamed too but it would be better than just matching over and over with people who have no interest in actually talking to you.

Pandering to guys who would "freak out and get very upset" and "make the experience more hostile to women" sounds crazy.

Better I would have thought to kick such guys off the platform, raising the level for women, which would in turn make it more appealing for more evolved males.

Women tiptoe around male anger about being rejected 24/7, especially on online dating. Lots of "evolved" males still become scary when turned down and don't handle rejection well. There is no way to filter them out because they all walk among us, they're our friends and brothers, and sometimes us.

Every woman who's gone on online dating can give you a list of stories of creepy, scary and/or off-putting experiences.

My point here isn't to start an online debate about gender equality, but to say: one of the main things that would help bring users to an online dating app is making it safer for women. If the women come, the men will follow.

I too fear the boogeyman.


This is a great idea for users, but the platforms would never go for it because it would decrease engagement. People would be dissuaded from sending messages to people who are rated as very unlikely to respond (and rightfully so), which would lead to less time on the platform.

Yep. I can already imagine The Guardian titles:

- Disgusting new dating app literally puts a price on woman. When will woman objectification stop?

- In this racist dating app it costs more to message white woman than black woman.

It will be a disaster, and the author will lose his job.

as reported by Jessica Valenti (sorry I couldn't resist)

I loved The Guardian but it became "world misery and outrage daily, and BTW all men are terrible" in the last year or two.

I haven't been playing close attention but I did notice they seemed to have become more click-baitey over time. My brain has subconsciously moved them into the same category as "Huffington Post", fairly or not.

Ha! I like how these hypothetical complaints contradict each other...

You could probably also scale the price based on other variables as well. Like scaling on the sending side as well as the receiving side, or based on the likelihood the other side responds or something. I would assume the main idea is to put pressure to limit low-effort, low-likelihood messaging from both sides, more than putting a pricetag on a person.

Yeah, this could help a lot. Scaling based on the past response rate of the sender and how many messages the sender has sent recently would make the pricing more relative, and thus prevent a basic enumeration of "prices of people".

It would also go a long way to not have these prices be listed on a catalog page, but only when clicked into an individual person, so it's less of a feeling of comparison shopping.

The psychology of these UI design things matters a lot.

> I would assume the main idea is to put pressure to limit low-effort, low-likelihood messaging from both sides, more than putting a pricetag on a person.


On the other side it must be weird to think that the people reaching to you have gone through an auctioning system and were the ones willing to pay the most.

It would be all the weirder for first contact messages for instance.

Also, the entitlement from men would be off the charts. Can you imagine how pissed someone would be if they paid $100 to have their message ignored?

They can always pay to express their displeasure—even better if a cut of the price is shared with the user (but that would introduce other issues).

Yes, I think this is by far the biggest problem here. I’m sure there are some women who would enjoy knowing that only those willing to pay the most, would be able to court them. But I would wager that most women would feel differently. Presumably a dating service finds potential mates who are good personality match, not just who are more willing or able to pay.

I don't think so.

The person would not know how much the sender "paid" for the "postage" for that message. From ANYONE's point of view, they are not receiving more than N messages per day, as N+1 would become exponentially, prohibitively more expensive.

This is not an info that you can hide from users for very long.

You will have people who start with a profile in both sides to see how it works. It’s done for fun on free platforms, it will done for research on any paying platform.

If they don’t do it personally they’ll ask friends that will spill the beans.

People will rant online on how much they paid for a single text sent.

It’s just endless, the service will need to be transparent and forthcoming about the system or it becomes a PR nightmare.

Those would be issues as well as enabling the higher bidder versus the best prospect (in her mind). I suppose it could be weighted based on both levels of desirability. I think a similar system without the social and implementation complexity would be to sell tiers of “super likes.” Like daily super likes, weekly (get only one per week, monthly, yearly. Essentially, you only get one yearly like a year, so using it conveys extraordinary interest on paper versus a daily like.

How about remove money and visible numbers and instead make people watch an ad, then have a lootbox style reveal of whether their message is sent. The retry rate is limited by ad playtime. The odds are set as described above. Still icky.

> The problem is that it's visible. I don't want to be that guy, but it's usually already visible, if the service has photos and allows at least basic descriptions.

Humans are incredibly good at putting a price tag to potential mates. It takes milliseconds to form a base appraisal.

Can I buy options on sending a message in the future, and then sell those options on a derivative market?

Sell those tokens in an ICO to fund the app development!

Yeah what the world needs is an app where people can bet you'll age badly and short your "conversation tokens". Capitalism!

Desperate ugly men will crowd out handsome guys who can get laid on Tinder without paying for anything, and you will basically have a service for finding a sugar daddy.

Fair point that I had not considered. However, I would not necessarily say desperate but may be risk-taking, strategic thinking, and/or wealthy (enough to handle congestion prices) men

The issue I see is that women would not find guys who had to pay attractive because it implies desperation. So the only women who would go there are specifically the ones looking for a sugar daddy.

> The issue I see is that women would not find guys who had to pay attractive because it implies desperation.

Every single mid to high end restaurant, every single successful lounge and a nightclub and the likes of LVMH disagree all the way to the bank.

Don't worry about that, men already have to pay for dating and it's a non issue.

Women still have absolute standards so, no matter how much the desperate ugly guy pays, his odds of success are still low, so the optimal strategy would still be to date around your level, right? Also, maybe the messaging cost goes down for men with high response rates (proving they are attractive).

The issue is not desperate ugly men. There's lots of handsome and wealthy men with poor morals and/or bad personality.

There is a reason movies don't price based on popularity. Because it sends a subtle (and not so subtle) signal of popularity.

People would rather do without than do something unpopular.

The people with the low prices would still not get messages, because who wants to message someone so unpopular that you're the only one interested in them?

Hah, just like in that Black Mirror episode, where the main character avoids interacting with the waiter with a 3.x rating for fear of being judged by others as someone of lower status (score).

Alain de Botton has an illuminating documentary about status (2h30m version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1MqJPHxy6g, 5m version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iipn6yM43sM)

Yeah, one of the last signals you ever want to be sending out in the dating world is how undesirable other people find you.

I've always wondered about why popularity based pricing doesn't exist in everyday life. This explanation makes sense. Thank you.

"My idea of a dating app: Literally enforces class based social ranking"

It really doesn't take much to realize that this pricing scheme would exclusively benefit the rich and white, right?

Like for a successful, white, male, software engineer like myself I could afford to reach out to whomever I would like anytime I want, this would be heaven! But for someone in a worse social position they would be basically blocked from talking to more than one person, regardless of their looks, personality, or ambitions.

Where did “white” come into it? I can see how such a system would benefit the rich, but would it benefit a rich white more than a rich black? No. Why are you bringing race into it?

Whites are favored on dating apps (e.g. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3244459) and the model proposed would make that division pretty explicit

how would it make the division explicit? Be specific. How would the pay to play messaging system benefit a rich white more than a rich black?

That’s the very specific point we are discussing, and my claim is that race is irrelevant in this discussion. If you have evidence to the contrary on exactly that point then I’d like to hear it.

Not some hand wavy vague generalisation on a tangential point, how would a pay to play messaging system benefit a rich white more than a rich black?

I don't think a rich white would be benefited more than a rich black in terms of sending messages on an individual level. (After all - if net worth is the same then a $ is a $) However - the part where they're responded to would be favored to a rich white instead of a rich black... but I don't think that would be any different than a non-pay system. And that's not correlated to rich white vs rich black - that's correlated with white vs black. :/

However, one could start arguing that because there are more rich white people than rich black people then the system favors whites more because whites hold more money to message people. Therefore, because of that, then the people who are messaging the most desirable will more likely be white (even if split of race in the country was 50/50 white/black - whites will be messaging more because their wealth on average is higher).

I don't think such a pay to message system should exist (even though many dating apps do implement a roundabout way of doing this - lol - they all implement some throttling mechanism that you can get around if you pay $$$).

I know, and I know. I was calling him on the “Rich white guy” racist trite.

This is hilarious.

Because white people are more wealthy than those of other races. That is a hardcore socioeconomic fact in the US. In pure mean and quantity.

Soounds like OP just wants to formalize the existing process. Dating is expensive!

maybe its cuz i live in the country and not silicon valley, but my last date was a walk which cost nothing :) our second date we made a dinner together which also cost roughly nothing. we just like each other's company <3

That doesn't mean they're not expensive in other ways - It's enjoyable, but actively dating can be both emotionally taxing and just time-consuming, especially in the initial stages when you're working out if you like someone, or just looking for someone at all.

Not always. People find inventive ways of going on interesting dates. It will certainly put off those who are looking for someone who likes to spend money on them, but that’s an additional benefit.

How is that any different than current dating reality? White rich males (and females) are the cream of the crop on dating systems. Attractiveness is another huge driver, as a derivative of the prior two attributes combined with other more subtle ones.

This idea is simply an admittance of what we're all already collectively doing. Only difference is the blame is centralized to the app, versus spread out to each user.

If you don't believe me, take a look at statistics on dating app success for unattractive minorities versus the aforementioned "cream of the crop". We're all pretty blatantly <something>-ist when it comes to dating.

I absolutely love this idea. Do it. Ignore the grumpies suggesting objectification or privilege. It's a market for attention. Nothing more, nothing less.

Don't you think women would just not use the dating app though? I think most of them enjoy not having to risk approaching guys. It's also known that many women like the ego boost of getting all the attention. I have a hard time seeing how you could convince them to pay to get less attention and force them to make the first move.

The idea seems like an engineer's misreading of women.

A woman getting dozens of low-effort messages knows that the next message she receives could be from her next amazing relationship. Great people are less common than low-quality pussy-beggars. That's just life.

Charging for messages just optimizes for the sort of loser desesperados who are even open to the idea. It really is just a sugardaddy-finder.

They would not have to make the first move -- at least not the attractive ones anyway. They would just be fewer, higher-quality messages. All the cruft and messages that came from guys "firing from the hip" would disappear.

IMHO, a flat membership fee with manual verification would work better. Why do rich folks pay 200k/year for a golf club membership? Becayse they want access to a high quality crowd of their peers.

Yes this is indeed what some dating apps do.

Other users are free to message if you two are a "match", or directly - unless they are new or receive too many messages, to "protect their inbox". This information is hidden from the popular users themselves, who often have no idea that others have to pay (directly/in-app virtual tokens/premium subscription) to message them.

Sometimes there is also the mechanic that if you are popular enough yourself, you can message other popular users, working around the problem of the people you most likely would want to connect with being drowned out by the crowd.

Edit: I should mention, this was about paying for the _ability_ to message someone, not paying per message. I think paying per message is largely avoided by legitimate dating apps because it is mostly employed by scam "hookup" sites.

i mean it does solve that problem of excess of messages, but i think as a woman or man you would want the app to give you the best possible match or through some "magic" find someone who you might not have found through conventional means, not just the person who paid the most.

piggybacking on saynay[0], you could make it cheaper to message people you're better matched with. that also helps negate the negative signal that jedberg points out[1].

not sure pricing messages is a good idea, but it's a fun thought experiment.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21629467

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21629401

I would argue the "magic" is that someone considered the risk and cost of messaging you, and feels confident they found something to connect about

> feels confident they found something to connect

“I’ve got a lot of money and you’re young and have great tits”

Purely a thought experiment here: what do you think would happen if rather than making "ugly people" free to message, you incentivized the message? Pay $1 per message to a hot person, get paid $1 per message to an ugly person.

I wonder if that market would find equilibrium.

Edit: I guess the "purely a thought experiment" disclaimer got dismissed by everybody looking for a little outrage today. This is not a business plan, I just think it's interesting to think about these things.

I swear half the people on this website are social automatons.

"Hey, you're so ugly people get paid to message you! Thanks for using our service!" There is no way this would go over well.

But only for a short while. If people message you (even if they are paid to), the algorithm will determine that you're not so ugly.

That's so easy to game this system - people will send "hey" to 10 non-hot people, just to be able to afford a proper message to one attractive person

Paying people would just incentivize them to message people that they have no interest in dating anyways.

Yeah probably. I'm wondering if there isn't a way to incentivize actually taking the time to have a conversation with someone you're not immediately attracted to. Maybe like a conversation-length gate or rewards based on message recipient ratings of the message you send?

Alternatively something like a monthly allowance of credit and then an auction style messaging system would be interesting.

Interesting idea, the floor does not have to be zero.

I think the Tinder mutual swipe before message requirement solves this - women’s messages are limited by who they swipe right on (presumably restricting messages to people they’re interested in).

I suppose this leaves out the potential for unswiped men to differentiate themselves with an interesting initial message, but I suspect the success rate for that is pretty low.

> I suppose this leaves out the potential for unswiped men to differentiate themselves with an interesting initial message, but I suspect the success rate for that is pretty low.

Tinder kind of offers something like this: super likes which cost a small amount of money (users get one free one per day) which notify the target that they've been super liked and highlight the super likers profile.

It's basically a way to pay to stand out from the crowd. There are also other things like boosts which maximise the number of people seeing your profile for a short amount of time.

I honestly can't see anything replacing Tinder for the next few years. Besides the matching thing being a really clever, its biggest asset is how socially acceptable it is. It's made online dating "cool"

Just admit that looks are the only thing that matter on dating apps that push casual encounters. It's not hard to comprehend; sure it's a tough reality to swallow but once you realize where you are and why you aren't getting dates on these apps its almost cathartic.

I think it's an interesting model, one of the issues I see is that unpopular users who are almost free to message would seem "cheap" which could make them even less attractive.

This is what Luna was doing (https://www.meetluna.com/) if I recall correctly, with the added bonus that it would also pay out when you read and reply to messages. So, that would incentivize attractive people to actually use the app. In theory. They seem to have failed-to-launch, unfortunately (fortunately?).

You can't control people's affectional preference. People have a right to be attracted to the person of their choice. In a dating app, any consenting other who wants to be messaged should be able to receive it. Nobody's going to 'settle' for someone they're not attracted to just because it's a bargain.

Well, such mechanism exist in Badoo. I am not sure if it present in US and West Europe, but it's present in East Europe.

Beside classic like/dislike/match there is possibility to look who is around and directly message person. Depending how person is popular it could be free to start conversation or you will have to use "coins".

I thought about similar ideas, but I think it solves a problem (women want to get fewer messages) while ignoring the main goal (women want the messages to be from the guys they would like to meet). Once messages start costing a significant amount of money, only the truly desperate and/or predatory will be sending the messages.

A simple method of filtering that occurred to me a long time ago -

Make the service completely free, but require a credit rating above a certain threshold. Possibly apply that to men but not women.

You assume that financially responsibility is the primary or strictly required characteristic women are looking for. I am a man, so I am not going to offer an opinion, but it seems like a very bold assumption.

If you insist on treating every man who wants to use your service like a john I'm not sure you're going to like the men you get.

It's obviously something that would upset people, but the point is that it's very significantly different than making men pay (like a john) and much more aligned with what people really want.

You don't need or want a filter to determine who is desirable; you just want to eliminate everyone who is completely unacceptable and provide a fairly large number of options that are all decent.

It might also be necessary to provide some sort of clever cover, so it didn't seem like the business was doing what it was doing. From a marketing perspective, I don't think it would sell, but from a results perspective, I think it would.

Besides the challenges mentioned in other comments. This will probably have troubles with ranking new users, how to rank new users before they get tens or a hundred messages?

Little known fact about dating apps is that the churn is pretty high. Users try and leave within a few weeks, or a few months for the most persistent.

Or perhaps just remove profiles from search results once such profile received X number of messages per day/week/month. Or maybe based on unresponded/unreacted messages. Or something along that way where limit realistically allows to process messages.

> This would hopefully solve the problem of women getting hundreds of messages a day, and men getting neither any incoming messages nor any replies to their outgoing messages.

The former might be solved, but I highly doubt the latter would be.

That would just make it harder for attractive guys who primarily message women in their own league, which could actually result in a worse experience for women.

Or, make it a silent auction like in charities auctioning off dates. That way the current bid is shown just to message the woman.

How is this different from pimping?

I'm not sure what the benefit the service you are proposing is to the attractive, popular people.

Wouldn't this create a scenario where the most attractive people only end up talking to the wealthiest courters?

Women use those apps to boost self esteem, not find a date.

vectorEQ 54 days ago [flagged]

also put in blockchain, everything needs blockchain :O

Could you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to Hacker News? We're trying for a bit better here.


I've thought about making a new dating app. The existing apps suck for 2 reasons: in most markets men are at a significant disadvantage because of how men and women differ in the way they approach dating (and there's also a significantly unfair male:female ratio in many markets). Additionally, none of them are really designed to get people off the app, but rather they're built to increase engagement and keep people on the app.

One idea I've had is to disallow conversation in the app, and instead focus on making date plans if there's a match. Another idea is to introduce a payment aspect to make spamming economically unviable, except that the payment goes to the recipient instead of the platform. Some apps have tried things like this, but they kind of suck because it's not real money so it's not useful.

> One idea I've had is to disallow conversation in the app, and instead focus on making date plans if there's a match.

You should likely run this idea past a few women. The typical reason they want to converse before meeting is security: Meeting strangers is dangerous and they want to "sniff test" to see if it is safe enough to even go that far.

Your app idea largely seems to exist to solve issues men have with dating apps but it doesn't really address why women avoid them/prefer direct social interaction.

Conversely, I've found that a lot of women have pushed me to meet early. They tell me that a lot of men just want to talk, and they're not interested in pen pals.

That never worked out well for me: I'm a person of words, and while I really do want to meet, I'm unlikely to click with somebody who doesn't love conversation enough to chat before that. So I stopped meeting women who weren't interesting online; it seemed that the hope that they might be interesting in person never panned out. I hope they met somebody more to their taste.

Meeting strangers is dangerous, but if you arrange it in a public place, that's reasonably safe. And probably at least as good as trying to feel out whether they're dangerous via chat.

Ironic that people don't want to meet someone off an app without "sniff test" conversation first, yet are happy to meet strangers at a bar with no prior knowledge of them whatsoever.

I guess it's just a lingering bias that makes us think "dating app people are creepy" even though today the people you meet in a bar are probably all on dating apps too.

> Ironic that people don't want to meet someone off an app without "sniff test" conversation first, yet are happy to meet strangers at a bar with no prior knowledge of them whatsoever.

Consider the "social contract" of both situations.

With the bar situation you can literally leave immediately with no social expectation that you should have to interact with that person again.

With the "date" typically they're alone (i.e. she cannot bring friends, unlike a bar) and there's a social expectation to stay at least for whatever constitutes an entire date.

I think it is less irony and more that we have complex social expectations.

> With the bar situation you can literally leave immediately with no social expectation that you should have to interact with that person again.

There are plenty of first date options that make this easy. I was fond of minigolf because it goes relatively quick and you can either opt to play more rounds or hit the eject button with a half decent excuse.

That's still 1000x different than realizing you have no chemistry with the person you're talking to at the bar and simply turning 90 degrees and talking to the next person.

Meanwhile, a date you eject from still consumes most of your evening. ...And it's extremely uncomfortable and emotionally taxing to be in that position for both people.

That said, I think almost everyone would be better served if they shot out a "wanna grab drinks at X at 8:00?" much earlier into the conversation. The sort of "Tinder convo" I see on r/tinder is almost exclusively men sabotaging themselves instead of making a move.

I mean, once you've established you're not one of those "send pic of vagene sex sex sex pls" people, I'm not convinced there's all that much more rapport you can build over text.

Then again, I imagine men who are able to talk themselves into a hole over Tinder chat are sending useful signals to women.

It's different, but if you're not the kind of person who enjoys going to bars then it is an alternative.

> Ironic that people don't want to meet someone off an app without "sniff test" conversation first, yet are happy to meet strangers at a bar with no prior knowledge of them whatsoever.

Couple possibilities I can think of there. First and foremost, it could be that the people being described before the comma, and the people being described after the comma, are not the same population. There may be some overlap, but I can at least say that the friends I have who've used (non-Tinder) online dating services in any sort of serious way were also very much not the kind of people to go to bars to meet people.

Another is that talking to a stranger at a bar is most decidedly not a date. Evidence: Once upon a time, I did that fairly regularly, and my partner didn't mind at all. (I think that there was only ever one person who was obviously only interested in a hook-up, and, it being a bar, it was pretty easy to gracefully exit that conversation.) I think they would have felt very differently about me signing up for OkCupid.

On an app, you can put up whatever profile you want and pretend to be whoever you want. Nothing stops you from impersonating whoever you want, and lots of people are good at making themselves look safe, interesting and fun online, even if they aren't that way in real life.

But as soon as you walk into a bar, every woman in that place is taking in broad bandwidth data on you. Do your mannerisms look natural? Are you acting aggressive? Are you friendly? What are you wearing, and are your clothes clean? Do other women seem comfortable around you?

All of those assessments are based on very finely honed intuitions that they rely on every single day to stay safe.

To be fair, bars do provide a modicum of physical security. The overall environment is pretty sketchy/unsafe in other ways, though - hence why plenty of people are not fans of bars overall.

yet are happy to meet strangers at a bar with no prior knowledge of them whatsoever.

You can easily do a social proof check on a stranger in a bar by checking out their friends. That’s why it’s such a successful strategy to go on the pull with a wingman/winggirl.

You can avoid people you don’t like at bars. You really can’t do that if you’ve scheduled a date with someone.

Sure you can. It’s called “ghosting”.

In this thread we're talking about the point at which you've already showed up to the date.

Maybe take time to investigate what women-built dating apps look like too:


Is meeting a stranger in a public place actually dangerous, or do people just feel that it's dangerous? What is the worst that is likely to happen if two people meet up in a cafe or city park?

The worst that could happen is rape and murder.

Talk to women sometimes about how they approach personal safety, and how many scary situations and too-close calls they've already had.

It's a law of truly large numbers thing. Even if a tiny tiny minority of guys are actually dangerous, over the course of even a relatively young life the average woman has encountered quite a few of them. They make life decisions accordingly, for understandable reasons.

Rapes and murders in public places are exceedingly rare.

The app could certainly facilitate "safe" dates by helping guide people toward certain places. That could even be the business model where you would book reservations at certain restaurants, coffee shops, or wherever through the app.

Are you suggesting they should advertise a dating app to women by telling women that their concerns over personal safety are misguided?

Frankly I don't think gatekeeping a person's comfort level when meeting a stranger is very constructive. In fact I think it would invoke quite a negative reaction (justifiably).

Most women I know would want to meet at a very public place for safety reasons. If a guy comes on hella strong and suggests you meet up at his house and doesn't understand why meeting at a public, neutral place is a good idea, that's a huge red flag.

Ingrid Lane[0] was murdered by a man she met on an online dating site and had been dating for a month.

Meeting strangers may not be a high risk for you but it is for other people.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Ingrid_Lyne

They had been dating for a month at that point, so how they originally met was not nearly as relevant as his extensive criminal record was.

An app has this exact idea, where there is no online conversations. It focuses on helping singles meet in real life directly. Thoughts? https://singlespotapp.com/

This is silly, you can't expect to screen out bad actors in a brief online conversation, least of all via text. You should arrange to meet at a safe, neutral place that provides its own (formal or informal) physical security.

I think you haven't seen some of the creepy or horrible stuff that some men say on dating apps. Some of the women I dated would tell me about them.

While you can't guarantee a good date, you can at least eliminate the worst and unsafe-est dates by a little messaging.

I dated for a while on various services before choosing OKCupid and sticking with it. I talked to and dated several women before I met the woman who is now my wife.

That included some chat up front, then picking a safe, public location to meet and do something. I'm lucky to live in Orlando, so it was very often a theme park. If either of us were unhappy, we could just go our separate ways and be done. (Thankfully that never happened to me.)

No, you can only eliminate the ones that are bad at hiding that they are creeps.

True. It does make dating seem like an endless Voight-Kampf test though.


You definitely can.

Creeps have a hard time hiding the fact that they're creeps. If I'm talking to a guy on a dating app and he immediately tries to steer the conversation towards sex, my body, how horrible women are, and shows zero interest in actually getting to know me then I know he's someone to avoid.

Also, someone on a dating app can be anyone.

Even taking a shower, putting on decent clothes, and showing up in person to a bar is a massive filter that dating app conversation doesn't have. This is one of the fundamental trade-offs of meeting people online vs in person.

You can screen out some of the weirdos in a brief online conversation. Which is a significant improvement on none of them.

As an added bonus, you also get to screen out all the people that don't really care enough about their potential date's feelings to exchange a few messages, and all the people that are saying yes to too many dates to even notice conversation threads never mind show up.

> This is silly, you can't expect to screen out bad actors in a brief online conversation, least of all via text.


> One idea I've had is to disallow conversation in the app, and instead focus on making date plans if there's a match.

Shooting from the hip, I'm guessing this would not do much to even out that male:female ratio.

> in most markets men are at a significant disadvantage because of how men and women differ in the way they approach dating

This is such a ridiculous thing to say. A significant disadvantage compared to _who_? Other men? That sort of negates your statement? The women on the platform? Men aren't competing against women on the platform to find a date, for the most part.

I think you're sort of dancing around the issue that attractive people on the platform are going to attract more attention, but that applies to both genders equally. If you don't want 'competition', try seeking out people who aren't conventionally attractive.

It's not at all a ridiculous thing to say... Men and women have significantly different experiences using dating apps, and if you were able to release an app that solved the problem many men face (being completely ignored for years), you would probably capture a large segment of the market.

Do you think any women get ignored on dating sites?

> except that the payment goes to the recipient

I believe you just described escorting/prostitution. Not that I am against sex work, but that app would be DOA.

Have you seen https://www.whatsyourprice.com/ ?

Most amazing spin ever. Here's the ad targeted at women https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK2MrUOfAPE and the one targeted at men https://vimeo.com/21179683

Also https://misstravel.com and their pitch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLSiy4nUvnc

Ha. Fascinating. What's even better is the bracketing in the two videos - the guy offered $20 and went on a date with "an attractive female" yet the female only accepted the $100 offer.

So as a man you're primed thinking your date will cost you on the order of $20, but the woman is expecting offers in the order of $100. Expectations are already mismatched before you've even signed up!

Wow, this is as close to escorting as it gets.

I could think of a gentle spin where the money would go to pay the date (restaurant/drinks/activity), which is expensive anyway, but the way it's framed I am speechless.

Yeah, attractive people should be able to build a wish list of dates (restaurant, cafe, movie) with a price tag and less attractive people could then choose whether they want an expensive, medium or cheap date with that person. It would still have an element of escorting because there is an incentive to go on as many dates as possible but there would be no reward beyond the date itself.

Perhaps just donate the money to the recipient's favorite charity.

Nope. Meeting in person ain’t prostitution. This is how a bunch of Americans meet their partners (in bars, coffee shops etc.).

The issue is the payment part, not the meeting in person part.

Yes, but sending compensation to a person in order to meet (unless they're a confidential informant) is usually seen by law enforcement as suspicious.

Payment going to message recipient is going to create perverse incentives and people are going to monetize this aspect.

So you’ll have many frustrated users who are simply being gamed for messages.

I'm not convinced that's a bad thing if that's the type of interaction people want.

I mean that it can devolve into scamming where people pretend to be interested but aren’t really and many will be people in “Romania” (some country) with fake profiles and so on...

But it will select a certain type of people

Dating has always been a quid pro quo interaction, and it probably always will be.

There's more to give and take than money.

Try the Facebook dating app, they aren't trying to monetize anything. It basically is Tinder but with all the features you'd pay for included.

And since this is built on top of Facebook the spam ratio is pretty low.

Some of the features it has: You can always see who has "right-swiped" on you, even if you didn't match with the person. You can see everybody on the app in Facebook groups you share. If you accidentally swipe left you can go back.

This obviously doesn't change anything about the valid point that men and woman approach dating in a different manner. I guess apps made this even worse.

> I guess apps made this even worse.

They just make obvious what otherwise we don't like to admit, like how important attraction is in the deal even though we don't have much control over it.

Usually when I see criticism of dating apps (like in this comments section), I wonder if the critic realizes that what they are complaining about is how dating already works. You are always sizing people up around you based on how attractive you find them, for example.

One idea I had was to basically open up analytics to the end-user. Let a user see their ELO rating + stats for different sub-groups and run A/B tests with different photos, messages, and profile text. Basically just product analytics software, except the product you're trying to sell is yourself. I'm not on the apps these days so maybe this exists already.

Swipe apps more-or-less turned dating into a game—you could provide the tooling to become a better player.

While you're at it, you could provide power inbox tools to help recipients weed out potentially spammers/ dangerous/ flaky/ fake/ disturbed users using auto-reply chains(randomly staggered in time of course) that they could come back to later and see if the person replied sensibly to their messages. The more popular the person, the more messages they would be encouraged to create.

Yeah, totally. I think this was basically the problem Bumble tried solving with their "women message first" restriction, but I bet you could come up with better/smarter tooling than that blunt heuristic.

A remotely related idea that I was thinking about a while ago, which came back to my mind while reading Vitalik's "Hard Problems in Cryptocurrency" blog post that I found here[1], yesterday. Specifically the problem of spam is a special case of a Sybil attack[2]. People usually tend to be better behaved in real life than they tend to do in online anonymous/pseudonymous settings. Tying the two in a privacy sensitive way might be the way to go. IMO, any attempt at verifying that people actually did go out on a date after matching on a dating app would be a rich signal that the user(s) are not spammers or bots. The UX for this could perhaps take the form of a QR code that one could scan from their date's phone (or vice-versa).

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21618079

[2]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_attack

There are apps/sites that focus on meeting

Dine: You match only by choosing a restaurant listed in their profile to meet at. They get a notification, "So-and-so would like to go to ABC with you". If they click "yes" the system puts up a list of times to meet.

HowAboutWe: You list only activities you'd like do together.

Interesting idea. First issue that I thought of: People will create fake profiles to rake in all the money from admirers. Or, if the profiles are genuine, the app quickly becomes a cam/chat site because why would you ever go on a date if you could get paid for just being there and chatting with admirers.

It's relatively easy to prevent fake profiles by requiring basic identity checks (phone number, etc).

Nothing is easy when more money can be made by claiming it is difficult.

>One idea I've had is to disallow conversation in the app, and instead focus on making date plans if there's a match.

As a guy who has been on dating apps, being able to hold a conversation puts you at a significant advantage. I don't see how restricting the ability to have one helps, unless your intention is to help guys who can't or shoot themselves in the foot early.

> One idea I've had is to disallow conversation in the app, and instead focus on making date plans if there's a match.

I like that idea.

The business model is tricky to figure out. You'd have to ditch subscription fees and advertising (since both of those models disincentivizes real matchmaking in favor of long-term endless use of the app).

All these apps suck at doing what they're supposed to do because they need to generate money. As soon as you want to make money in this domain you will sacrifice the core feature.

I've been told by several women they'd never meet someone on dating service they didn't have a chat with first. No idea if these women represent the norm.

I would just charge $10 for the app one time, or perhaps $10/year as long as you keep using it.

OKCupid used to have a service called Crazy Blind Date. [1] I went out on a couple dates using that service like 10+ years ago. I thought the concept was fun. On an amusing side note, I went on a job interview several years later where the hiring manager was a woman I'd met via that service.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Blind_Date


The app I was actually looking for with the search isn't in the top 10, but you can see that it's been tried more than once.

Do you mean paying a potential match? It would be a dating site for cam girls and professional escorts.

I mean, you might actually be on to something there :)

Why do we need apps with local scope if the aim is to meet in person anyway? Can't we just build clubs/pubs for singles only, with one age group per day of week and security to keep things safe and gender ratios balanced? There's even a good, well-tested monetisation scheme that doesn't have an effect on quality of matches...

This already exists, from speed-dating to singles-only events on meetup.com or at your church.

I wonder how many people in these sorts of HN threads who complain about the crapshoot of dating have taken it seriously enough to try these sorts of things.

I highly recommend them. Speed-dating itself is really eye-opening.

> This already exists

Exactly, which is why apps that work in the same way, based on exactly the same input (just superficial visual appeal), seem redundant to me. I'd much prefer something that actually makes use of modern technology, for example: upload 3 photos of your exes and we'll find someone similar for you. Or, match people by professions and lifestyles that are compatible in some way (in addition to ML-rated visual appeal).

Interesting idea for sure, but it seems to me that unfairness is built into the species' firmware. Women simply inherently have more value on dating "market" (feels weird to call it market, but I can't exactly articulate why).

For the payment idea, consider the incentives you're putting in place. You think you're building a dating site, but I think you'd end up with a sex chat site instead. Add video, and it's a cam site.

Replace the money with some sort of credit or token that guys get from other sources. Like getting replies from women or having pictures that are liked.

This already exists in NYC: https://trybounce.com/

>men are at a significant disadvantage

Datings apps aren't men vs women, where a woman wins and a man loses (or vice versa). Any real life connection that gets made is mutual. So what you mean is MOST or SOME men are at a disadvantage, and then you must ask which ones and why.

>One idea I've had is to disallow conversation in the app, and instead focus on making date plans if there's a match

Why not just do this yourself? It's not a bad strategy for a guy. Why does making this a rule forced on others do anything?

the plan part is a really interesting idea.

> the payment goes to the recipient

doesn't sound like a dating app, more like "uber for escorts"

already exists, Smooci

For the payment aspect, charge $5 then refund it once both people say they’ve met?

I have a friend who used to work for one of the bigger dating app services. He is an AI expert and wrote the matching algorithm for the service. He is very good at his job and his algorithm was so good that people matched, got married and stopped using the dating service. The higher ups in the company noticed the loss of revenue and asked him to make his algorithm worse so that people would match, date, but then break up and go back to their service. He proceeded to quit his job.

Charge $100-$4000 a person. Make money while taking customers from all other dating sites once word gets out your site works and theirs don't

How to approach the lack of network effect at the beginning while paying upfront? Many sites/apps are free for "basic" features, presumably for this reason.

Just advertise wedding services really hard in the app. If you're really good at creating a market, capitalize on it.

back in the early days of okcupid, my top two suggested matches were my first girlfriend and another girl who I had been friends with for years and had already been on a date with before either of us signed up. It was pretty remarkable. And this was when they didn't have anything like a social graph.

I married my #2 world match on okc. We were together for 10 years. Separated amicably and are still great friends.

I've now been with someone I met my second day on pof after being stalked on okc by an ex I met irl. I preceded to message with over 100 individuals on pof and met more than a dozen of them in person. Better than 80% of them had lied in their profiles in some way or another.

I focused on the most honest and compatible one. I fall more in love every day of the 2 years we've been together.

Online dating works. It's hard. But it works.

I don’t know about the truth of this but I can attest to a certain version of this from first hand experience.

If your profile is not as desirable or just average they start hiding your profile so you don’t get as many matches. Then you pay and start getting slightly more matches. Since you’re average you’ll keep paying for a while till you get matched or maybe not.

They keep a few of the desirable people visible without paying to make the app look good. But those people may never even see you unless you pay.

Capitalism rocks.

nkkollaw 54 days ago [flagged]

Dating is so much easier under socialism... I agree with you.

Please don't take HN threads further into ideological flamewar. We're trying to avoid that here.


Edit: yikes, it looks like you've repeatedly been posting unsubstantive and/or flamebaity comments. We ban accounts that do that. Can you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and use HN as intended? The idea is: if you have a substantive point to make, make it thoughtfully; if you don't, please don't comment until you do.

OK, sorry about that.

Dating apps are extremely broken, and yet they're almost all owned by a single company: Match Group. I have a suspicion that these apps are left intentionally broken to keep users fruitlessly searching and boost engagement metrics. I can't find a complete list of the companies they've acquired, but last time I checked, Match owns over 20 different apps and dating sites, including Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge. We really need some antitrust action in this space.

Sorry, but they're not extremely broken. I worked at OkCupid 8 years ago, saw the issues they faced then and have seen the evolution of the apps since then, and right now they really are as good as anyone's been able to come up with that attracts enough active users to generate promising dates.

If there were a drastically better solution, then it would take over the market. The last major innovation was when Tinder invented swiping and went mobile-first, a genius move which drastically cut down the spam women deal with and made it actually feel like a fun game instead of a chore.

The fact is, despite all the work of psychologists and technologists, nobody's come up with a better, more efficient way of matching people. Personality profiles and questionnaires are a poor predictor of chemistry -- they can help with filtering compatibility in basic ways, but they're not going to find you your soul mate.

Photos reveal potential likely chemistry more than anything else. Swiping works. Messaging works. The apps can't perform magic, though. If you're looking to find more success on them than you would with the same group of people at a bar or meetup or wherever, that's not gonna happen. They're not changing whether people are attracted to each other or not.

What they do do is give you a pool of users far larger than you'd ever encounter in a single night out, and you know they're mostly all single, also different from when you go out. And they're honestly pretty good at that.

>is give you a pool of users far larger than you'd ever encounter in a single night out

If the paradox of choice is actually true (as with anything in psychology, it needs further research to be sure), then this could be a major negative instead of a major positive.


At least for dating, there's an easy solution to the Paradox of Choice problem:

    1.  Be unattractive.
    2.  Don't be attractive.
Seriously, though, this probably was a factor for why I met my current wife on OKC. There were only a few plausible (at best) matches, she was the only one who could converse coherently, and, well, one thing led to another...

The very name plenty of fish leads one to believe there is always someone better. As such daters do not invest the time it takes to develop intimacy by growing trust, resolving incompatibilities, solving issues together, etc.

It enables a habit of bailing at the first sign of trouble.

FWIW, Coffee Meets Bagel had the limited pool of users as a key feature of their app, and they eventually killed that.

I don't think that applies here, although maybe I'm only right about users who understand what they are doing/have the right mindset.

I've lost the attribution, but someone said that "dating is a numbers game. The goal is to go on as many first dates as possible, to get in front of as many people as possible. At this, tinder (and associates) absolutely excel. There is no other way to reliably find a lot of single people to go on dates with."

That is not the mathematicians approach. https://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2014/05/15/312537965/h...

Most people commit to one person eventually so you'll need to make a choice.

Agreed, the general goal of dating apps is to generate pairs. But in order to generate the desired pair, as many pairs must be "brute forced" as possible, as efficiently as possible, is my point.

I think it might apply in one sense. If you're in a room and the most attractive people is a 6 or a 7 and maybe a 9 or a 10. You're more likely to have a conversation with the 6-7 range given you can tell if the other person is even interested and you have a limitation of choice, there might even be other things about the 9-10's that put you off. They seem more appealing, etc.

Go online, suddenly the pool is so large that you see dozens of 9-10's and swipe right on them, suddenly the 6-7s seem less attractive so you start swiping left when in a social setting you'd probably at least talk to them, you become more picky, and you end up getting fewer matches because the wealth of choice leads to you being pickier about physical attractiveness than you'd otherwise be IRL.

The critical assumption here is that the first date is a useful metric for a long term relationship. And I don't think that holds, using hiring as an analog

It's one of those situations in which something that's a major positive at an individual level becomes a major negative at the group level. Any given individual would prefer to have more choice if you asked him or her, but the overall effect of all this choice is probably to distort and delay normal pair bonding. If I were God emperor of mankind, I'd just ban dating apps as a way to solve this classic collective action problem.

>Any given individual would prefer to have more choice if you asked him or her

I think the issue here isn't one of what does a person wants, but what they benefit from. Sometimes people are harmed by what they want. In many cases this is obvious (think any addictions), but in others it belabors the mind as we struggle to see how something that looks harmless and helpful is actually harmful.

> They're not changing whether people are attracted to each other or not.

Sure they are. Good photos, filters, Photoshop, sometimes even fake pictures, make a huge difference.

When Tinder launched, you could only choose pictures that you've used as your Facebook profile picture. I thought it was a brilliant way to cut down on bullshit because you have to use a picture you were willing to show the whole world (so, less likely to use that photoshopped portrait that doesn't even look like you).

Though eventually you could upload any image.

Either way, I don't think it's such a big problem. Most people know that the feeling of betrayal is the last thing you want your date to feel when you walk into the room. It's just not a winning strategy.

If anything ever requires access to Facebook, you can be 100% sure that it's done to grab whatever info is in your FB profile and not for fancy security reasons.

Even if they started from another reason, they'll at some point want to grab the data.

> I worked at OkCupid 8 years ago...

OkCupid's problem, and the problem at Match Group in general, is that you learned something about 100% of OkCupid users instead of 0.01% of randomly-sampled real world people, and maybe that something that you learned was 200% wrong. And then, you think your answers are 1,000% more correct because 100% - 0.01% = 99.99%.

Granted that logic is great for equity investors. It just isn't necessarily great for users.

Nobody pushed back on the assumption that online dating was a representative sample. Nobody pushes back on whether the right questions were being asked. Match didn't even choose the right engagement metrics, choosing things like message reply rate which can rise while active users fall. The style of how these metrics were chosen and what analysis was done papered over serious issues. And all the people who would have, by now, the maturity and tenure to admit they were wrong are gone.

  Photos reveal potential likely chemistry
Photos say nothing about chemistry, using the dating-normal definition of the term. They only provide appearance, and usually an idealized version of that.

   I worked at OkCupid 8 years ago
You started before they were bought out by Match?

Chemistry is not a predictor of long-term relationship success.

Successful dating apps suffer from a shrinking user base.

TBH, I don't really think it has much to do with who owns them. The reason people are dissatisfied has to do with the fundamental experience of using an app to find love in the first place. Apologies for not having a link, but there has been a good amount of research that shows that the rise of apps and the internet has made it much less likely for people to date outside of their "attractiveness level". That is, previously, it was quite common for people to become friends as part of a mutual friend group, and after that happens your looks actually start to be less important. Someone who gets to know you may find you physically more attractive because they actually find your personality engaging.

With apps, though, there is plenty of data (the OkCupid blog has tons of great posts about this) that attractiveness is what counts far and away the most. And that's not surprising given the modality of how apps work, and I don't really see that changing.

I think people are generally unhappy with online data because it has a tendency to commoditize an interaction, and that's very unfortunate IMO.

In Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/0143038702/ ), one aspect of male life the author explores is wooing and dating.

Her initial expectation is that, with her inside understanding of female thinking, she will have an easy time courting. But she finds that in person, many women perceive and are uncomfortable with her lack of masculinity. Relationships usually fail quickly once they reach the point of in-person contact.

But there's a major exception to this rule: she also found that women usually required an extended period of online correspondence before agreeing to meet face-to-face. And during this period, her initial expectation was completely correct -- women appeared to judge the man according to how much they liked his writing, and what they were looking for was feminine, not masculine, writing. She experienced unusual success in getting to the first date in the first place.

We can make a small interpretive leap to say that this suggests women are actually looking for the wrong things when they use online dating apps, proactively selecting men they are unlikely to be attracted to in person.

It seems shockingly unethical for Norah Vincent to deceive those other women just to gather material for her book. If a real sociologist proposed to do such an experiment with human subjects I can't imagine that an Institutional Review Board would ever allow it.

>"this suggests women are actually looking for the wrong things when they use online dating apps"

That is quite the claim!

Many people if asked can't articulate what they want, and yet know or recognize it when they see it.

I suspect this also the same for men. In general people don't actually know what they want.

In the author's opinion, what men are looking for in online dating apps is to dispense with the app:

> For a little contrast, I went on a few dates with men as a woman during the course of my time as Ned. The men I met on the internet, and then subsequently in person, didn't require this epistolary preamble, nor did they offer it. They were eager to meet as soon as possible, usually, I found, because they wanted to see what I looked like. Their feelings or fantasies would be based on that far more than, or perhaps to the exclusion of, anything I might write to them.

Say what you will about this attitude, I wouldn't say that the men are looking for something different online than they are in person. Rather, they think online interaction is getting in the way of what they want, and they do their best to avoid it.

> We can make a small interpretive leap to say that this suggests women are actually looking for the wrong things when they use online dating apps, proactively selecting men they are unlikely to be attracted to in person.

This is the most interesting information from this thread so far. Thanks for the idea.

Is it not possible that people are actually happier "dating within their attractiveness level?" It certainly seems like that might be the case, if (as you say) people do tend to do that when they find an app that enables doing that.

Can you say more about what’s not working?

I’ve been with my girlfriend three years, just bought a car together. It’s going well! We met on OKcupid.

I’m a happy customer, though I don’t think I’ve ever paid them anything.

Survivorship Bias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

I met my wife online after a year of fruitless first dates. Maybe I'm just unappealing or something but it was truly a miserable part of my life.

Edit: I'm gonna add in here that most people don't have the stick-to-itiveness that most readers of this site do.

It's not survivorship bias if you failed 100 times before your 1 success. It's only survivorship bias if they hit the jackpot and the very first date worked out perfectly and they lived happily ever after.

I was grinding away on tinder/going on dates for months before I found success. But that's not the dating app's fault - I was seeing the same thing using non-app strategies.

Survivorship bias is anyone who has had success at a task, regardless of how long it took. The lottery winner who played every week for 40 years will tell you buying a ticket every week is the secret to success at winning, irrespective of the millions of people who do that and never win.

So the grandparent comment did use the term correctly. Unless they were responding to someone who never “won” at the dating game.

The ultimate statistical issue is about the outcome of a task biasing the incentive for testifying about the task. It’s usually winners who are more prone to speak to their approach to the problem than losers, so we don’t know if the winning solution is representative of success or an aberration from the norm.

> Survivorship bias is anyone who has had success at a task, regardless of how long it took.

I don't believe that. It depends on the task and how much of it is chance vs. skill. Winning the lotto is literally 100% chance, 0% skill. Odds are worse than 1 in a million, so yes, I agree with your assertion that a lotto winner who played for 40 years and finally won is exhibiting survivorship bias if they claim the key to winning is playing every week.

However, if I have a goal to run a 6 minute mile, and I fail 100 times before I finally succeed. Does that mean I have survivorship bias if I say that I found running a little faster every day and not giving up to be the key to success?

Dating does have an element of chance, yes, but it also has an element of skill - you get better social skills the more you use them. It's a bit disingenuous to compare "the dating game" (which billions of people "win" every year) to lotto (which probably < 100 people win per year).

If I had to start the dating game all over knowing what I know now, I'm confident I could find a wife much faster than my first time around - especially with the help of online dating apps. I'm older and wiser and I understand females now way better than I did when I started out.

I like how "a year" and "months" is mentioned as if either one is a particularly long time. Many people go their entire lives without ever managing to find a compatible partner.

I met a couple of interesting people over the years on OkCupid and Meetic. Three, total. Over nine years. I dated one of them briefly, made excellent friends with another.

I ended up in a now-ended relationship with someone I met in an online forum, and now in a very happy relationship with someone I met at a board game Meetup.

Dating sites made me feel miserable when I used them. Constantly fruitless, frustrating. Any success I've had with them is survivorship bias.

This shouldn't be a numbers game. The fact that it is exacerbates the "inbox bloat" attractive people get.

> This shouldn't be a numbers game

This is almost exactly how it is in real life though. The more people you approach for a date -> the more chances you might have. And forget actual dating apps - people are using regular social media like Instagram to "meet" people too.

So you met your wife after a year and call the whole thing a failure?

What I'm saying is a might as well have dated random people for a year, it would have been the same result. The dating sites sell you on 'matching.'

Oh, and if you think you're using it for free, think again. They are collecting all kinds of personal information about you

> What I'm saying is a might as well have dated random people for a year, it would have been the same result. The dating sites sell you on 'matching.'

Dating apps sell you on showing you more people you otherwise would never meet. The chemistry and "good match" are left to the two people to figure out via chatting and a date.

I think this is the right attitude (and correct description), but not everyone understands this. I have a friend who finally started using dating apps after I've pressured him for years. From my view, he is a decent guy who is reasonably good looking, but had no luck getting dates the "old fashioned way". He hasn't had any serious relationships success (i.e. anything greater then 6 months), but he is actually getting dates now. He still complains about the "quality" of the dates, but I honestly think a dating app can only match you based on so much, and from there you have to take over the work.

> I have a friend who finally started using dating apps after I've pressured him for years.

Dear God why would you do this to someone?

If the friend expressed that he wants to date, pressure/suggest dating apps make sense.

If that is not the case I agree with you.

Loneliness sucks, and for some people it can be difficult to try to meet new people in “real-world” social interactions.

I'm one of those people, but dating apps only ever made things worse. I can't imagine why anyone would want to use them unless they literally could not live with being alone. Fortunately for me I have decades of experience at that.

> I can't imagine why anyone would want to use them

I'll tell you why: Why be content only meeting the subset of women I can meet face-to-face in my free time when I can complement my social life with a dating app that helps me meet more?

I can do both.

I can only understand your confusion if you have zero success on dating apps and assume nobody else has any success, either. And there are people obviously having success on dating apps.

> Why be content only meeting the subset of women I can meet face-to-face in my free time when I can complement my social life with a dating app that helps me meet more?

Show me the data that says meeting many more potential partners leads to happier more fulfilling relationships, because I certainly haven't seen it.

Yeah, my attitude was always that I could filter out “definitely no” in the app, but there’s no way to tell a “maybe” from a “hell yes” until you meet in person.

Only OkCupid does; Tinder barely tries and even then it's hidden. For the most part the selling point is that you get introduced to people you wouldn't just meet in your normal social cirlces/events. Apps besides OkCupid have mostly moved to the model where you put in a few basic facts (age/sex, do you drink, etc), upload some pictures, a short (< 500 characters in Tinder) text blob, and off you go swiping. There's no attempt to match you on interests let alone any deeper compatibility metrics.

Also on the data collection front, the business model is more based around advertising, and just knowing you're single is all the info they need. They can bombard you with ads for events to go to, clothes to wear, etc. You're the most lucrative market if you're 18-35 and single.

Actually, they do try to match you on attractiveness. Also how much you swipe. If you swipe to like every profile you get different results.

This is what I meant by "barely". It still makes no effort to actually look for compatibility.

Don't most people use dating apps to essentially "randomly meet people"? My impression is that the dating app is simply a relatively new "place" to "randomly meet people." It's basically just like any other place to randomly meet people, like church, a hobby, a bar, a party, etc.

well, when using these sites/apps, people have different motivations. some are fairly short term (exotic weekend abroad, want a romantic experience on top). some just want to meet new people. some want to find whatever love means to them. some people are bored and want attention from people.

it sounds like you wanted to find a long term/partner for kids/etc. type thing. that's fine, just realize not everyone on these sites/apps are looking for that, and there's no motivation to give you that bc your value to them ends when you're off the platform.

Seems like it worked? Most people don't find anyone to be in an actual relationship with.

> I met my wife online after a year of fruitless first dates.

If you found them all to be so fruitless, never enjoying yourself at all, then yes that does sound kind of unappealing. Sorry to come in here and bust your chops while knowing nothing about you :) But shouldn't dating be enjoyable?

While it could have been stated more delicately, there is, in my experience, truth in the statement as I have found that enjoyment and success (for whatever subjective definition of the word in this context) in dating has largely been dependent on my own attitude at the time, and less with the way I met the other person.

Why was it miserable?

My personal experience is that dating itself just a miserable, tedious affair. Online dating at best doesn't make it any better.

Dating is only as miserable and tedious as you want to make it. If you're not satisfied with results so far then change your approach. This may require multiple iterations over several years until you find something that works for you.

Been there, done that, decided it wasn't worth the continued effort.

This isn't the first time I've seen you in dating-related threads, I recognize the username since it makes me chuckle (aren't we all?).

If you've given up the game, and I can certainly empathize -- it's a real crapshoot --, why do you feel the need to share such a strong opinion in these types of threads as if nobody else is having any luck in the dating world? Isn't this obviously a personal problem?

In case someone out there is in a similar situation and might be afraid to just let go. There's a lot of societal pressure built up around coupling, but the truth is that for a lot of people it really isn't worth it and the effort only makes our lives worse. I guess I'm trying to show that it's ok, they're not alone, and it isn't really a big deal.

Over and over I got excited that I was going to meet a person who ostensibly had a lot in common with me, and it just never was the case. I also continually got the same search results all year.

It's hardly fair to blame the dating service for your unrealistic expectations. Having a lot in common isn't a sound basis for a relationship. Most first dates never turn into anything; that's always been the case and it's just how humans work.

It's not surprising that you got the same results all year. The matching algorithms don't change very quickly.

Yeah, I know more about my compatibility with someone after talking with them for a few minutes that I do from reading a perfect list of their interests and opinions.

It's why we date instead of picking our spouse from an Excel spreadsheet.

Dating apps cannot fix this, but they can make it easier to meet more people.

I thought a great take on this was the Black Mirror episode where your dating-app compatibility score with someone was the percentage of times your virtual clone escapes the simulation with them. How else can you predict chemistry?

OKCupid has really been pushed to adopt the tinder based swipe approach in the past 2 years or so. They've also had a few big PR screw ups with forcing users to present their real names and really shifting the feature set to be more like Tinder now.

It's really not the same as okcupid from 4 years ago

I agree.

I used the old OkCupid for years and met a few new friends through it.

It tended to match me up with people already in my "friends of friends" extended circles, with good quality common interests and attitudes, and was great for expanding those circles. I thought it was one of the best sites on the net for getting to know new people. (Way better than, say, Facebook, where you exchange comments but never really get to know new people one-on-one.)

And with people I already knew, we would have fun checking out how well OkCupid thought we matched up.

I want back a couple of years ago, after a few years break, and OkCupid had removed everything that made it useful before. I mean everything. It just wasn't any use. Sadness.

Never been back since.

It's a shame there's nothing else on the net like the old OkCupid. It was socially useful and unique.

Hopefully someone will come along and replicate the good parts in a new site someday.

I'm sure plenty of HNers can give you tips for making friends on Tinder: you simply fail to attract the opposite person. ;)

Tinder is completely different. Initial matching is based on looks, and the emphasis is on dating/sex rather than friendship.

OkCupid was based on knowledge and attitudes as well, using a type of machine-assisted learning that deduced what people really find important to know about each other. Rather than what someone designing a questionaire assumes. And rather than people relying on looks, impulsive attraction, and random early conversations where people are winging it.

The central idea, in addition to free-form profiles, was users submitted a lot of answers to multiple-choice questions, as well as the answers they would like a potential match to have (because they might be different), and how important each answer was to them. So this worked well for people who were looking for attributes that complemented theirs, in addition to other attributes where similarity was what mattered.

In addition, users could submit questions, and over time the system grew to mainly ask those questions that were found to be statistically useful in matching people up.

This meant great questions for matching would rise to the top of the pool, while poor questions, or badly written ones, or unhelpfully ambiguous ones, would not.

This also meant that the kinds of things people ended up matching on were more diverse than any other site. So it really helped people find matches on non-mainstream attributes that mattered to them personally, that were not generally reflected on other sites (such as match.com...). Things like how much do you like your partner to dress as a goth, do you mind if your partner sleeps with other people too, and if not what about cuddling others without sex, not just what's your orientation, but effectively what subtle aspects of orientation that haven't been formally enumerated, does it bother you if your partner supports a particular type of politics, what about bedtimes, what is your approach to raising children (smack or never smack), do you like drugs and if so what kind, etc. Basically anything you can think of which humans actually care about.

It was an excellent way to find people that shared your attitudes and worldview, especially if you had non-mainstream interests.

Tinder will give you none of that.

Yes, that's the impact of Match Group buying OkCupid. They've just about entirely completed homogenization with their other dating apps.

Things get a bit kookey when you realize their business model depends on people not finding partners. The longer you're single, the longer you're on their platform, so the more money you make them. There's no incentive for them to actually match you with anyone apart from trust.

I suspect a lot of people would be far more interested in a "pay us $X, money back guarantee if you don't get a date" kind of service. At least that way your and the company's interests are aligned.

That's only if one assumes long-term monogamous relationships, but there's no reason to only consider those.

In fact, if a dating app worked very well, non-monogamous and short term relationships would probably be more satisfying.

Was that before OKcupid was bought by Match?

They used to be very critical of other dating sites, but I think those posts have been removed, now that they're owned by Match.

Before Match bought them OKC had an excellent blog post in which they demonstrated that Match customers were 12x less likely than the general population to get married...

Most of my friends (both male and female) complain about dating apps. It may be highly local problem though, related to the culture of the city I live in. Usually when travelling I noticed it worked much better for me.

I think we complain about dating apps because it's a harder pill to swallow that dating itself is a crapshoot, and you just sound like an incel when you complain about dating and how unfair life is.

Besides, aren't we presumably on Tinder because of the logistical downsides of meeting people otherwise? Nothing stops us from using Tinder as a supplement. If dating was so great and without trade-offs, we wouldn't have downloaded Tinder to begin with. :)

OKC used to be a nice usable site where you could meet interesting people and talk. They also used to publish quite a lot of original research.

They got bought out by Match a few years ago, at which point it suddenly became swiping and now you can't message (or see messages) without having first matched with each other.

tldr: Once sold, it went from an interesting place to a cesspit quite rapidly.

I matched with my wife on OKcupid, for me it worked well.

Me too. This was 5 years ago, so perhaps it has moved on per the other comments, but it definitely was the best of the lot when I was dating.

Perhaps the OkCupid you used three years ago to meet your girlfriend isn't the same OkCupid experience that users have now.

I met my last girlfriend on Okcupid several years ago, too.

Okcupid now works like a slightly modified Tinder. It's awful.

I've noticed Hinge go way down in quality since Match bought them. Where on Tinder, 1/10 gals ever reply to a message. Hinge used to be 1 out of 2 (or higher). Now it's slowly creeping down to Tinder levels.

Or maybe it's just me.

It’s somehow in the nature of dating apps to wax and wane, much like social networks. There’s some sense of novelty and excitement that wears off eventually. I think Tinder will eventually die too, and by the sound of it, already is well on its way.

Can confirm that in the UK, Tinder is pretty terrible. Hinge and Bumble are OK. OKCupid is gently dying under Match.com's tender care, but it's still my favourite because people actually have to say something about themselves.

Can also confirm that online dating is a horrible, confidence-destroying nightmare (presumably for both sexes).

> Can also confirm that online dating is a horrible, confidence-destroying nightmare (presumably for both sexes).

It is, though it's more the overall culture it has created than online dating itself. The culture where there's always more and better options so you shouldn't commit to anything, where cancelling plans is just a text away so nobody takes them seriously. It's infested even non-dating relationships and is quite confidence destroying to have people cancel on you constantly.

Also, when I changed genders the dynamic did shift a lot, but it's still confidence destroying. As a male-identified person it was very hard to get matches and the whole process was a tremendous amount of work. As a female identified person (though still dating women) the number of matches I have is basically infinite. Most of the other steps are easier too, though it is still a fair amount of work to get someone to show up. But when they do, it's rare to find people looking for emotional intimacy. It's much easier to wind up feeling used (as an experiment or otherwise). Queer drama is crushing in its own unique way.

Even if you are reasonably attractive and desirable, people still want to invest the minimum, play the numbers game, and not commit to anything. Even if you're 90th percentile, that still means 1 in 10 are more <insert trait here> than you, so you can keep re-rolling; why not? I'm absolutely not immune to doing this myself; my standard for "Someone for tonight" is worlds apart from "Someone to have a relationship with", but it's not exactly like I'd disclose that up front, even if I immediately know what category my date is in.

> horrible, confidence-destroying nightmare (presumably for both sexes).

After watching over my single-mother sister's shoulder while she used her okcupid account, I highly doubt it's anywhere near as confidence-destroying for women as it is men.

For her, she could login to okcupid any time she wanted an ego boost. She was constantly barraged with messages and likes, it was a completely different experience for her to login vs. me. I didn't even know those notifications stacked up across the screen, for her it was a maelstrom of attention.

There's a difference between good attention and bad attention.

Likes are cheap; they literally cost nothing. So are message that say "hi", with no indication that they've even read your profile. Logging into a dating app and discovering thousands of people -- all of whom seem to know only that you're female and therefore approve -- is as soul-sucking as getting no attention at all.

I was very popular on online dating sites, because I knew how to talk to women as if they represented something other than a place to put my dick. All of the women I spoke to were incredibly discouraged by quality of attention they received. Ask your sister what fraction of those stacked-up notifications consisted solely of the word "hi".

Most women seem to get tired of the attention that merely tells them that they're attractive. It's an ego boost for a while, and I'm sure some retain it, but it's the kind of thing you get inured to, and you want something else.

The experience for women is different, but not necessarily better, and the things that a man might crave simply because he doesn't receive it will feel empty to a woman precisely because she does. There's a cultural asymmetry that doesn't lead either side to what they're after. But men can do a lot better simply by treating women like human beings, and understanding that they've got problems different from yours.

> Ask your sister what fraction of those stacked-up notifications consisted solely of the word "hi".

We ended up discussing her dating experience at length at the time. Honestly it was plain ridiculous. Sure, many of the OKC messages were short "hi" or other thoughtless one-liners. But the content didn't matter, she treated them all as signals for a live one which drew her to their profiles where she would then hold a little impromptu trial of eligibility based on their photos and profiles. Most of the time she wouldn't respond, and it had nothing to do with the content of the messages. It's the photos, age, race, married/divorced status and religion that matter to her. The message notification just made her look.

What I saw was the polar opposite effect to "confidence-destroying". She became increasingly superior and picky with all the interest. And when she did go on real dates, she would find the smallest flaw as fatal because she had the impression that there were an effectively unlimited supply of competitors.

It's not my place to criticize the way she uses the apps. If that's what's making her happy, then I'm happy for her.

It does sound as if she got "gamified", taking pleasure in the app giving her pings. Such things afflict most of us in one way or another (including me). I suspect she'd find it more satisfying to seek out thoughtful men who are interested in her as a person -- but like I said, she should do whatever she wants.

My understanding of women's take on dating apps is, of course, heavily informed by the fact that they were usually dating me, and selected for that.

OkCupid used to do a lot of interesting statistical reports.

One of them said that for some women, it was pretty good if you like incoming messages and interest.

But for the other women, it was horrible because you'd get ignored, except for those weird cock shots most women get, which adds a bit of creepiness to make the experience worse.

Basically, women are sorted into attractive and unattractive by whatever arbitrary standard of the day, and the latter cohort had very little interest.

The statistics also indicated that skin colour made a big difference.

The tinder that people paint is about online dating is dying or long since dead.

The real tinder, the tinder investors actually give a fuck about, the tinder that’s about one night stands and casual encounters, that tinder is doing fine and has always been doing fine, regardless of the dying puritan tinder the media solely focuses on. Simply put, no one has offered a replacement. Long tinder.

I just looked up the acquisition and it looks like it was around February of this year. I met my girlfriend on Hinge the previous October, and after a series of mostly fruitless and/or boring dates on both Tinder and Bumble she was my only in-person meeting from Hinge, but even in the few short weeks I used that app, the message rate seemed much higher as well as the quality of conversation. Sad to see that it's been degrading recently.

I agree that we definately need healthy competition in this space.

But, there may be other reasons why it doesn't work for some people: supply and demand. Those demographics that are in high demand will find that they have a lot of dating choices, for instance (women in their 20s are in extremely high demand) whereas older women have a much harder time. You can see this reflected in the # of profiles per age group. In the 20-30 group there's almost 3 to 1 ratio of males to females, at least in SF, when I last did the count. On other hand male to female ratio is almost even in the 40-50. and for over 50 males will have a big advantage because there's more women than men.

It's interesting. With the laws of supply and demand it doesn't make sense. If equal numbers of men and women are looking shouldn't there be an equal number at least by age.

There are the same number of 40/50 year olds but males will target younger females. Where women will stay in there age range so they have less choices and the 20 year old female has more. So the 40 male who sticks to his age group would have more choices. The 20s male will have more competition but should come out on top. The 40 male who sticks to 20 year olds must strike out a lot.

So, as you aluded to, it's a matter of math. if 20s,30s and 40s males are generally targetting women in 20s then men in general who are in their 20s will have a much worse time.

Some regions like san antonio or san jose simply have more males than females ~ roughly 2-9% more. That doesn't sound like a lot, but run the numbers on this. If 80% of the population is already coupled up, that leaves 20% single. Now if you have 29% males and 20% female, it means single males outnumber single females almost 3 to 2, which is quite a large margin.

Worked for me... met my wife on Tinder, been married 5 years.

For me the hard part was just finding new girls outside of my immediate social circle. Tinder just helped me meet lots of new girls I would have normally never met.

I find it's best to take part in some local activity in your city. Just meet as many people as possible, and they might have a friend who fancies you.

I was on online dating for years and it was a huge waste of time, but met my fiancée through the local improv community.

I don't think this is the kind of thing you can generalize. I have a very small social life, and I like it that way. I met my wife online (OkCupid, 8 years ago) and I don't think I would ever have met anyone without it. In my opinion, do what works for you and stop doing what you aren't enjoying.

Sorry, I should have better qualified what I wrote. What I mean though is that if you're having trouble meeting people, try expanding your social circles through new activities.

If something works for you by all means do it, but if nothing seems to be working it's definitely a worthwhile step.

Your advice is spot on: I think it's uncontroversial to say that it's ideal to arrange your life such that you're meeting dating candidates all the time.

But you can also use Tinder alongside this. And if you can't meet anyone by nature of your job, then you're not left with many hours of daylight to meet people more organically. That's why dating apps are so helpful.

Somehow in these conversations though, people seem to reveal that they were under the impression that a dating app like Tinder was a completely replacement for a social life instead of a useful supplement. I think your advice is in this category.

I'm not intentionally trying to be rude here, but if you are able to go on dates, Tinder is working just fine. It is a dating app after all.

If you are unable to take it a step further than the dating, it's not Tinders fault.

My wife is a dating coach, and it always amazes her (and me) how unwilling men are to learn and improve themselves. It is not working for them, yet they don't accept advice that could drastically improve their chances. Women are way different in this.

And yes, my wife and I met on Tinder ;).

The parent comment said nothing about being able to go on dates. I don't know where you read that. It could really be Tinder's fault. I've used it over the last few years and while my profile hasn't changed appreciably, I noticed way less success with the app over the past year alone.

As for self-development, I agree with you that men tend to be unwilling to learn a lot of the time. But from what I've seen from women, they also don't really want to learn. It's how people are.

Tinder is, for the most part, heavily reliant on first impressions with regard to looks. If you are a man and you are seeking women on Tinder, you better have your shit together when it comes to that, or you're not going to get anywhere.

This means high-quality photos, clothes, haircut and so on. I'm not saying this is a lot, because dating can be expensive anyway. It's more so that men are not really encouraged to invest in their looks and wardrobe as much as women are.

If you're getting matches and you're not converting them to dates, well, that's another thing entirely.

Do you have any suggestions to improve dating apps?

I am wanting to be social again after a divorce, and am not willing to join any of the dating apps currently available.

Here is what I'd like to see:

First-name only user names, real names/account names should be hidden or opaque

No association with or dependency on external social media accounts

Reasonable monthly service fee (around $10/month) with the promise of no advertising, tracking, geotracking, or selling of user data

Pull only notification

Strict never-match criteria

Hyper-local geographical matching, with ability to turn on (I'm heading out tonight and am available) and turn off (the rest of the time)

I mean... with the exception of advertising, you just described tinder.

Tinder has points 1, 2 (if you use your phone number), the first part of 3 (but it's more like $20) and 6. Some apps have certain no-match criteria.

What could they do they make them not broken?

Sometimes I don't get notified when people message me on OkCupid and Tinder. That means conversations that may lead to me actually getting a date might end prematurely because of software failure. The question would be whether that's a bug or a feature.

Personal opinion? Nothing. Some problems cannot be fixed with a website.

See also: Facebook/Insta/Whatsapp.

One of the (many) major flaws in capitalism is that it incentivises the elimination of competition.

Ironically, that's the opposite effect that it is supposed to have.

There's sadly a big difference between capitalism in theory and in practice. Concentrating a lot of wealth and power in a single entity is going to skew the power balance.

I think capitalism might be better off without corporations.

Capitalism, and also every other aspect of human life. People get riled up about peripheral issues like Citizens United, but they're uncomfortable considering the basic problem. Corporations are creations of the state. Their every quality, including their existence, is contingent upon continuous government action to protect and sustain them. Some government somewhere should try just not doing that anymore.

I suspect most countries expect to be at a disadvantage on the international stage if they ban corporations. But certainly decreasing the power of corporations and increasing their liability might be a good first step.

Most supporters of neoliberalism don't know Adam Smith himself anticipated your observation and argued for the solution - i.e. regulation.

Absolutely. He was strongly opposed to monopolies and cartels, and I believe he even argued for what basically amounts to labor unions. He was incredibly prescient.

Indeed. I got downvoted for the above, but Thatcher-Reaganomics involved crushing the unions - exactly the opposite of what Smith would have argued for.

Yeah, no idea where your downvotes come from; I upvoted you to compensate. Because you're right. Adam Smith was very aware that a free market requires protecting that freedom, which means regulation. A market dominated by only one or two big players is not free; it needs to be accessible to everybody.

My favourite take on this is Peter Thiel's discussion of monopolies and restaurants.

As an investor in Match Group, and a witness to some of the behind the scenes data on dating apps, I can confidently say most reports of “broken dating apps” can simply be attributed to user error.

This is what you should say as an investor.

Match is not responsible for your lack of success in online dating. Having a lot of brands is not a good reason to involve the government. Hilton hotels has over a dozen brands. There's nothing stopping you from creating a competing dating app. If you have some insight into what's "extremely broken" and a solution for it, you might even attract customers.

Sorry for being brash, but I've been seeing a lot of unjustified "just bring in the anti-trust hammer, that will fix all the problems in tech" posts lately, and most of them are fairly baseless.

It's not about the number of brands but the percentage owned of the market. Hilton has a dozen brands but they're just one of several brands competing in the space. If Hilton bought up Marriott and IHG and Accor and Choice and Wyndham and Starwood, THEN you'd have a point.

If Match owns all of the dating sites/apps and intentionally makes terrible matches to keep people engaged and buys out any competitor that challenges that, well we call that abusing a monopoly.

If you've been seeing "anti-trust" mentioned a lot with the tech industry lately, it's probably because the tech industry is a huge unregulated market just overflowing with anti-trust concerns.

If you are an innovator in a space - first to market - by definition you'll have the majority percentage of the market. Online dating is a very young industry compared to hotels. Why not give other firms the chance to compete organically with Match, instead of itching for regulation so eagerly before we've really seen the industry play out?

My point is that competing hotel brands did not need the government's help to come into existence, and the barrier to entry for a new hotel company is insurmountable compared to writing a dating app.

OkCupid was launched in 2004. They were bought by Match in 2011.

Plenty Of Fish was launched in 2003. They were bought by Match in 2015.

Hinge was launched in 2012. They were bought by Match in 2018.

Meetic was launched in 2001. They were bought by Match in 2009.

I agree, why don't we give other firms the chance to compete organically with Match? And maybe the right way to do that is to block Match from buying them.

Were any of the above firms that wanted to compete with Match, or were they just happy with being bought out?

I mean, in your scenario, if I had a successful dating app and wanted to be acquired by someone, I could end up being prevented from doing so.

What major dating sites are not owned by Match?

Bumble, despite Match's best attempts to buy it out, and once that failed, to sue it into oblivion.

Facebook dating was announced recently. It doesn't really change my argument even if there weren't any major competitors; it's a prime space for entrepreneurs if it is as broken as people claim - there is a pretty low barrier to entry.

Maybe the "getting big enough to have Match buy us" could be the entire business plan for the next app to "compete" in this market? If you can bootstrap yourself along for getting Match's attention, you might not need the investors.

Grindr, although "dating" may be a stretch.

The anti-trust hammer won't fix the problems in tech, but it will definitely fix the problems with tech: too much power over us. If they're busy competing with each-other for customers, maybe they won't abuse so much...

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact