This is crazy... So crazy I can see it actually catching on. I'm quite interested to see how many people start using this.
I also like how they say "[each] Crazy Blind Date account is tied to a phone" I'd argue that's a very false sense of security/safety, as it's trivial for anyone to obtain a different (or temporary) phone number. On that point though, I guess you're just as safe with a blind internet date as with one you "electronically know".
And heck, let's be honest with ourselves. Maybe it will work better if you, the technically-inclined HN reader, is not allowed to pick-and-choose who you're going to date next, but your next date is chosen based on your interests and some "magic". After all, isn't that how love is supposed to work?
I'm not sure if a "literal" blind date is a good thing. Most "blind dates" that people go on traditionally come through friends of friends. That means they aren't vetted just for interests and such but the datee/victim can be reasonably sure they are also vetted for personal appearance. Let's face it - this is huge. Depending on the friend, they can also be vetted based on a few of the hundreds of idiosyncrasies that a person has.
I've been out of the dating scene for quite some time but I don't think personal profiles have advanced all that much. Especially when people are notoriously bad at actually describing themselves in an accurate way. After all, we all think we're normal. The truth is rather different.
Instead of computer programs, why not just develop a site that lets your friends (your real friends) pick your perspective blind date? That would be the million dollar idea right there, IMHO.
OkCupid probably has a very good idea of how attractive a person is based on how many profile views and messages they get. I'd be very surprised if they aren't using that data to match roughly equally attractive people. Perhaps they are even taking personal preferences into account with probabilistic matrix factorization that is often used for recommendation systems. Basically if person X shows interest in A, and person Y shows interest in A and in B, then this makes it more likely that person X will like B as well. Whether A and B are movies, products on Amazon or people on OkCupid, PMF can exploit this kind of data to match people to products or to other people.
The biggest problem with algorithmic blind dating is probably not actual average quality of dates, but rather (perceived) risk of going on a bad date. People trust their friends a lot more than an algorithm.
>I'd be very surprised if they aren't using that data to match roughly equally attractive people.
I can confirm this is true. Last year, as an experiment, I made a dummy account with a picture of former NFL quarterback Kyle Boller but the same profile/personality as me. His matches are significantly more attractive than mine. He also received this email a few weeks after registration:
We just detected that you're now among the most attractive people on OkCupid.
We learned this from clicks to your profile and reactions to you in Quickmatch and Quiver. Did you get a new haircut or something?
Well, it's working!
To celebrate, we've adjusted your OkCupid experience:
You'll see more attractive people in your match results.
This won't affect your match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But we'll recommend more attractive people to you. You'll also appear more often to other attractive people.
Sign in to see your newly-shuffled matches. Have fun, and don't let this go to your head
"You'll see more attractive people in your match results."
Reading this email actually disturbed me. A computer program is telling you that you're attractive, and that it's going to hustle "more of the attractive people" to you.
"the attractive people"
I'm only 20 years old and still have plenty to learn about ladies and relationships, but I know I can do better than have a server cluster tell me who is "in my league" and who are "the attractive people." Holy shit.
It is easy for the attractive to say that; like most traits, people don't like to believe dumb luck helped them. It makes a much better personal narrative if it was their own hard work. That doesn't mean it's backed up by any fact.
Yeah. Attractive people are fairly consistently approached or hit on or treated differently or what have you every day in real life. Remove the approach anxiety that the other 90% who DON'T approach these people but want to by creating an easy forum for approach, and you have an overwhelming amount of messaging. I don't blame girls for being quickly disillusioned. Even as a guy, I feel like the pickings are slim, and I'd much rather date a friend than meet someone through OkC.
> OkCupid probably has a very good idea of how attractive a person
They do. They will tell you when they think you attractive. You get a message like "Congrats, you're in the top X% of attractiveness on OKC, we'll start showing you more attractive matches now." This is something only those attractive people know about.
Women on OKCupid tend to rate men disproportionately low. There is an OKCupid blog post showing the distribution of the ratings they give men, and they are strongly skewed towards the lower end of the scale. This is one of the many reasons I don't use online dating sites.
Ok, that's true, and could potentially have the side effect that matches presented to women are more random (more noise in the data).
Even then, it seems like the effect would be kinda weak, no? And no individual guy loses out, except possibly to someone who was just about as attractive as him anyway (and he's equally as likely to gain).
Male attractiveness is a lot more malleable than female attractiveness. Go to the gym, learn how to tell if clothes fit you and what colours suit you, always shower and shave, and get a decent haircut. You have now jumped 5-10% in attractiveness. Those are the biggest relatively easy gains. Posture isn't that hard to fix but it's hard to keep it fixed. After that there's the hard shit, becoming a more interesting, fun or rich person.
The company I work for (a face recognition software company) has done some research on assessing attractiveness from photos of faces (as have some other research groups and no doubt other companies). Maybe using this to assess yourself would be useful. Or you could just put yourself on hotornot.
OKC actually did a blog post  about attractiveness by camera model, and (unsurprisingly?) photos taken by more expensive cameras were rated as more attractive than those taken by cheap camera phones.
Obviously there's dozens of confounding variables (if you have an expensive camera, you're more likely to know how to take a good photo), but still.
But there's several ways to dissect this data. For example, the number of unsolicited messages that a man gets and the number of followups (and perhaps, how fast those followup messages occur) is probably a good insight to how "attractive" he is.
Now if you think its harder to determine this for females because the amount of noise that they get...then the computer can factor in the number of "attractive" men (as judged above) who fawn over you, either by messaging or stalky profile views.
And of course, number of profile views (over time) and by repeat viewers (indicating the number of obsessed secret fans you have) is probably a good baseline to start from.
Okay but obviously we know that's not a real picture, but instead a hyperbole of a photo. Still proves your point, I suppose. It's fun meeting people in real life then finding them on Facebook and seeing their complete lie of a profile picture that makes them look 3-4 points higher on a 10 point scale than they really are.
They definitely sort people into attractiveness tiers of some sort. You'll get a message mentioning that you're in the top half the first time their metrics indicate so, and it claims that this affects what members are presented/suggested to you. I'm not sure if this is based solely on the star ratings members can assign, or if they take other interactions into account.
I wouldn't be surprised if they do more subtle things with the same data as well.
At the startup talk this year Mark mentioned that he thinks there's still a huge space available for services based on meeting new people rather than connecting friends and it's a space they're not interested in.
Of course that tune could change if something started to take off.
why not just develop a site that lets your friends (your real friends) pick your perspective blind date?
Crowdsourcing dating. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not convinced it would work. The prospective date would have to be a friend of all the friends 'voting'- if you have that many friends in common you probably already know each other. Or even if you don't, your social circles are close enough that a bad date could be socially awkward.
I can imagine a large percentage of first uses being friends intentionally trying to send their friends on horrible dates as a gag. Having a 2-sided suggestion may work well, where you can suggest a date, D, for one of your trusted friends, F. Any of D's trustees can see D's suggestions, and vote to confirm. If the vote is successful by some metric, F's trustees can perform a similar vote. If this final vote succeeds, D & F are presented with the opportunity.
That actually exists already. It's called LikeBright, and it hooks up to your Facebook, pulls mutual friends, and has you vet them for each person, basically asking "would you see these two people dating?" And if you have a mutual friend, and that friend has vetted you, you can just go ahead and message.
totally agree, my best dates/relationships always came from meeting through friends. it takes the pressure off and you know they are not freaks/psychos, and you already have friends in common. hence, Link4Love! still new but check out the video, make sense right?
2-3 years ago OKC tried this CBD here in SF. I tried it, but couldn't get 1 date out of it. Most of the times, there was no response; and the one time we decided to meet somewhere, she didn't show up. Then OKC shut it down.
On asking women friends, the general feeling I got was that women were much more leery of going on a blind date, figuratively, blind about the other person.
However: that was my experience with women in their 30s. Will it be the same for women in their, say, early 20s? Who knows. As it is we're seeing a massive shift in social interactions with SnapChat, FB Poke, etc. People are sexting more, for instance.
It is a good idea, which, if executed well, can have legs.
I used it back then, twice, getting two dates out of it. The first was reasonably fun but we probably weren't really right for each other and we didn't do a second date. The second resulted in a three month or so relationship. (Oh, and both I and my dates were hovering somewhere right around 30).
So my experience, from admittedly few data points, is that it was at LEAST as successful as normal internet dating, maybe much more successful.
I think that it matched me well on one fairly crucial axis: women who were interested in actually going out and seeing what you thought of a person. I found that a big killer of potential meetings on OKC proper was this death-slog of trying to assure perfect compatibility prior to a face-to-face meeting.
All this said, I eventually found my fiancee through non-internet means.
Women have much more to lose on a blind date then men in general, as it only takes one creeper to ruin blind dating for someone. As others pointed out, traditional blind dates are set up by people who know something about both parties, so I'm not sure how well this will take off.
As for SnapChat et al., are people using it anonymously between strangers? I had thought that the usage was mostly for people who already knew each other but wanted disposable messages.
Personally I see it more of a game that women play to frustrate men as much as possible and this is a consequence of being overly picky.
I'm not saying its right to behave hurt, or act aggressively. But it is rather screwed up when women collect points between each other for intentionally misleading guys or falsely leading them on to reject them. [Builds the ego]
Wow. That sounds like you've just found a clique of terrible people. I have bunches of of female friends in a couple different social circles and have never seen this behavior.
The closest I've seen is a woman being friendly with a guy while being oblivious to the fact that he's flirting with her and then not knowing what to do when she realizes he's got a crush on her. Until he actually asks her out, I'm not sure there is a way to resolve this that isn't wicked awkward. Just saying, "Hey I'm not attracted to you.", out of the blue is kinda odd.
Honestly I'm suprised I didn't enrage someone on the last comment.
But the two major ways that women really mislead and manipulate is:
1. Claim a guy is creepy and then try to villify the guy
I'm not talking about legitimate safety has been put at risk cases for "creepy." I'm talking about the majority of cases where the guy misread the girl's communication, there was a miscommunication which hes being blamed for, he was socially awkward, the girl labeled him that way because she misinterpreted or felt like labeling him that way, or it was generally an awkward situation.
The other, friendzoning, is an intentional passive rejection of a perosn. Women aren't stupid, they know that a guy is interested in them, but can/will choose to put them in the friendzone.
Both of those situations are communicated to other girls to hurt the guys' reputation. By the time the guy realizes the scope of it, hes screwed. Its a really shitty thing, but it happens every day. The next time you're with your female friends and they're talking about, look at it from this way: Who are they telling, and whats the result of that later.
This sort of paranoid attitude can't be helping your prospects. You make this out to be way more adversarial than is healthy.
Have you ever considered that sometimes the reason a girl passively rejects a guy is because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings but hopes he will take the hint without her having to be more direct? I.e., she doesn't want to make things more awkward herself, and doesn't have perfect social skills either (most people don't!). What makes that super awkward is when the guy won't take the hint, or has seen too many "a dude just won't give up and finally wins the girl over" movies. It's a low probability outcome, better to just move on. Be friends if you want to be, or don't if you don't.
And neither men nor women are perfect at knowing when someone's interested, for that matter. Women are better at it, as far as I've seen, but it's not 100%, and then there are also creepy guys who hide that they're interested for weeks or longer, and then complain about "friendzoning" after springing it awkwardly out of nowhere. Don't be that guy!
Lol, I'm not angry about it. Its more of an annoyance that its accepted. At some point the woman needs to grow up and let those who she's been keep on in the friendzone know whats up. I don't give a fuck if they believe that theres some kind of risk to it. Its a crappy thing to do to people and you shouldn't do that to someone who doesn't get the clue.
Women are 10 fold better at determining who is interested in them. They are also loads better at determining who is congruent with the attitude/personality they're projecting. Women are also really good at hiding how they feel.
Have you ever considered that women are totally OK with just being a friend with someone and that the person who feels they are in the "friendzone" should just be OK with a friend relationship? The idea of the "friendzone" is so misogynistic, this idea that women do this to men as a form of punishment or gaming is ridiculous.
> Women are 10 fold better at determining who is interested in them. They are also loads better at determining who is congruent with the attitude/personality they're projecting. Women are also really good at hiding how they feel.
This is not true whatsoever. There is nothing inherent to gender to say that someone will be more socially aware than someone else.
Again, is there a way to do this that isn't really really awkward?
In order to "not do this crappy thing to people", she has to
First detect interest from some guy (how?), then somehow verify that she isn't accidentally misreading your body language or tone of voice or whatever (again, how?), then somehow bring up the topic of you being attracted to her without being awkward or presumptuous (yet again, how?), and then reject you (this part is straightforward).
By contrast, you have to:
Notice that you are attracted to her (which is easy) and ask her out on a date. Though kinda awkward, this is much more straightforward. I recommend doing it early so if she rejects you, you've not gotten attached to the idea of her (fail fast and pivot!).
They're your emotions dude; You've got to take some responsibility for communicating about them and managing them.
> Women are 10-fold better.
uhh... have you ever picked up an issue of Cosmo or watched a "women's show"? They're full of women angsting about how to tell if a guy likes them or not and giving each other terrible advice. Women, being people, like to pretend they know what they're doing when they're in public even when they don't. This all seems like just an example of the
That reminds me so much of high school and college. I've had a rule of avoiding the shallow and manipulative types (of either gender), or at least minimizing my contact with them once I realize it. I've realized I don't have to put up with it. It has meant that some places are offlimits to me because I don't want the hassle, but the quality of the people I spend time with has improved.
It's 'unbalanced' for a woman to spend time with a guy if she doesn't explicitly say "we'll never sleep together"? There's certainly something unbalanced in your worldview, but it isn't the relationship - it's the guy who appears to constantly think he has a chance with anyone who hasn't explicitly told him that she'd rather see humanity die out.
I also don't want to date either a doormat or a stalker, but I have no idea what that has to do with anything.
I think we had a misunderstanding. The friend relationship is unbalenced when the guy wants a FWB/Girlfriend|boyfriend relationship, and the girl wants another girlfriend/platonic-friendship. In the situation the girl knows this to be the case, and continues to entertain the idea.
I'm not suggesting that you're obligated to date/reciprocate or entertain the guy's fantasies. Just let them know whats what and don't encourage that kind of unbalanced relationship. Props if you can pull that off and give feedback about why you wouldn't bang him without giving him an impression that he has a chance or attempting to destroy him.
My suspicion for the last part of that is becoming a wing-girl for him and helping him to see that there are other girls out there.
It's beginning to sound like you are talking about a specific situation where you feel you were wronged, because a girl actively lied to you about what she wanted out of the relationship. That sucks, but you should try not to generalise this to 'women are like x'.
And if this has happened more than once, then either you are consistently misreading social situations (feeling led on when the woman has no idea you are thinking that way) and /you/ need to fix that, or you are consistently trying to get into a relationship with terrible people (on the off chance women are actually constantly leading you on), and /you/ need to fix that because what you're dealing with there is not 'women' but 'terrible people'.
I don't have that issue anymore, because I'm better able to tell when a girl is interested or not and when I get the slightest hint of that happening I gtfo of there. I've seen this happen to lots of other friends.
It's not the job of women to cater to every guy's unrealistic expectations of having an intimate relationship with them. This puts the onus on women to police the behavior of men instead of having men simply treat people with respect and heed boundaries.
It just sounds to me that you're saying it's tough for a guy that doesn't understand the cultural norm. The States seem to favor ambiguity over being very straightforward. I feel that there are definitely benefits to this approach, but if you don't learn to navigate it, things will be more difficult.
I think it makes sense that women are built from an evolutionary perspective to be picky, misleading, tough to successfully engage with, test out a guy and dump him later, etc.. Evolution is all about the people who have the most or most successful children being the templates for future generations.
For guys it is viable to be easy to get with and spread your genes about. For women, each child represents a huge resources cost. Therefore very high levels of pickiness and making men go through trials and tests and rejections is the best method for them to make the best choice. Evolution doesn't care about your feelings. If a woman has to throw a dozen good men into the friend zone along with another hundred just to get one good one, then that is the best method from an evolution standpoint, and that's what will become the genetically preferred behavior.
If I throw out any peanut that looks even slightly funny, the odds that I'll get a good peanut are a lot higher than if I only try to figure out exactly if each peanut is good inside the shell or not. In other words, don't take it personally. :)
> For guys it is viable to be easy to get with and spread your genes about. For women, each child represents a huge resources cost. Therefore very high levels of pickiness and making men go through trials and tests and rejections is the best method for them to make the best choice. Evolution doesn't care about your feelings. If a woman has to throw a dozen good men into the friend zone along with another hundred just to get one good one, then that is the best method from an evolution standpoint, and that's what will become the genetically preferred behavior.
This line of though for evolutionary biology is generally rejected and has no factual basis.
> I think it makes sense that women are built from an evolutionary perspective to be picky, misleading, tough to successfully engage with, test out a guy and dump him later, etc.
The majority of people will date many partners and most relationships end in a breakup. This isn't special to any particular gender.
No feelings hurt my friend. For the most part, I agree with you. But I don't buy the whole "men are only motivated to sow their seeds" bit. In the short term: Yes [it does help promote genetic diversity], in the long term: nope.
There are biological hazards for doing so [STDs], and there are a few benefits for having a long term relationship with one person.
The scale of the pickiness is the problem. I don't mind women being picky locally, but when they spread rumors and attempt to destroy a guys reputation amongst large networks... thats the problem.
> The scale of the pickiness is the problem. I don't mind women being picky locally, but when they spread rumors and attempt to destroy a guys reputation amongst large networks... thats the problem.
Anyone can be as picky as they want for an intimate partner, to suggest that someone lower their standards to please someone else is really offensive. Also, rumors are a totally legit form of social defense, even if rumors can have downsides, but the solution to that isn't less talking and lowered standards.
Of course he can. Didn't you ever go to high school or work in a gossipy office? It doesn't take too many people saying, "She's a slut/ice queen/crazy bitch/diva" before it becomes conventional wisdom in a social group.
Have they come up with a way to incentivize following through with plans, or reducing the fear of spending time with somebody you haven't had some contact with? There seems to be a very low social/emotional cost to abandoning plans you make with a stranger that you have not vetted. I can imagine a very high abandonment effect, as you experienced.
Since regular online dating is completely broken - this approach seems better but still doesn't get it quite right.
I actually think the situation is even worse with women in their early twenties (that they'd be even less likely to use a service like this). Anecdotally it seems women 28-35 are much more willing to try different methods of dating than younger ones (or are even looking to actually date in general).
"regular online dating is completely broken" - hogwash! Facebook is the dating site of choice. Women use it to get a feel for guys they hear about/meet through their friends. By checking their social interactions, their friends, their education etc they can get a good idea of the person. People are as good at this as they are picking out a face in a crowd, several million years of evolution has ensured this.
the women under 28 don't bother with any of this because they are typically in social situations (like college) where they meet people all the time and getting dates is trivial. Their only concern is their appearance and safety. They want to appear to their peer group to be dating well and with guys that add to their status, which is where facebook comes in.
It may not be workig for you, but online dating is not broken at all...
This is silly. Single women 28-35 are more likely to try different methods of dating because people in their late 20's and 30's are likely out of college (where there's a large pool of possible mates that are easy to find) and more likely to be settled into a life situation (where their circle of friends/acquaintances is stable and does not generate many potential mates) and more likely to be bored/done with the club scenes.
So, just like men, single women 28+ are more likely to want the internet to generate a pool of people that they might possibly date.
In case you haven't noticed, between ages 15 - 25 or so, even a somewhat above-average-looking woman wields sickening power over men. They're approached anywhere, any time, and they only have to.. exist.
Eventually this power wanes and she'll get approached less and less. This is the time when she might actually have to do something to find a man, and this is the phenomenon we're talking about.
Your word choices are offputting and, honestly, seem borderline misogynist.
Young women do not "wield sickening power over men." Some number of them may get propositioned by strangers a good deal (though, I would suggest, less than you seem to believe). That's not the same thing.
And, in any case, "not getting as many propositions from strangers" does not equate to "becoming invisible to men."
And, finally, your argument, such as it is, seems to be based on the belief that younger women derive most of their romantic partners from that mass of unsolicited propositions by strangers. This isn't particularly true, and it kind of staggers me that you seem to imagine otherwise.
If women 28+ are more interested in online dating, it seems very likely that this is principally because of a decrease in the number of qualified potential mates in their extended social circle, rather than the decrease in the number of unsolicited propositions by strangers.
I've had one young woman on OKC make the first move and ask me out, so I suspect you're right that 20-somethings are more willing to date online. (Since I'm sure everyone is curious now: Neither one of us wanted a second date. Yeah.)
"The competition to attract the most desirable mates is ferocious. Consequently, those most valuable are perpetually in short supply compared to the many who desire them. People who are themselves high in mate value succeed in attracting the most desirable partners. In the crude informal American metric, the 9s and 10s pair off with other 9s and 10s. And with decreasing value from the 8s to the 1s, people must lower their mating sights commensurately. Failure to do so produces a higher probability of rejection and psychological anguish. ..."