And from what I can see, there's no way for me to specify which genders I'm actually interested in meeting. (Yes, I know if I make profiles from my friends I can filter the people I'm looking for, but do you give me filters to let people know I'm not straight and therefore not interested in them?) If you're not straight, this type of thing is really critical. I'm not interested in messages from men and on OKC, I use the wonderful checkbox that makes it so that straight people can't even see my profile. That checkbox alone plays a big role in turning online dating from a lousy situation into a bearable one. Your writeup makes it sound like you only considered the dating patterns of straight people and your site doesn't appear to even bother to think about anything else. You appear to have mostly made a better dating site for you and people like you without realizing that dating is complicated and a bunch of people involved in a good dating ecosystem aren't going to be you, or anything like you.
I'll stick with OKC. (Which, by the way, I think is mostly great.)
I'm going to add some explanations to the home page, I definitely agree with you here. It's a lot of trust to let someone access your Facebook, and we are not trying to abuse that trust. Your friend only finds out if someone is interested in talking to them, and if they want to delete their profile, it's easy to do.
Your friend will never find out unless you enter their e-mail address. We don't contact your friends on your behalf, ever. You must allow us to do that explicitly.
And from what I can see, there's no way for me to specify which genders I'm actually interested in meeting.
I don't want to exclude anyone from using this service. We're so early, which is why the feedback really helps me. There are two different things you mentioned here: one is the ability to wing your friends who are not straight. This requires a better filter. I can build that. The other part is creating a profile for your friend and indicating their sexual orientation so that other people on the site can indicate interest. That's a little tricky, but that can be added.
I'm going to e-mail you and see if you'd be open to helping me get this right, or if you know any friends who would be.
Ahh, the enthusiasm of a new startup. :)
Relationships are such a spectrum that this part is actually really, really hard. OKC gets it mostly correct, which is one of the reasons they're really popular with that crowd.
I know its considered a bit tacky to quote pg, but I am not as eloquent as he.
"User growth" will flatline next week. Engagement will be low. But we're going to figure it out.
Online dating is a clusterfuck of failure for straight people (ask anyone who's tried it, or the OP.)
Online dating mostly works for gays and lesbians (you say so, I've seen the same from others.)
And this guy is an idiot for trying to cater to the straight dating market? Precisely why?
And a lot of those straight people may one day get involved with, have been involved with or may find themselves interested in someone who isn't straight. Many of whom are bi (or queer or whatever label) and most of whom do very very much care about being on a site that doesn't just serve straight people since they're open to dating both straight and non-straight folks.
So if a site is inclusive, the straight dating pool should be larger too. Even if you decide the only thing you care about is straight people.
> Online dating is a clusterfuck of failure for straight people (ask anyone who's tried it, or the OP.)
Funny enough, I can just ask myself, since I did use online dating to date plenty of straight people before coming to my senses.
Also, I have a fair number of straight friends, a lot of them appreciate OKC a lot and use it regularly with good results.
The people I hear complaining about it most often are usually people who are just angry about the fact that they can't get dates... online or offline. It turns out there's a lot of frustrated straight people out there, but there's also just a lot of straight people out there. Assuming that online dating works magically well for gay/lesbian folks but doesn't for straight people seems like a really large leap to make and also seems really untrue from what I've heard. (I've known LGBT folks who haven't found online dating to be that great and I should also note that in general offline dating can be harder for LGBT folks (especially in some parts of the world) than for straight folks and online dating looks pretty good by comparison.)
> And this guy is an idiot for trying to cater to the straight dating market? Precisely why?
Well first off, I never actually said that. What I did say was that the way the site felt it felt like it was designed with a pretty narrow frame of how dating worked and that narrow frame was likely going to be a problem in a bunch of ways. For me, it doesn't work at all for a bunch of reasons. For others, it'll likely be something else.
Look, if he was making a conscious design choice to only care about straight people, that's a thing you could do in a defensible way and you could probably design something pretty cool. But it didn't feel like a conscious decision, it felt like a decision that was made because someone didn't think through their problem well enough to even realize the things they didn't think about. And that's the real problem.
Of course it isn't perfect for all of them, but it's a much less dysfunctional market than the straight one. Which means there's less of a business model in catering to gays and lesbians there (doubly true given that they're rare.)
And yes, in theory, straight people can date bi people, but again, by not perfectly serving that bi market you cut off a tiny fraction of your clientele. Screw up the straight market and your site is doomed. Which should he focus on?
> What I did say was that the way the site felt it felt like it was designed with a pretty narrow frame of how dating worked
Yes, that's called "targeting a particular market."
Not if you live in an area with skewed gender ratios. The thing that makes gay dating in such an environment "easy" compared to straight, is that supply (gay men) and demand (people looking for gay men) is essentially the same (plus or minus a handful of bisexuals).
Whereas straight dating is fractured into two supplies and two demands, and
straight women = demand for straight men
straight men = demand for straight women
What you really want is for the diagonals (supply and matched demand) to be equal, but they aren't in a lot of places.
+1 for OkCupid working just fine for straight people.
I have had great success (just hit 1 year with someone I met on OkCupid, truly a great girl).
I know two marriages which were a result of OkCupid, one couple got married in France (not that it matters, they're just really cool). Most of the couples that met online that I know are quite good matches (IMHO quality > quantity anyway).
> The people I hear complaining about it most often are usually people who are just angry about the fact that they can't get dates... online or offline.
This is exactly it, in my opinion. OkCupid, and other dating sites, will help you meet more people. They will not magically improve your dating life. That's up to you, and it starts with improving yourself and your social skills outside of the dating world.
You need to be an attractive person before you expect someone to want to be with you, and you have complete control over that; it has nothing to do with your looks and predestined characteristics, and everything to do with your attitude and personality. That may sound hokey, but it's entirely true.
I think the site is a cool and fun way to meet people in a different way. I don't think it's ground-breaking or magically going to fix any dating problems, straight or gay. You might meet a few more people, but you'll still have to be actually interesting and good at dating if you want to go anywhere from there.
In other words, it's like someone complaining about not being able to get anywhere in a car because they don't have a map, and making a car with five wheels and a musical horn instead. If you still don't have a map, it ain't gonna help you.
Beyond that, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_sexual_orientat... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_demographics_of_the_United...
> According to a Williams Institute review conducted in April 2011, approximately 3.5% of American adults identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, ... However, a significantly higher percentage acknowledge having same-sex attraction without identifying as LGB. This makes it difficult to accurately record the demographics of LGBT people in the U.S.
To clarify, this is just me and another guy working on this. We don't get to spend 100% of our time writing code. We have to put a lot of thought into what to build first, before we build it. Social dating is more of a psychology game than anything. You can throw features at people, but unless they make the user comfortable and are highly engaging, it's all a waste of time. We're not trying to target straight people, we just haven't had the bandwidth to accomodate everyone else. We'll get there eventually though.
Remove the economist goggles, do without the gender distinction and start dealing with human beings and you'll be on the road for a successful dating service.
I mean I love my friends and when opportunities to set people up in good ways come along, I go ahead and make them happen... and I don't mind if a friend sets me up. But the whole feeling of a service where friends are setting up friends without having a dialogue about consent or you know, whether I'm even at all interested in them being involved in my dating life (god knows I have plenty of friends where I'm not interested in their suggestions) is just not really okay. And did I mention creepy? I did. But I should say it again for emphasis, because this doesn't feel like friends helping friends, it's just creepy.
I think adding a social aspect to dating is a great idea, but it's something that has to be done carefully and IMO this implementation seems radically bad.
I get that you are not straight and feel like services should always consider you, but less than 20%, (and by most estimates 10%) of the population is not straight. Spending 90% of your time to go after that market seems like a waste when it will be difficult enough to get the straight market. I'm sure the OP will grow in to gay/lesbian market if they have success in the straight market, you can be patient and relax until then.
Just a few thoughts:
But the whole feeling of a service where friends are setting up friends without having a dialogue about consent or you know, whether I'm even at all interested in them being involved in my dating life (god knows I have plenty of friends where I'm not interested in their suggestions) is just not really okay.
The service doesn't put a gun to your head and make you go on the date.
And did I mention creepy? I did. But I should say it again for emphasis, because this doesn't feel like friends helping friends, it's just creepy.
I like when people use the word "creepy" because it doesn't actually mean anything. It is simply a description they use when they don't like something. "That girl/guy is creepy" means, they don't like them. "that social service is creepy", well you get it.
I think adding a social aspect to dating is a great idea, but it's something that has to be done carefully and IMO this implementation seems radically bad.
Why does it have to be done carefully? Taking a bold approach might work here, and I applaud the OP for taking it. If it is over the top, it won't work.
Her ratio of value to criticism is too low for me I think. Further agitating me is that she has the top comment. I just can't imagine why someone would upvote it.
Now, I understand it causes you fear or unease, probably more unease than fear, but just because it causes you those feelings does not mean it causes others to have those feelings.
If this guy has success getting 7,000 people using the site, and only 1,000 of them are actually using it, he is doing a lot right.
If the site had a stellar brand and it was really clear what it was doing, your creep factor would probably lower significantly.
IMO, he should ignore your opinion and keep building. It looks like he is on to something to me.
I remember checking your site out when you posted it and it's nice to see someone trying something actually new, but I feel like this concept doesn't solve the common problems and adds some new ones.
Women will still be over messaged and men are still under messaged. People still ignore profiles in favor of photos - what does this change?
Now you need your friends to create a profile for you (granted at least it's not of the essay variety) and you need your friends to try and find people for you? I have a hard time seeing anyone doing that considering it's a relatively boring process with little return (the problem with the current sites).
I also think women are even less likely to use it considering your own point about them not wanting to involve their own friends. I would think people would also want to play a role in the selection considering it's a pretty subjective/personal thing.
Definitely awesome to see something new though and hopefully you prove me wrong and it works better than I suspect.
Why? Because the Greeks have it perfectly. They're basically paying fees for students to put together their social life for them. So actually, I just caught myself here: college students might be a good starting point, but Greeks are the absolute worst starting point. They don't need what we're building. And most college students I think would be reluctant to sign up anyway, they have their classes and student clubs they can join. They have a lot of opportunities.
But the problem becomes very apparent as soon as you move and graduate. You don't know anyone. You can't date people from work because that's shitting where you eat. You avoid talking to girls at the gym for the same reason. You're left with the bar scene, which isn't too bad. It still feels a lot more natural for me to meet someone in a bar than online, even though I've met several girls from OkCupid.
Your point about mutual interest addresses the pain of rejection, and agree with you on that. Let's Date is a great mobile app that addresses this perfectly. I guess Tinder is in the same boat, but neither of those actually worked for me. How many people did you meet from using it? I only met one girl from Let's Date, the rest I assume are fake or ended up deleting the app shortly after downloading it.
How was the checkin experiment you ran?
Definitely agree that college kids have more opportunities than new grads though to meet people. I think the matching idea (tinder/let's date) is a good one, but like you I noticed the problem seems to be that girls don't actually use it - which is critical since otherwise nothing happens.
Never got a chance to run the checkit experiment because I ended up graduated early to move out here for a job. I do think meeting people out (at bars and things) is critical and the dating sites now don't take advantage of that - the check into places idea.
Dating sites set the bar low for messaging which contributes to the over messaging problem, there is a high social barrier to go up and talk to someone or ask someone out in person. The social barrier is actually a good thing because it means that if you go and talk/ask you already have a large advantage since most people were already self selected out. I think something that helps break the ice or helps with this meeting process in a specific place would be valuable. Otherwise I think most dating websites are shitty for heterosexual men in their early to mid twenties.
I think it is dating that is shitty for men in that range. They have a limited pool of women in an age range that most of them want to be involved with. Those women in turn have socially acceptable dating opportunities with men of a much wider age range, including many men with better financial means than most men in their early to mid twenties. The result is too many men chasing too few women.
I think older men also tend to know themselves better. After a few decades you've grown into your own personality; you have good enough friends that there's no mad hustle to be what other people want you to be.
So you're comfortable in your skin. And that shows.
I've had dates at the same sort of cafés I'd have gone to as a younger man, so it's not as though I'm using fancy French restaurants as a status signal. It's just that I know myself better and don't feel as much like I need to prove anything.
One of my current partners is about the same age as her.
The 'man should ideally be at least slightly older' norm is counterproductive and I hope one day it goes away.
(I'm not saying there aren't underlying reasons why that norm often works ... just that I wish people would consider those underlying reasons and give up on age as a hard filter rather than a probability contributor)
Yep. We weren't sure at first, so we asked girls: would you rather meet a group of guys at an event or a venue, or would you rather just go to bars? They want to go to bars because there's alcohol and it acts as a social lubricant. Everyone becomes more sociable.
Meeting people with groups of friends is hands down the single best experience out there. Figuring out how to replicate the experience on CWF is going to be a real challenge. It might not even happen, we might leave that to Flock. But what we do still solves a vast majority of the problems with all online dating sites, mainly the identity problem.
There's a natural filter when you go out to bars. It takes some courage--probably some alcohol too--to go up and start talking to girls. But it also requires some degree of social proof to get friends to comment on your profile, so I think it carries a similar effect. You're right that most dating sites suck for men in their 20s, but that's what we're trying to fix.
Aren't you more interested in reading what somebody's friend has to say about them rather than what they're saying about themselves? Also, we have Facebook accounts (100+ friends required to join) which are not easy to replicate and we can rate limit. On OkCupid, the worst that happens is they ban you for spamming, and then you come back under a different username. Sure, girls might recognize the same photos, but you're fundamentally a free radical in the system.
Now you need your friends to create a profile for you (granted at least it's not of the essay variety) and you need your friends to try and find people for you? I have a hard time seeing anyone doing that considering it's a relatively boring process with little return (the problem with the current sites).
It relies on reciprocity, and it's actually fun when you try it out. If you're commenting on your friends' profiles, they'll naturally want to comment on yours. All of the comments on my profile happened not because I asked my friends to do that, but because I started out by commenting on theirs.
With the stigma, it's largely an issue skewed by age. More women in their 30s using dating sites socially, the sites just aren't designed to be social.
I'd be reluctant to date anyone who has 100+ friends on Facebook, that seems to me to indicate a degree of shallowness. After 7 years I have 59 and I honestly need to pare that way down. (Wow pruning my friends list, amazing how many people have closed their FB account! A good 10% of past "friends" no longer have accounts)
But hey, thanks for excluding introverts! Really nice of you.
My primary issue is that I only have about 3 or 4 people on Facebook who actually know me well and who interact with me on a regular basis that I'd trust to help fill out my profile.
In addition to that, the entire "guys only look at pictures" thing is BS. Yes I look at pictures first, right after that I read the profile. If the woman in question doesn't have indicators that we are a match in ethics and values, then I am not going to bother sending a message.
Indeed the primary problem I suspect your dating site has is the same problem sites like match.com have, they really don't allow for filtering by value systems. This is OKCupid's single strength that nearly makes up for everything else that is wrong with it.
I really don't care if a woman's friends say she is fun to hang out with. I do care what books she reads and what her feelings on various social and political issues are.
My girlfriend has over 400 friends (and she aggresively culled). But she was secretary for a political party, and also has a lot of "friends" from an online game ("My Fishbowl").
It's odd to find a girl with LESS than 100 facebook friends. Men in my social sphere, OTOH, don't have as many facebook friends unless they're actively trying to date through facebook itself.
But a heterosexual dating site isn't of much use if members of predominantly of one gender!
I see your point about the reciprocity, makes sense and I wouldn't worry about the stigma - if your site catches on the stigma will just die faster.
I'm not sure I'd be more receptive to what a friend has to say about someone, but that's generally because what anyone says doesn't matter when the sent/received message ratio is so bad (which is what I tried to fix with the marking idea).
Cool though - will definitely keep following it to see how it goes.
Wait, are people with lots friend "high quality people" or "low quality people"?
Funny thing is in my online dating profile, I have a requirement similar to yours: that people getting in touch with me have no facebook account.
From your past posts it looks like you're NYC-based. NYC is by far (IMO) the best place to set up an online dating shop, since this city is by a very long shot the most accepting of online dating in the US.
Disclaimer: I work for a NYC-area online dating shop.
In many other cities, and in many subcultures and scenes, online dating is still very much stigmatized. I can't help but think that author would've gotten a very different perspective if he didn't choose to interview people at a bar in the SF Marina of all places (read: notorious area for meathead jocks and their female counterparts).
Silicon Valley is the opposite. Too many single men, not enough women, inevitably means a sucky online dating experience for guys (unless you're in the very top attractiveness percentiles). I don't think any dating site can fix that, unless it matches Silicon Valley men to New York women or something.
I have several older divorced and single friends (mostly women) and they date on-line for one main reason: it's just too damn hard to have an active social life while you're raising kids.
I got married before the whole internet dating took off, but the 90s did have "date-lines." It was basically an voicemail system.
However, any dating-for-dating's sake does underplay the best way to meet compatible partners: meeting them while you're doing something you really enjoy. I met my spouse in a Jazz singing class.
I've always thought meeting people based on social skills (in person) or good photography (on-line) is fine, but I think it's inefficient because you're selecting the database on the least relevant criteria.
I don't think online dating is perfect as it's currently structured, but it has a lot of potential. I'd picture something like a dating site where you couldn't search for people ad-hoc, but which interest-specific discussion forums could link into. You'd create a profile, but only be found by people who reached out through some interest-specific site. This serves two purposes: it prevents women from getting spammed as easily, and it provides some context (posting history) for them to evaluate.
Trying to make this sound cool by using the word "social" doesn't stop this from being the classic awkward kid's lament: "If only people were straightforward about mating and romance! If only there wasn't this forest of doublespeak and taboos surrounding sex! If only people stopped being petty and competitive and just openly admitted their desires and insecurities! We'd all be so much better off (me especially.)"
The real trouble is not the forest of doublespeak and taboos surrounding sex. Sex is, so to speak, the easy part. Once you find a compatible partner with whom you can communicate solidly about your relationship (see below), your meatware substrates come pre-programmed for the sex act itself ;-).
The problem is the forest of doublespeak and taboos surrounding basic human fragility. There's almost a bizarre, hypocritical handshake protocol here: to meet someone and make friends with them, you generally need to appear well-put-together, sane, and just generally competent at life -- all without seeming smug or overconfident or douchey, either. This mostly involves scrubbing off the parts of your self-projection to others that don't fit what other people think of as "competent at life".
Problem is, deepening and maintaining a relationship, romantic or otherwise, consists precisely of letting your guard down and showing your baggage. Your positive baggage too, not just the negative.
Among more reticent social groups or cultures, people rarely manage it at all. They're never willing to let their guard down or exchange baggage, so they go through life with a series of shallow "friendships" and "relationships" that keep seeming Just Fine until they abruptly end because there wasn't a strong enough bond to take even a feather's new weight.
Then you hit some arbitrary "getting older" age, look back, and realize you spent your youth fucking around, have few friends, and no marriage. Whoops, time for the Biological and Parental Expectations Clocks and the sudden run to the altar! In another couple years, time for a divorce!
Source: I have fairly close ties to most of my friends and I've been with my fiancee for going on five years now.
However, this seems more like making online dating (which generally includes many attempts at making things more straightforward) into something that more closely mirrors the way many people find dates offline, through being introduced and endorsed by friends.
As a former awkward kid, I can't imagine that making things more social would be seen as favorable by someone who struggles with socialization and maybe has fewer or less charming friends.
Would you say that's a bad idea in general, or maybe good for long-term relationships but bad when you're in the earlier stages of dating?
Take it from someone who wasted his first five years after puberty learning the hard way :-|
Then again, my taste in partners' personalities probably selects for people where that -will- work out well for me. Which for me is obviously a feature, but means I in no way am suggesting that it would work well universally.
This post contains some really interesting and spot on insights. Some of the data doesn't line up with our (match + okcupid, etc) internal estimates/figures. For example, our estimates are closer to 50% of US have tried online dating, and 50% havent; significantly lower than that in other geographies. The idea of serendipity is definitely a real issue, and a frustrating one, because just the concept in people's minds and expectations alone prevents them from trying solutions that might work for them.
The simple fact is that, for most people finding work is just like anything else: it takes a little bit of attention and work to find the best person for you. That's not romantic, but its real.
I'm not sold that the solution is having your friends help you create a profile, introduce you to their friends, or attest for you. It seems like a lot of work for them, to be honest, with very limited returns. At the labs, our minds are focused on finding the future of dating in mobile, big data, leveraging social networks, and discovering how to create serendipitous connections through the above.
To the OP -- if you want to chat, hit me up; would love to chat. We're in SoMa.
You should make a "Netflix challenge" for online dating.
"Unless your parents are Jewish and they threaten to disown you for not having a Jewish boyfriend...yea, you may not want to message me in that case."
I mean, I laughed, it's a funny profile, but ultimately it implies bitterness over your last relationship, which, in my experience, is a turn off for both sexes. Don't get me wrong, everyone's bitter after getting dumped, but your next significant other doesn't want to know about it (at least not at first). In fact, they don't want to know anything about your previous relationship, good or bad, period.
EDIT: This actually adds some merit to his idea...his friends would be objective and wouldn't make the same mistake.
I'll second the confusion over people thinking there's a stigma to online dating. I thought that was a 90's thing.
X person meets a non-X, they get along, and then X's parents turn the screws, ruining the relationship.
1. Forging connections between pairs of strangers where they will fall in love,
2. …under conditions of oppressive patriarchy.
Number 1 is a pretty easy numbers game. for each person, a subset of people match them algorithmically. Another subset will be good matches. If your algorithm doesn't suck, some of the first set overlaps the second.
Number 2 is the problem. If you are asking why women are being swamped with textual street harassment such that the noise quite drowns the signal, why women need pseudonymity and ignorable messaging and no-appeal blocklists, why women get shamed for taking an active role in seeking a date (such as OKC) and don't want to admit it, why Mills & Boon nonsense holds so much cultural sway, and why social proof is the most effective way to get dates, the answer to all of the above is patriarchy. Rapey, commoditizing attitudes to sex are patriarchy. Passive, romance-movie, pedestal-putting, shaming, antisexual attitudes to love are patriarchy.
Online dating follows historically from personals classifieds. Personals ads contained very little information (in part because they had to be so short). This meant you were going on a date with someone you knew nothing about. It was worse than just a blind date... because you didn't even have any common friends to validate the person wasn't a psycho. People (esp. women) who valued their safety tended not to use personals ads, and there was a definite stigma that people who did use it likely had problems.
Though online dating is popular now, I think it was previously viewed as the high-tech version of printed personals ads. So the stigma carried over. It's certainly decreased over time, but I think that history is part of the stigma.
Again, I think you have a potentially viable solution to a problem people care about... even if I disagree on the source of them problem.
Also, I can't figure out why the alleged Hollywood lie would only impact online dating. Wouldn't all forms of dating affected? Certainly the "fate" aspect of true love isn't exactly new--Rom coms didn't usher in wave of zero dating.
I used it on OkCupid and got about a 30-50% response rate. Now I'm 6'8" and in shape which skewed the results but my friends copied what I did and their response rates skyrocketed. Then you only send 2-3 more messages before asking her out for drinks. Worked nearly 100% of the time.
I think that it comes down to, people spend way too much time trying to write the perfect message or profile. Be yourself. Think of it as a filter to get rid of the girls that you aren't compatible with.
Then when you're on the date, relax and just have fun. I've heard so many horror stories from my female friends of guys that are super awkward. The group setting is a great idea as it relaxes people and gives them support. That's why wingmen exist.
Wonder why guys can't figure that out?
there are thousands of articles and dozens of discussion sites out there related to self-improvement and success with women. there is a huge spectrum from bad PUA stuff all the way to general fitness and nutrition focus, avoid the ones that turn you off and read the ones that appeal to your common sense.
i repeat - do NOT just "be yourself". tall fit white guy's advice does not apply to you if you are not tall and fit and white. you need to put in the work to improve yourself if you are not the hollywood marketed image of 'perfect guy'
ignore this guy and improve yourself in other more meaningful ways. attractive women do not exclusively go for good looking tall guys, not by FAR. women are not actually that shallow. it's more about personality and fitness.
Requiring 100+ Facebook "friends" to join may serve as decent "this is a real person" filter for college educated urban 20 somethings, but you are likely filtering out lots of potential customers older than 30, people who never left their small town, etc. Is there a better way you can accomplish the same goal?
Also, I'm not sure that one can ascertain that "men don't read profiles" from a study that 21 men in a coffee shop spent half the time looking at picture as 18 women similarly accosted by market researchers. That's a pretty thin read to make a decision on. Have you a/b tested how profiles might work for your users?
I'm wondering how the "I was looking on behalf of a friend, but stumbled across someone really appealing." thing plays out.
Again, good luck.
But what Grindr does, is it creates a virtual space of people around you, which makes it a lot more like real life bar dating, where you just have faces, and yet the straight version of it - I forgot what it's called - is not as respected as OKCupid, so there's still some way to go.
i never had to go out alone to find a significant other. Sure a few days i had to stay home because none of my friends wanted to go out. but that's life.
... you will probably not meet, and be happy with, someone you meet in a dive bar, or online dating. it's just common sense, or you may call it stigma.
Just as with employers looking for employees, some of the people who are looking just haven't found the right fit yet. The rest are people nobody wants. The former churn (or dwindle if the market isn't being replenished), while the latter remain constant.
The game-theoretic optimum in a market for lemons--whatever you might think of it--is to avoid "dating" to begin with, and instead just find someone desirable and seduce them away from whoever they're currently with. In employment, this is called "headhunting." :)
A more apt economic analogy is that dating is a market where deals are hard to match up, transaction costs are high, and the repetition rate of testing compatibility to lead to a possible deal is low. Online dating reduces transaction costs, in the same way EBay does.
> a market where deals are hard to match up, transaction costs are high, and the repetition rate of testing compatibility to lead to a possible deal is low
This describes the housing market perfectly. It's also a market for lemons, or rather, it would be--homeowners are incentivized to hide defects in their homes--but we have house inspectors to remove this property from the system. There are no date inspectors.
Huh? Since OkCupid, and many others, work and are very popular, how can it be common sense that you won't meet someone you'll be happy with? Can you explain that?
 Ivy-educated, Ph.D.-holding, tenured professor girlfriend.
I don't see the need to brag about her education? Was that in some way relevant? It sounds like you might be feeling like you need to compensate for her to timing behavior.
Seriously? That's uncalled for. I hope you were just having a really shitty day, or something, and didn't actually mean to insult both me and my girlfriend.
Obviously, what I wrote wasn't clear enough. Read the other responses.
The whole reason "becoming exclusive" is a thing/phrase, is because it's acceptable and expected to "date" multiple people.
One of my best friends got married with a girl he met online dating. Another one met his wife on an online forum we both frequented. I met my last girlfriend (3 years) and my fiancée (getting married this summer) in bars/clubs.
That doesn't even make sense. Want to try again?
Of course the next 20 chapters are ones of compromise, empathy, regret, and apologies, with happiness and perfection in between.
I have several friends who met their significant others online, and are now happily married with children. But you just laugh...?
to put it in the perspective of this forum, all of my VC buddies put online dating plays in the category of domain specific search. that's a fairly sterile way to look at the process of finding a life partner, don't you think?
but beyond that, there is no credible statistical data, i.e. stats not produced by the companies themselves and peer reviewed, that would indicate these services produce anything like a non-niche impact on the occurrence of marriage in the US.
there are however numerous more deliberate commentaries on the topic of technology and its impact on the social fabric of culture. one of my personal favs is "Alone Together" by Sherry Turkle.
The more interesting question in all of this is why exactly online dating functions are even viable. IMHO the fact that people, particularly in the business we are in (i'm assuming you are in the software biz as well) spend so much time chained to a desk that they cannot go out and actually interact physically with other human beings is the point of my original response.
As I thought a bit more about it, I also realized that you have to have some criteria for what you're looking for in a partner too. How will you know if you've found them? If all you can come up with is "a body like a swimsuit model", you deserve what you get. Looks might be one criteria, but maybe you'd be better off picking some other attributes to go with it? And perhaps weighting things like interests, life-goals, etc a bit higher.
I'd also recommend understanding your Myers-Briggs type and the types that are compatible (this is not your sign). Then learn the attributes that make up your compatible types and try to spot them in public.
And congrats on 25+ years - you're obviously doing it right :)
Edit: I should say though I completely agree (about everything except the predestined part), people need to keep an eye out and know what they want, and not just physical qualities.
You might as well recommend dowsing to find available mates.
Funny story, though: everyone above the fold (eight women) is someone I've either dated or wanted to. The first one? My best friend.
I am lucky my screen isn't any bigger though, because the next person on the list is my sister.
This also removes the stigma of being on the site - you're not there for you, you're just there to help out your friend!
However I find it to be too creepy to sign up friends without their knowledge. You're asking me to reveal personal information about them to a third party site and an unknown audience of people. And there's a lot of potential for abuse, if I want to embarass a "friend".
Even if I find someone I think they'd like, how am I supposed to explain that I was pimping them out? I think there should be invitations first, like "hey, I made a profile for you on CupidWithFriends, check it out." Or ideally, do it with peer pressure, like "your 3 friends made this profile for you on CWF, they want you to accept." Then if the profiled person like it, they click a button to accept and only then does it go public.
EDIT: actually, what if you changed the focus to "stories about friends", where dating was a sort of side effect? I think I'd feel less creepy if I felt I was making a little tribute to a friend, rather than selling them.
This could work for any situation where you want to match people up. Even in matching jobs to people. LinkedIn sort of does this, but they ask for super boring testimonials like "implemented action items with diligence." Stories are so much more interesting, and they are what really sells you on somebody anyway.
The following is a male perspective, but I think the observations should be on par for the other side as well:
First, there is supply and demand. There are not a lot of available women around (once you exclude the spam accounts), and that may very well be in large part due to Hollywood expectations. There are, however, a lot of men. That fact alone means that for most men, this won't work out at all. Once you get past a certain age (say 30), this mirrors the situation of the physical world exactly. At this point, it's a game of playing musical chairs that a lot of us simply can't win. But it only gets worse.
While most of the female profiles portray fundamentally damaged people, the men are overwhelmingly fit, handsome, and great in general. This could mean that women are just more honest in filling out these profiles, but it could also mean that women only join online dating sites if they have absolutely no other alternative left, whereas men create profiles as a matter of course.
So being me, I can't begin to compete with the other guys on attractiveness, or money, or general awesomeness. Not only that, I'm so vastly outnumbered it's not even funny. And the very limited resource we're competing on seems to be mostly reluctant, frustrated women who hate being on the site in the first place.
And in what I can only assume is a typical pattern, I meet exponentially more women AFK than online. Now if it continually isn't working out in meatspace, there is really no reason to assume it's going to be any different if the introduction was through a website. If anything, online-induced meetups are vastly more awkward. At least if you meet organically, it can always be in a friendly non-committal social context. When you meet online dates, it has to be about dating.
I don't think this is fixable. I'm not sure it should be fixable. There are plenty of people who still profit from online dating, but it doesn't really provide any discernable advantages for people who are already at a disadvantage. The perception that there must be someone out there for every single one of us is also a Hollywood myth.
In fact the only reason I can conceive where online dating makes sense is for attractive people who just don't get to meet a lot of potential partners in their daily lives. Now, that's not a small market. It may even be the majority of cases. But it took me a while to figure out that there is not a lot online dating can do for you if you don't belong to that group.
Having friends make your advertising for you doesn't change these mechanics. Of course it might improve the quality of the experience for the above-mentioned privileged group, but at the end of the day I'll have exactly the same odds as on any other dating site. To some degree, all dating sites (even those genuinely interested in making online dating not suck) capitalize on the Hollywood illusion that somewhere out there is my reasonably perfect match. They're playing on the assumption that everyone is dateable, and they in fact have to deceive you into thinking that the world of dating is not as depressing as it actually is.
Online dating works well for people who are already likely to be successful at dating AFK. For these people, online dating could probably be optimized. For others, probably not.
I'm not ashamed to say I've used online dating with great success :) I'm by no means "fit", "handsome" or otherwise awesome - and my dating successes before OKCupid amount to very little.
However... I'm a pretty nice guy. And a lot of the guys on dating sites, especially those that actively message people, are jerks that no one wants to date. The secret is that many guys are on there because they have no alternative either!
As you say, there are many less women on these sites. But when you filter out the creepers and jerks it's probably about even.
Everyone I've dated from websites (~6 dates, 2 of which turned into relationships) has said something like "well, I was going to give up on it because everyone was a jerk, but then your message was so nice".
The key is to take an interest and be pleasant. It's ridiculous how many doors that opens in real life, let alone online dating!
> When you meet online dates, it has to be about dating.
Isn't that the appeal? There is none of the "are we on a date" mechanics. Both of you are there looking for something.
However, this may also be a function of age -- I'm in my early thirties, as are my friends. And of course, New York City.
I do think you're right about "online dating works well for people who are already likely to be successful at dating" -- in my experience, whether it's online or offline is irrelevant. Online dating isn't any fundamentally different at all -- people are attracted to each other, or not. Online dating just vastly widens the pool of potential people you might meet. You might see 100 people in a bar one night, and 90% are immediately out of your age/gender range, leaving just 10. You could easily browse through 200 filtered candidates on a dating site in an evening.
Of course this is just a hypothesis so of course this may not be the case.
The reality is that in a place like New York educated women move to the city for their careers. So do men, however when men get married and have children they tend to continue to work, whereas it's more common for women to leave the workforce. Hence, the percentage of the men in the city that go home to their family in Connecticut (or Westchester, or whatever) is much higher than the percentage of women that do so. Far more of the men in the city are ineligible. Couple that with higher university graduation rates among women and the trend will only continue.
I've _never_ seen behaviour that would indicate that women move [to New York] in order to find successful men. Oy.
So where does the demographic skew come from in your model?
Personally, I'm not so convinced that women move to the Big Apple merely search of successful men, though. There's all sorts of stuff going on in NYC that would appeal to women!
I guess I might buy the argument that the vacant jobs might go to 30 women and 20 men, which would back up your point.
1. The ratio of females to males is very close to 1 anywhere in the country.
2. Heterosexuality, homosexuality, etc. is about the same in males and females.
3. Almost everyone who does not identify as "single" is in an exclusive relationship with one person.
I don't live in the US so am quite probably missing something here that you know and I don't. Or my reasoning is mistaken. Could you clarify?
Is the contention the word "huge" because the disparity is only ~103:100 in a lot of places? Because that's actually pretty big when it comes to dating, because of the "available pool" problem: Most members of both genders are paired up already, and each pair removes one member from each pool. Those with a different sexual orientation from you or those not actively seeking a relationship come out of the pool too. So you go from 103:100 to something like 13:10, which is pretty huge.
The values on that map are a little frustrating, have we got anything which offers more precision for those enormous 1-91 and 108-205 ranges? I look at that and think "Across the country the ratio could only vary between about 9 men for every 10 women and 9 women for every 10 men and the diagram would still be totally correct - is that even really significant?".
("Is that even really significant?" is a whole other question that I'm sure someone can easily answer. I don't have any intuition about how skewed a gender ratio has to be for it to be noticeable to a member of that population, certainly if someone told me that there were only 9 women for every 10 men in a city I wouldn't immediately think my chances of hooking up would be hurt too much...would they?)
As for a 9:10 ratio, it all depends on the rate of committed relationships. Remember that this is all people, married, committed, and single. If they're all single, 9:10 is probably pretty good. If 95% of people are in a committed relationship (ignoring homosexuality, which probably cancels out) then you have no hope at all. If we pick a more sane number like, say, 75% (not sure how sane, but...) then that results in about the singles scene having about a 2:3 ratio, which is not so great for the people on the 3 side.
And those non-native employees come from somewhere, which is predominantly the East Coast, because companies can pick up employees from there who are U.S. citizens and have attended good universities. So it makes those populations skew slightly female.
The "Hollywood myth" that we all have our soul mate is the one that gets into everywhere, but there are more. The idea that attraction is always at first sight, for example. That going to bars and huge parties is a good way of finding someone (they are highly inconvenient places to talk to strangers) The pressure that makes that a rejection is a tremendous deal. The whole male / female "expected behaviour". Tons of behaviour that can be misinterpreted as good or bad, for almost random reasons...
From my point of view, is almost like if we don't want people to be engaged! I feel that, some time ago, there were channels where your family or others try to help in (or force) the process, including things like arranged marriages, balls or strong courtship rules... Of course, that's all extreme from our point of view, but right now we are basically getting a teenager influenced by tons of books, TV and movies that are not-exactly-telling-the-truth and creating unrealistic expectations, and push them out of the door, saying "there you go, go figure out for yourself!"
I don't know what is the solution (if there is one), but right now the whole process of searching someone feels like extremely inefficient to me...
The point is if you design your dating service with those issues in mind they can be efficiently addressed.
It may be fundamentally unfixable, but it doesn't mean that the ratio of hetero women to hetero men can't be far more equal than it is now.
Message exchanging liquidity can also be improved, possibly via the methods I outlined below.
The OkCupid profiles make more sense: you make them so that you look good and you get dates. Work -> reward.
Like can me and my buds set up a fantasy football league and see how our team scores against other teams (or against women teams??)
Because gamification, social media, that's money in the bank right there.
Times where it was not organized by a third party trying to make a profit out of it.
It happened on IRC which was quite different: it happened in real time, it was text based (no pictures until you had proven yourself worthy). Though it already featured the too many messages towards women issue but it was easy enough to put the offenders on ignore and as once disconnected there was no way of messaging you they didn't pile up in your absence.
Online dating sucks but to me the main reason is that online dating is mostly governed by businesses trying to build a profitable business model for them, putting their own interest before those of the people using the service.
First comes the somewhat innovative idea, then the launch of the service with the accompanying marketing in order to gather a comfortable bunch of profiles and it's monetizing time in a stupid way usually by putting artificial barriers effectively killing its usefulness. From there it is inertia for a while, then the cycle starts again.
Hollywood may have some responsibility in shaping some people expectation of love but I don't think this is much related to online dating being broken. Actually I failed to find any link in your article which seemed to be a shameless marketing attempt at driving more people to your dating profile service, as is expected during the launch phase.
Then I would not touch anything facebook related with a 10 foot pole, let alone a dating profiles website where facebook friends, a.k.a. not actual friends, are in control without me knowing about it.
IANAL but I wonder about the legality of this, I'm not sure one is entitled to fill an online profile for someone else, it may be considered a form of identity theft.
With some fava beans.
Presumably they wouldn't be allowed to use your real name or super-identifying photos or anything, so this "dating persona" they set up from you is divorced from the rest of your identity, and nobody will find it by looking for you.
The difference is that if it's not online, then it's purely interpersonal; a social, private, ephemeral (as in not recorded) sort of activity. But if it's online it's like publishing something in public; it's broadcast to a large number of strangers and it's recorded for a long time. Big difference, I would say.
Funny thing is IINM this is probably illegal in several countries around the world, both setting up an online profile for someone else, without his/her knowledge being aggravating, and not providing exact personal information.
If my friends did this to me, it would probably put a definitive end to that friendship.
By making it against the TOS of the site, and banning profiles that do it.
> probably illegal ... not providing exact personal information.
Presumably it's a profile about you, but it's not a profile impersonating you. They don't sign up using your name/birthdate/et al; they have their own account, which they use to fill in the details of your profile.
To be clearer: the concept isn't really that you're filling out someone else's profile. Instead, it's more like (exactly like) a "review" site--friends giving "product reviews" of friends, talking about how you should "buy" this friend or that. They just appear without attribution, conglomerated into a "consensus profile" of "what others think about this person." I imagine it's very clear that the person themselves didn't make the profile, any more than hockeyfan3392 on Amazon made the Macbook his review is attached to.
I think what happens is, this model falls flat on its face. It's a good idea though, for a group of single friends.
Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.
The same issue with Chrome:
The webpage at http://www.cupidwithfriends.com/sorry has resulted in too many redirects. Clearing your cookies for this site or allowing third-party cookies may fix the problem. If not, it is possibly a server configuration issue and not a problem with your computer.
I've tried to sign up under different fb accounts.
Women receive so many messages that it becomes overwhelming and too much work and men try sending earnest messages for a little while and then concede that it's basically a numbers game. These two phenomena are self-reinforcing. The more messages women receive, the less likely they are to respond. The more messages a man doesn't get a response to the more likely they are to put less effort into their messages. If you solve this problem, you effectively solve attrition rate in dating sites.
If you look at an old inbox full of sent of received messages for a man versus a women, you'll notice something interesting. The woman's inbox will be full of avatars next to almost all the messages. Men don't delete or suspend accounts. Now if you look at the inbox of the men on the other hand you'll notice that more and more of the messages have the default avatar next to the name as you move back in time in the inbox. This is because many women become totally overwhelmed by the number of messages, the quantity of them that are vulgar, etc.
I've talked to a bunch of people about this (because I'm one of those few people that has no problem talking about online dating because like you I think it is the future) and the conclusion I've come to that many people agree with is that online dating needs the equivalent of the spam button in many email inboxes. However instead of saying the words "Mark as spam", there should be two buttons, one that says "Mark as did not read my profile" and one that says "Flag as vulgar or offensive". The first button is to be used every time a women (or a man) receives a message where someone sends a one line message with no content specific to the recipient or any message which is obviously cookie cutter (cut & paste job) and the second should be used whenever the sender is overtly sexual or mean.
Every time these buttons are used it should impact a score on both the sender and the recipient. For the sender, they're "doesn't read profiles" score should go up and for the recipient that used the button, their "cares that senders don't read and consider their profile" score should go up. The same goes for vulgarity/offensive content. The balance of these two numbers should determine if the message makes it through to the recipients email inboxes at all in the future. You could even warn senders when their score starts getting too bad, like "This message will not be delivered to this user because you've been flagged as someone who doesn't consider the content of user's profiles when crafting a message" or "This user only receives messages from people who take time to craft a personal message". If the sender then goes back and significantly modifies their message before sending again (verified via a text diff and possibly the passage of time), then send it through. This time however, if that message gets flagged by the recipient, then it counts very negatively towards their score.
If you use an approach like this you should be able to keep the inboxes of females (and desirable males) with a high signal to noise ratio. This will greatly improve their experience and lead them to respond to more messages and not get so fed up with the bullshit messages that they either quit responding or quit the site entirely.
 The only counterpoint to this are messages that achieve the Forer Effect. One of my friends has crafted some particularly generic messages (his own admission) that presses all the right buttons just like horoscopes texts do and he gets a pretty solid response rate despite the fact that those messages are just cut and pasted. He's even frustrated that his well thought out personal messages often perform worse than his generic ones that play to a recipients own positive self image. TBH, I'd like to take Forer's original text, and modify it for OkCupid to see how it performs. Besides crafting the message, I'd need to figure out how to produce an acceptably generic profile that still conveys enough authority for the recipient to think the fake profile has the authority to make those statements/judgements.
Your solution is Hard Security when Soft Security is way enough (refer to meatball wiki for more on these notions).
Not only that but this problem has already been solved a few times, a simple and effective but not perfect solution: a man cannot message a woman until explicitly allowed by the woman. a man can notify a woman her profile caught his interest with a poke-like of which he gets a limited amount per day. There goes the message overload for women issue.
Now remove the heterosexism component and make it so no one can message anyone until explicitly allowed by the recipient and not only you got the message overload issue under control but you get an incentive for people to put some care into writing their profile and reading other's.
There's probably a better way, but this one is IMHO at least an order of magnitude better than your proposition.
The solution is in challenging how we suppose this should work and not in trying to fix those broken assumption by placing additional layers on top of something defective by design.
Auto detect spam messages. If a guy keeps sending out the same copy and paste, after 2 or 3 sends, just forward future copies to /dev/null.
Now this has to be personalized! If a women responds to those types of messages above some certain threshold, then hey, let her receive them, no problem.
And honestly, I believe the idea of having friends writing your profile is very flawed. Maybe it's my own personality, but I cannot see that happening to me or any of my friends.
Online dating is never going to be perfect because no dating is ever going to be perfect. But roughly speaking, everything is already invented. Dare I say, pay sites do the bulk of the filtering by having people pay (mostly us males), and that just works and finances the site. As simple as it is. And this is why they still exist.
So yeah, you can add a few elements, maybe some enhancements to traditional dating sites but the basic mechanics are just that: everybody self-promoting and looking for other people, following their basic instincts. How much can you direct that to be more effective? probably not that much more.
The one habit I think still needs to be taught to people on dating sites is the value of publicness and openness. About two years ago I got my mom to sign up for OkCupid (a few years after her divorce) and the biggest problem I encountered was her reluctance to be open. People are afraid to put any identifying information or any information that deviates from the public image they maintain at work and in social circles. This basically sets themselves up for failure because connecting with the right people for you really is dependent on both parties being open enough to find real connections. Jeff Jarvis I think has given one of the best talks on the value of openness. If you've never seen it, definitely check it out.
I figured I was doing everything right, and I was optimistic (a good handful of my friends had great success on OkC), but I barely got any dates, and the ones that I did ended up being duds. I did this for maybe 8 months.
Contrast that to the couple of months I signed up for a paid match.com account (pro tip: paying for a service and looking for someone else who has paid for a service shows a mutual seriousness about the service; OkC's barrier to entry is practically zero so many people don't end up taking it seriously) and here I am with a going-on-three-years-now happy relationship. Match barely has any information to fill out and it makes me wonder if that ends up being a more successful model, as it pushes much of the "screening" process to meat space, where it's a lot easier to discern people's idiosyncrasies.
Of course, being open once you're offline is absolutely key. I'm just not sure how well it works for the first online impression.
Edit: I don't mean to attribute my relationship success to my choice of service, that was pure luck. I just wanted to point out that it'd be interesting to see more data about openness' influence on dating site success rates.
I understand every big internet corporation is pushing the idea that privacy is dead and that you ought to put every thing about you online for every one to see. But what made the internet great is its pseudonymous nature.
Don't lie on your profile, but don't put up identifying personal info either.
You'll never thank me for this because you probably won't have to face the worst of identity theft thanks to it.
The problem is that OKCupid is a geek's worldview distilled. Whether a girl is visible to you is largely based upon algorithmic analysis of a questionnaire, which in turn is based on nothing more than pseudoscience.
So you have a questionnaire written by a team of computer programmers acting as gatekeeper to you contacting someone? Do you see the potential problem here? Who says the questionnaire is relevant?
Add to this fact that the quality of women on these sites is low on average, and it doesn't bode well for guys. Lots of guys will of course chime in and say it works for them. My interpretation of this is that given the sheer number of users, there will always be people who "luck out".
Cupid Plc (another online dating company, unrelated to OKCupid) is under heavy suspicion in the UK for faking high quality female profiles. I don't know if OKCupid does this, but the site really has no built-in mechanism to give you much trust in the profiles you see.
Overall, I think the problem with online dating websites is that they are not actually solving any of the difficult problems of dating. Online profiles are useless because they are 90% equivalent. Oh, so you like tall, athletic men? And you enjoy movies and wine, music, art and watching Game of Thrones? You are mainly good, but have a wild side? You are unique?
Given this, why the focus on these profiles? Guys are only interested in the photos (having put the effort into reading through fifty identikit profiles already).
...and then there's the transition to meeting up. This is fraught with difficulty because you have know way of gauging how to approach the issue. For some people "let's meet" will be enough and looked upon positively as decisive and confident. For others it is seen as completely inappropriate. The site gives you, the guy - it will usually be the guy - no way of knowing which strategy to use and so you lose 50% (or more) of the time on the basis of not having enough information to make a good decision. Given already low probability of finding someone who "suits" you on these sites, this is incredibly wasteful and not addressed.
So... good luck to anyone trying to improve things.
I feel that the path he's gone down is quite an eccentric and possibly misguided way to deal with the feelings of loss stemming from an unpleasant break-up.
It feels more like cable television than real life.
I think a lot of people on dating sites are going about it the wrong way and making themselves feel worse in the process when they don't have to.
Find a forum or a chatroom about topics that interest you or that you want to know more about (for your benefit, in communities where the gender of your choosing makes up to 30-70% of the userbase). Get invested in the topic, meet people, learn some stuff and see if any connections arise. You meet people in the real world in situations that you have in common, and that's how finding relationships online should be too. Some people may want the instant-gratification of going out to a bar to meet this person or maybe they're just gunning for a one-night-stand, which is fine too. But if my friends are anything to base things off of, distance is no longer an issue for people looking for serious, long-term relationships. I've seen lots of people fly over oceans to be together, many end up staying that way.
That said, it will of course be gamed and manipulated and still have many of the problems of current online dating models, but that's just the nature of marketing; when there are a lot of products out there, the way to sell yours is to make it stand out, and a site that imposes a handicap just gives the cheaters an advantage.
I've tried online dating but it never works out for me. People put their best face forward online, but are quite different in real life.
Honestly, regardless of Hollywood, the best relationships I've been in have come from friends introducing us at events or just randomly meeting at a bar.
The depressing thing is jt2005 got it wrong :( It's the single most predictive question I've found on OKC.
Online dating is still shunned upon, but for the opposite reason that you're not working hard enough on finding your match if you're "just" tapping buttons in the internet.
Hmm, not quite. It is more like not trying to swing for the fence, and trying to hit a double or single. Every once and a while you connect right in the "sweet spot" and the ball flys over the fence.
The stigma of online dating is such rubbish. I am as much of a stranger as the guy on the barstool next to you.
Also you take under consideration almost exclusively OkCupid.
OkCupid != Online Dating.
Because of how it works, OkCupid is full of needy girls (and starving guys).
They go there, put three pics, play the dumb-ass matching game (understand answer 30 questions) and then enjoy receiving 4000 messages the first day.
Deep down, they feel "woa I'm that good!" and they wine about guys being lame (and their pick up lines).
But here is the cold truth (from what I saw in the silicon valley)
1/ most girls are gold diggers OR what-have-you-done-for-me-lately (Eddie Murphy-style) - including your ex.
2/ most guys just want to hook up.
You can't sort this out with friends or anything.
Even if people have a tendency to protect themselves from bad-people by closing their circles that is a negative reflex when trying to do online dating.
And online dating, especially when free, is the perfect fuckable-meat-supermarket. (excuse my french, I am... French)
So you can come up with any pickup line, as long as the quality stays the same, it's the looks that matters. With the few exceptions based on luck OR coincidences.
This is also why a lot of people have a negative image of online-dating.
There is of course the geeky-desperate, you're-not-capable-otherwise image.
For at least some time, people will still have this image. If you try to educate the world about online-dating, you're screwed.
You should try to kick ass at your website, and make it feel like it's _not_ online dating. Take distance from this image.
And it won't work if it is free or if you try to involve friends.
It will work by solving the question: "how to raise the quality of the members commitment to the idea".
I think good leads could be:
1/ pure and guaranteed balance in girls/guys (for straight websites) - It can be extremely repulsive.
2/ remove un-active accounts.
3/ Push people to open themselves - more privacy, different layers, many technical ways.
4/ force them out of the website. (you provide the first contact, but try setting up the date, suggestions is a great step already)
5/ limited amount of members (increased by periods, without some elitist bs)
The issue is, it's all about quantity not quality.
The big problem I foresee is that might go against a juicy business plan - at least at first, and definitely when raising money. (better have 200M people poking each-others virtual a-holes than 10k people doing something and paying for it).
As for Hollywood's lie, it's always the same bitching. Hollywood's lie is only as valuable as the number of people who believes it.
The truth is, people want to believe in Hollywood-dreamy-love but they tend to take everything too seriously to actually catch it. But hopefully, they will one day get tired of it and get down to earth.
Good luck in your adventure.
The problem is men don't read online dating profiles,
they only look at the pictures. It's not just a difficult
and repetitive task, but it's wasted time.
I really like OKC. I thought it was way better than any other dating site I looked at. I also found a wonderful woman on it whom I love dearly and who loves me, so I'm perfectly happy.
From your post, it sounds to me like you have a rather narrow viewpoint of what people think about online dating. There are many points of view, and if you want to focus on a niche of people who believe what you believe, that's perfectly fine. But don't go making objective statements like "men don't read online dating profiles" when that's simply not true. "A study that used X number of men and Y number women, looked at eHarmony and match.com and found that ... blah blah blah" is way better and way closer to the truth.
(I'm not a shill for OKC btw, I don't work for them, or know anyone who works for them. I'm just really really happy with their site and the results.)
"People are dumb" (absolute, unqualified) vs "Most people are dumb" (absolute, qualified) vs "Most people I've met are dumb" (relative, qualified).
A comment like "people are dumb" is usually assumed not to be taken literally, but when you quote a study and say something like "men don't read online dating profiles", you're now in a very different territory, and the misuse of language could give the impression of a deliberate false statement (i.e., a lie).
I can go up to the bar, have a beer, see a live band, talk to a pretty girl and know in 30 seconds if I like her and if she thinks I'm grotesque. Mother Nature is very efficient. No need to over-complicate things.
Really, the article didn't convince me a bit. The stigma comes because the idea is quite distinct from what we've all been doing for several thousand years...
Lonely hearts adverts are hardly new, though.