Some time ago I had a discussion with a couple of friends of mine, both of whom are working on a pair of online dating startups. One of them was my good buddy, Duane and the other is a friend, named Ross Felix, of Dating Revolution. In speaking with each of them they both had some unique perspectives on how to go about making a online dating experience that is authentic and has some means of enforceable quality. That is, make sure to keep out the fake profiles and keep it fun for all. Simple and to the point. Duane and Ross had a lot of bells and whistles they were designing into their solutions. Ross has a much more polished interface for what he’d be doing and is much closer to prototyping his offering than Duane. All good ideas to be sure.
However, each conversation I had with them I mused: “Why isn’t anyone trying to do this and leverage Facebook’s mountains of gold in information? What about the Open Graph???!”
They both nodded their heads at me and said something to the effect of: “That’s interesting, but I don’t see that it will supplant traditional online dating sites.” More or less anyway.
Why build from the ground up all this data into your site when you have a huge API to leverage that’s there, ready to be used?
Then this article happened a few days ago: http://theurbandater.com/advert/online-dating-vs-social-network-dating.php/ — I’d read up and around about these folks, so I was eager to get more on their offering. They were glad to oblige!
Friend Flirt is going to first of all eliminate those ridiculous “about me” sections and horribly put together profiles. Also, you won’t have to worry about what photos to post, because your facebook photos will already be there! And don’t worry about those fake profiles and scammers- only real people will be on Friend Flirt! And even better- those real people are your friends’ friends! No need to worry about Catfish, here! No need to worry about if that guy is single or if this chick has kids that they’re hiding from you. It’ll all be right there. It’ll be easier to set up dates because you’ll know more about this person quicker than in regular online dating- just talk to your friends about your new match!
^ Game Changer, simply put. In the coming years I think we’re going to be seeing many services, like Friend Flirt, that will leverage the data of large Social Networks to power their offerings. It’s going to be an interesting time for Online Dating services.
The concept of Social Dating is long over due to be delivered on. And surprisingly so. The data has been there for a while now, but no one’s been able to make use of it. Facebook has made Social Dating possible, now.
Does this mean FB wants a piece of the Online Dating marketshare? I don’ think so. What I do think is that they realize that their information is worth something. Their API can be used to get at that data and share it in so many ways and they get to charge a bounty to those accessing it.
If I’m Match, eHarmony or any number of online dating sites I wouldn’t start shaking in my boots yet. What I WOULD DO is figure out a way to leverage the data that the FB Open Graph Search can provide and INVEST a lot of resources into figuring out the best ways to leverage that information into their platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been meeting on this very topic for months now. If not, they should have been.
The online dating game is about to change. Hold on, kids! It’s gonna be fun!