What Will the Next Great Dating Site Look Like?
Some time ago I had the pleasure of participating in a conversation with the charming and brilliant Ross Felix, over at the Dating Revolution and one of his colleagues. The discussion was dating and mating sites (I call them mating sites, mind you). While I don’t remember, verbatim, the entire conversation, the topics spilled over to the continued relevance of traditional dating sites. Ross obviously held close to his belief that the traditional dating site model isn’t going anywhere fast. His colleague disagreed and I did, too. Here’s why…
Traditional sites such as a Plenty of Fish, Book of Matches or OkStupid OkCupid have a fairly easy model. Signup for free, browse, connect hook up and repeat. Simple.
Match, eHarm Eharmony are a bit more sophisticated in the methods they use to match seeking singles in that they implement algorithms to make mathematical mating magic happen (say that five times fast during coitus). I lump the niche dating sites with eharmony and Plenty of Poon Fish as well.
My thought is that as Social Networking tools become more sophisticated and prevalent, the traditional dating site model will become obsolete. For instance, I’ve actually gone on a date with someone I met at a Yelp event. I bring up Yelp because of an article I read today detailing how a couple met through Yelp. I think that’s great. If you know me, you know that I love me the Yelp! There are yet other innovative services that look to key in on what is most important to users.
I used to go to Yelp events all the time. Firstly, single dudes; these are great places to meet like-minded and interesting folks. Not only that but tons of events are always organized, so if you’re bored it’s really easy just to go to their site, punch up your neck of the hood and see what’s going on. That’s how I met the gal I went on a few dates with.
Facebook is, to me, the great untapped dating site. I’m not alone in my opinion. Our good friend, Mike Masters, even wrote a pretty awesome eBook on the topic (recommended reading). When I’ve brought up the potential amazingness that Facebook is as a potential dating tool people always look at me as though I’m standing in front of them wearing no underoos. Read: Totally unimpressed. In other words people think it’s a crap idea. To them, their big concern is sharing your dating laundry with everyone. I get it. Most people who date don’t want their relationship and dating baggage for all to consume. However, I think if Facebook gave that choice to the user, whether they wanted to share their dating data at all, or have a choice over what dating info they could share, they would be on to something pretty amazing.
The sheer amount of data shared by Facebook users is simply staggering. Just tallying “likes” alone is enough to push singles together and start a conversation.
Sites such as Gelato and Tastebuds.fm have tapped in to this whole information sharing plus dating thing. They get it; social media that is. They allow you to connect via the social tools that you use most and pull in information that potential suitors find interest in. Tastebuds.fm is a great example of this. Their primary tie in is music and matching people together with similar tastes and they achieve this feat by using Last.fm data from users that have their tunes “scrobbled.”What a novel concept! I’d never have to fill out another profile again! OkCupid has a similar feature allowing lustful and forlorn lovers to connect via their Facebook account.
Sure there are forums for people to connect and such, but using all this social data to create this ultra sophisticated social-based dating site could be amazing. I really think so.
I really think that if a dating site ignores the social media piece of tech and dating they’re really missing the boat and submitting themselves to the also-ran band of all the other dating sites out there that come and go every day…
What do you guys think? What will the next evolution in dating look like?
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I do agree with you on the Facebook and/or Twitter thing. I mean you would like to go out and date someone who you know, like and trust probably. So if you are looking for a person you know their marital status and if they are friends of friends the trust factor is greater. Plus, if you have a hobby. Than why not bond over the hobby. I have given up on dating sites because I interact with a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter. I think that will the easiest way and less barriers of entry.
The biggest advantage to have tight integration into facebook, for a dating app, is that you know the users are authentic. There's really no way to create fake profiles as developers could restrict access based purely on the amount of activity.
I think that you'd have to be an idiot as the owner of a dating site not to leverage social media outlets as a way to at least augment your dating site.
That said, I still believe that many people seriously looking for love want to be able to filter based on specific requirements (whether it's religion, education, or etc). So, while Yelp or Meetup are great examples of how you can potentially meet people, unfortunately the approach can be a little too "shotgun style." That said, traditional dating sites can be too "sniper" and exact.
So the trick is how do create a middle ground – provide new and unique ways to bring in people that don't like traditional dating sites, with atypical dating site functionality, but still have SOME ability to filter out completely inappropriate or undesired matches.
Our plan is to start by making the best "traditional" dating site out there when we relaunch our beta, and later bring in other more social media related elements.
You know, Ross, this is something I've wanted to talk to you more about. I'd like to know what your process is to build this site of yours. Really. I can only imagine all the work that has to go into developing such a task. You know, you may want to talk to Jennifer Kelton over at @badonlinedates. She's got herself a pretty swell dev team, apparently.
Facebook for sure is the new way to meet dates. Thread is a good tool for finding the single peeps among your friends' friends…I kind of met my husband thru Facebook. Longer story on that.
I also think more people are going to use mobile apps to meet people…it's easy…you can search who is single and is within spitting distance of your ass at the local bar. More booty calls in the future fo sho. But I don't think Match.com and the like will be leaving us anytime soon.
I think you make a good point there, Kelly. That point surrounds our societies need for "instant gratification." I think the site that offers the quickest and most satisfying "bang" for our buck is the one that is going to prevail. IT will be a mobile and desktop platform, too, I think.