Dating site OK Cupid is launching a dedicated mobile application for setting up blind dates. The way it works appears to be a gamble for both the people on the date and the company itself.
We’ve mentioned OK Cupid several times on GaS before because they do a tremendous job of mining the huge database that is their user profiles to come up with some intriguing patterns such as atheists being smarter and iPhone users getting more sex.
The app, simply titled Crazy Blind Date, throws much of that data out the window, along with the idea of an algorithm for a perfect match. Although you can use your dating site login to import the details and save a few keystrokes, all you actually need to provide is your age, gender and sexual orientation, plus a photo. The pic is then “scrambled” in the style of a sliding tiles puzzle, so it’s not really completely “blind.”
When you’re ready for a date, you type in the details of when you’re available and the general location. The app looks for a match and, after confirming a date, opens up an anonymous chat window 30 minutes before the scheduled start time so that you can sort out a precise location and whichever cliched accompaniment you’ve used to identify yourself.
The app itself is free to use, though it effectively works on a donation basis. After the date you can use the app to say whether you want to exchange messages to set up a second date (assuming you haven’t done so in person.) You’ll also get asked whether you want to give kudos to your date, which costs 99 cents for one kudos and 2.99 for ten kudos, the idea being you are effectively rating them as a date. Users who get a lot of kudos will be listed as higher priority when the system sets up future matches.
If you’re thinking a sensible person would never spend money voluntarily in this way with nothing in return, and that you certainly wouldn’t want to give a high rating and increase the chances of somebody you liked getting more dates, OK Cupid is a step ahead of you. The system also takes into account how much kudos you have given, so if you go on a bunch of dates and never pay up, you’ll find it harder to get new dates. Of course it’s possible you might be unlucky and genuinely get a string of bad matches, but then you might want to write the service off anyway.