Sunday, July 25, 2010

Internet dating moves (back) into the real world

Computers can provide a multitude of services, and a new class of dating services uses them not to help people meet others, but to preserve their anonymity until they decide to relinquish it: The New Dating Tools: A Card and a Wink.

"This is the next generation of online dating. Unlike traditional dating sites where members spend hours on computers writing autobiographies and scrutinizing photographs, a raft of newfangled dating tools are striving to better bridge the gap between online and real-world romance.

"Some companies offer a combination of flirty calling cards and Web pages. Others operate dating applications that use the global positioning systems in cellphones to help local singles find one another.

"All of them contend they are superior to big online dating sites like Match.com; eHarmony.com because meeting people is faster, more organic and less formal. And participants are not limited to a database of members: the world is their dating pool.

“It’s almost like you’re shopping online,” said Ms. Cheek, “but you’re shopping in real life.”

"At the same time, these hybrid dating tools still enable users to keep their names and personal information private for as long as they like.

"Ms. Cheek, an architect who works part-time in sales for a high-end Manhattan furniture company, founded one such venture, Cheek’d, which had its debut in May. Users receive calling cards to dole out to alluring strangers they encounter in their everyday lives, be it in a club or in a subway on their morning commute. Recipients of the cards can use the identification code printed on them to log onto Cheekd.com;and send a message to their admirer. A pack of 50 cards and a month’s subscription to Cheek’d, where users can receive messages and post information about themselves, is $25. There is no fee for those who receive cards to communicate with an admirer through the site."
...
"On each red FlipMe! card is an explanation for the recipient: “I’ve said ‘what if’ too many times ... not this time.” A pack of 30 cards and a three-month membership to flipmedating.com is $24.99. The cards, which all say the same thing, are sold online and in some salons and spas in the Northeast. A cellphone application is in the works."
...
"Card users said companies like FlipMe! and Cheek’d are emboldening them to approach people who might otherwise have been missed connections. They also appreciate how the companies reverse the online dating process — observe someone in person first, then send an electronic message. There’s no need to contend with false advertising on dating Web sites."
...
"Other companies are helping singles connect through location-based technology on their mobile phones. In the last few years the number of Web sites and applications like Grindr, Are You Interested? and Urban Signals, has swelled.

"One of the biggest is the free iPhone dating application Skout, which recently surpassed its millionth member. Skout uses a cellphone’s global positioning system to help users to find like-minded people within a walkable radius of one another. (For safety reasons, Skout does not identify a user’s precise location.) Those who sign up for the application create basic profiles with photographs and then use an instant message feature to communicate when they are within range of each other. Then, they can arrange a mutual meeting spot.

“It’s really combining the best of online dating and real-world people discovery,” said Christian Wiklund, Skout’s founder."

1 comment:

Andy Waid said...

It's always easier to understand these type of concepts when they're related to the real world, especially for someone who isn't familiar with KBRs and KPIs. That was a great way to make the comparisons...and Ron Burgundy always helps!
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