It seems to me that one of the most challenging aspects of running a dating site is the degree of caution people – women in particular – is the wheat-from-the-chaff problem. Namely, differentiation between losers (and worse) and non-losers, and the serious from the unserious.

This is particularly a problem on the free ones (I don’t know if they exist anymore) or those with a monthly fee where it was most economical for a guy to shoot as many messages as possible and for the women to have to wade through them. Or vice-versa, but usually not.

One of the ways around this, of course, is to charge people money. LavaLife charged you each time you reached out to somebody, which was good at making sure that I only reached out when I was genuinely interested and probably cut back on the amount of sausage-spam the ladies got.

I was on a high-end site for a year. I couldn’t believe I was spending that much money, but the barrier actually proved to be a good thing. If I was paying that much, it did signal that I wasn’t a deadbeat. And if they were paying that much to be on the site, I could be sure that every message I sent out would almost certainly be read. Indeed, I got as many reach-outs on that site as I did on any other. There weren’t a whole lot of people, but cost was its own selection mechanism.

Of course, the “not a whole lot of people” proved problematic for the business, which disappeared shortly after my subscription expired. But if I had it all to do over again (and I hopefully won’t), I would probably not be thrifty about it because cost can have its own benefit.

There is a new site called Wyldfire that seeks to filter without too-high costs. A referral system:

“We’ve discovered that when it comes to dating apps, men will go anywhere where women go, but women won’t go anywhere men go unless it’s worth their time,” says Sarah Cardey, the director of operations and marketing for Wyldfire. “But if women are the ones creating the community and are accountable for the type of people they let in, we feel like we could make a dating app women can be proud of.”

This is the guiding principle behind Wyldfire (yes, “wild” is spelled with a “y,” a la “Wyld Stallyns” from Bill and Ted), a mobile dating app set to launch early next month. Unlike Tinder and other dating apps, which have no screening processes to filter out crotch shot-requesting creepsters, Wyldfire automatically filters out weirdos by having female users select men to invite to the app (you can invite users anonymously if you so choose by sending them a “feather,” or request to join, via Facebook or e-mail).

Dating apps may or may not be a saturated market, but it’s an interesting angle.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t figured out why Facebook hasn’t created the ultimate match site yet.

Category: Coffeehouse

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2 Responses to Filtered Dating Sites

  1. Foose says:

    Women invite men to the site by sending them “a feather”?

    It was apparently notorious in Britain during World War I that patriotic women would present male civilians with white feathers, to imply they were cowards for not being in uniform. The custom evolved earlier – A.E.W. Mason’s 1902 The Four Feathers, made into a movie several times, features the reluctant hero being handed four white feathers, including one from his fiancee, after he declines to join the regimental embarkation for Egypt.

    So it’s a bit of an unhappy choice for this dating site.

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