This is how I would build an online dating site.
Several of my friends met their partners through online dating but despite that most people I know have had bad experiences through the process.
I was having a discussion recently with a few female friends of mine about the subject and a few interesting things always seem to come up, one being there are a lot of guys messaging them for unwanted sex or misrepresenting their availability for a relationship. That’s to say my female friends get a lot of dick picks and go on coffee dates with guys that happen to be married.
Guys on the other hand have to send a lot of text messages that are generally a poor way of making proper introduction because they don’t convey what people are like in person. I’m also surprised at how many bots and scammers run through dating sites.
Then there is the issue of harassment and general rude individuals. I wonder if a lot of bad behaviour that puts people off of dating could be helped with more social interaction and mentoring. A lot of people go about looking for a relationship in really immature ways that they would never act out in a work or family setting. A few good friends to point out missteps or opportunities may be all it takes for some.
Given all that, here is how I would build a dating site. It’s all about playing matchmaker.
As a user you would sign up with a few pictures and short biography but you can’t message other users right away. You then mark down a block of time in a calendar that you are available for a voice or video conference chat. The site would set up short conference calls to take place with two other users that have the same time available. During the call you get to know new people and make some notes about them. The purpose of the call is not to find someone that you will date but rather to find people that you enjoy talking with so that you can play matchmaker when you find two other people you think would make a good pair.
The calls would generally start out in short blocks of time between two other people of a random gender. Sometimes this will mean two guys and one girl, one girl and two guys or three guys or three girls depending on preferences. After speaking with several people you will build a list of the ones you enjoy speaking with and then eventually you can recommend matches between the ones you think would be good together.
When someone recommends a match for you a notification will come in and you can message them. In the meantime you can enjoy getting to know new people and help introduce others. If the people you match like each other you get some internet points that would bump you up in the priority list to help boost your exposure. I would imagine people good at finding matches would be desirable friends.
I like the fact there is no immediate expectation when chatting with new people. I also find speaking is a more comfortable way of communicating than texting/typing.
People who typically receive too many messages would only receive recommendations from friends based on an understanding of who you are and what you are looking for.
Alternately people who typically send lots of messages and don’t receive a lot of feedback would be able to build a network of other like minded individuals to talk to and share advice, interests, ideas, etc.
An important characteristic of this set up is that it encourages you to get to know others and put in work towards finding matches. It makes the matches that occur more rare and significant. It feels to me like a more natural way of interacting with new people.
Ultimately it would be a place for everyone to enjoy conversations with new people, expand social networks and potentially find a great relationship match.
There are a bunch of fun variations that might be interesting to try for example allowing people you speak with to add to your public profile. Maybe one day I will build something like this. Let me know your thoughts.