OkTrend pipes up…

I Hate It

3 Years later, Ok trends (OKCupid’s blog about trends across the Okcupid service) pipes up with a new entry, titled We experiment on human beings. In a cynical  move to get in on the facebook controversy. Maybe they are feeling the heat from Facebook and its enviable rise to take over online dating.  So threaten, they decided to let everyone know they are still around and relevant ? Maybe I’m being too skeptical?

However there are some interesting parts… to this rare and burst of information.

A while ago, we had the genius idea of an app that set up blind dates; we spent a year and a half on it, and it was gone from the app store in six months.

Of course, being geniuses, we chose to celebrate the app’s release by removing all the pictures from OkCupid on launch day. “Love Is Blind Day” on OkCupid—January 15, 2013.

All our site metrics were way down during the “celebration”, for example:

But by comparing Love Is Blind Day to a normal Tuesday, we learned some very interesting things. In those 7 hours without photos:

And it wasn’t that “looks weren’t important” to the users who’d chosen to stick around. When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind”.

Those conversations melted away. The goodness was gone, in fact worse than gone. It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight.

Basically, people are exactly as shallow as their technology allows them to be.

I think OKCupid is right on this. The technology drives the way people decide to use it. This is why its critical not to drive people into a gamified  model or cognitively overload them with information.

I also wondered what happened with OKcupid’s blind date app? Not so frank this time about the lack of take up! I’m pretty sure it received a flurry of activity but now no ones actually using it at all. Nice idea OKCupid but your own results prove it, no ones using it and its time it was retired me thinks…

I’ll be interested to see if more stats will be coming out of oktrends in the near future. They took away the paid for dating one and who knows what else they are going to do to


Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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