OKCupid starts screwing around with messages

Stop Screwing with okcupid

I proposed a few times in the past that dating sites may not necessary showing your messages to certain people because of a number of reasons (maybe you are sending too many messages, maybe you are deemed no beautiful enough!)

Well OKcupid quietly announced this change over the holiday season.

Hi! We’ve made some exciting changes to how messaging on OkCupid works. You see, from member feedback we found that our messaging system needed some help: members were getting too many unwanted messages, which was distracting them from the messages they actually wanted to respond to. After all, the conversations that end up leading to something are between people who actually like each other, so we wanted to make it easy for you to focus on just those messages. So now, although you can still send a message to anyone, you’ll only see messages in your Conversations from people you’ve liked. People who have messaged you but whom you haven’t liked yet will be highlighted in DoubleTake (and everywhere else, too) — just visit their profile to see the message. And if you’ve already liked someone, their message will automatically show up in your Conversations. Easy! And now for the best part — after testing these changes for weeks, we’ve found that this new way of messaging increases matches by over 30%! So thanks to your feedback, we’ve been able to make some pretty exciting improvements in time for the new year.

It sounds like a reasonable change, but I do wonder how much further they will go with this? It wouldn’t be hard to not show messages because of x reasons.

If you think about it also, OKCupid is slowly pushing people towards the ways it prefers to connect with people. No longer can you browse, read peoples profiles and send a message hoping to connect that way. I understand why but once again where does it lead us?

After a little discussion with the amazing Lydia about this. I do think it’s good that okcupid is listening to it’s audience, but we do agree they may only be doing this due to falling numbers to the likes of tinder (owned by the same company) and bumble (match group tried to buy recently).

The skeptical me (anything okcupid does right now I am very skeptical about) thinks there might be a better way to educate users about their poor inbox filling messages. But it’s clear from okcupids founders own book Dataclysm, the mass produced non-personal messages seem to get conversations started (much to my dismay of humanity when reading this). Its also clear men are the biggest culprit of sending these and although a 2nd inbox (similar to Facebook?) to sorted by liked unliked people is a good for women. Maybe okcupid could educate the men before the message is even sent?

We seen (we see everything!) you copied and pasted this same message over and over again (5x times in 24hours), we are not going to send it till you think of something more original or read the profile!

Okcupid is a safe place for ALL its users…

Now that would be bold, helpful and move the emphasis from the victim to the culprits.

You could even quota the sent messages which resets when there is a reply and reduces further on blocks? But this all needs to be transparent and educational otherwise the user will just setup another account out of spite or frustration?

Phone Etiquette for Dyslexics

I kind of hate voicemail (who doesn’t) but mine are for different reasons. Dyslexia Victoria sums it up perfectly

As a Dyslexic I have issues with different aspects of verbal and written language.  One of my pet peeves is people leaving phone messages. Callers have a tendency to start their message by saying their name quickly, launch into their message which can go on and on and then finish by saying their phone number so fast, it’s practically unintelligible.

I believe there are people who can catch these numbers but as a Dyslexic I am challenged trying to write numbers down in the correct order, especially phone numbers. I will usually get the first two and a couple more somewhere in the sequence of numbers and always reverse the two middle numbers in the last set of numbers. So for example:    1-800-346-0925 becomes –    1-8??-3??-?296

This means I now have to go back and play the message several times to get the name and phone number and some of the message. This drives me crazy..

Yes it drives me crazy too, so much that I changed my voicemail message to ask people to slowdown and repeat their number. I certainly concur with the suggestions…

Here are some suggestions for people leaving messages because you never know if the person writing the message down is numbers and word challenged.

  • When you begin say your name slowly and clearly, who you are with if applicable and your phone number.

  • Say the phone number slowly and clearly and then repeat it.

  • Keep your message short and clear

  • End your message with your name and phone number said slowly and clearly

Those old race fears come back to haunt online dating


I’ve been meaning to write about race and dating for a while. Originally I was going to write for Singleblackmale but I’m not really bringing anything new to the party except my own thoughts.

Racism is not gone, not by a long shot. In the online world the xenophobia runs riot.

If you need evidence of this, I’d point you at the now classic OkCupid’s Trend about Race Affects The Messages You Get. Then a more recently thanks to Tim Dobson, some more uncomfortable racial preferences.

Its worth pointing out that like most online dating data, we (not just me) grab on to it in lei of anything else. The last one Are you Interested? Could be seen as a poor/bad attempt to get their name out in an already crowded field. To be honest I had only heard of Are you interested? In passing and never actually tried it or installed it. I was surprised they hadn’t gone for rui.com instead.

Here’s the upshot

Despite an increase in interracial marriages and birth of multiracial babiesone study revealed that racism is still a factor when looking for love online.Kevin Lewis, a sociologist at University of California San Diego, analyzed messages sent by over 120,000 users on dating site, OkCupid, finding racial prejudice affects dating decisions. According to Lewis’ research, all users falling within the site’s five largest racial categories (black, white, Asian, Latino, Indian) were more likely to initiate contact with users from their same racial background.“Most men (except black men) are unlikely to initiate contact with black women, all men (including Asian men) are unlikely to reply to Asian women, and although women from all racial backgrounds tend to initiate contact with men from the same background, women from all racial backgrounds also disproportionately reply to white men,”

Now you can pretend or not acknowledge these facts but trust me as someone who has emailed quite a few people in the past, there is something about the replies you don’t get. That silence even when you connect really well on many levels. Of course its not simply one kind of person, it just happens if your males and black, you will get less replies.

This is why I find the data really interesting as its response rates. You can craft an algorithm which connects people in what ever way but their reply rate will say so much more.

However saying all this, something else is at play

Lewis also found that people were more willing to reply to a user of a different race after that person initiated contact. Furthermore, they were more likely to start a conversation with a user of a different race after that interaction.Lewis said one qualifying factor for this could be simple preemptive discrimination. In other words, users are less likely to initiate contact with a person of another race because they’re not sure that person will be interested in them.“Part of the reason site users, and especially minority site users, do not express interest in individuals from a different racial background is because they anticipate — based on a lifetime of experiences with racism — that individuals from a different background will not be interested in them.”

The data were reading from the dating sites is the instant reply rates. As I was saying no one likes being rejected specially on the grounds of race, theres a self censorship or lack of confidence to put yourself through the pain again. However if you do its more likely to work out better than you imagined.

So although the reply rates are bad for certain races such as black people, and it seems hopeless sometimes. I would urge people to keep going. Its a bit of a numbers game and this is once again another reason why the free online dating sites win out over the top of paid dating sites. You need time and its no fun sinking more and more money and your attention into something which isn’t going well.

Keep going…!