Remember that Crazy Blind Date app from OKCupid that purports to set you up with someone who hopefully won’t kill and/or maim you for a night on the town? Turns out it accidentally exposed users’ email addresses and birthdays. Sucks for everyone who lied about their age! [Wall Street Journal]
Google is holding a developer event for Glass. If you paid that $1,500 to get a test pair of Glass, you’re in for a treat. [AllThingsD]
California Rep. Zoe Lofgren has proposed a bill that she hopes will be called “Aaron’s Law” aimed at modifying the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which many say was abused in the Aaron Swartz case. [The Hill]
New MySpace seems kind of like it’s just a big ad for Justin Timberlake’s new song. [TechCrunch]
The awesome NASA mohawk guy is going to ride with a Mars Rover float in the Inaugural Parade, because America. [Wired]
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Internet dating not delivering the same thrill it used to? OKCupid would like you to try out a new service called “Crazy Blind Date,” which lets users arrange to meet people they don’t know much about it. It may sound like a Kate Hudson vehicle, but we assure you it’s not. Not yet, anyway. [AllThingsD]
The word on Wall Street is that Michael Dell is looking at a deal to take his company private, a move which may free the PC-maker from the attentions of profit-hungry investors and give the company room to shift its strategy to better compete in mobile and cloud computing. [Bloomberg]
The Feds says that Kim Dotcom’s entrapment claims are baseless. Mr. Dotcom says he’s going to unveil a new file-sharing service on January 19, the one-year anniversary of his arrest. [Wired]
Is Y Combinator funding the future of Windows spam? [IStartedSomething]
In case you forgot, Facebook is holding a press conference today, fueling speculation that Zuck & Co. will announce a new product. One guess: Search. [Pocket-lint]
the startup rundown
The basic premise of OkCupid, Match.com, or eHarmony seems to be that science, or at least math, is a better judge of a potential partner than you are. While you (fallible human) may fall for a winsome smile, the algorithm knows whether that guy or gal is too religious or kinky or short for you to really get along.
However a new report commissioned by the Association for Psychological Science calls bullshit, basically. Along with four other psychology professors, Northwestern’s Eli Finkel found that while dating sites are a “terrific addition,” the algorithms they employ are no better than having a “real estate agent of love,” says Reuters. Does that mean they try to get you to go out with someone who is soulmate-adjacent?
WEAVE. Startup Threads, a merchandising site for startups from local newletter mogul and startup founder Frank Denbow, just launched a new monthly program where consumers can subscribe to receive new startup gear each month. The company will partner with a different startup each month to create interesting merchandise. Right now that lucky startup is Hipmunk, the company behind the new flight finding tool. Startup Threads hopes to become a “marketing channel for startups.”
ALL ABOARD. StartupBus is now accepting applications for the hackathon-on-a-bus competition in March and this year New York will be represented. To get invited you’ve got to shine like the brightest star in the sky… or look on social media to see if people are offering invites. StartupBus said they are expecting way more applications than they can handle. You’ve been warned.
Last Friday, OkCupid’s data scientist Max Shron gave about 30 students at a Hackdays event a peek at what he does everyday: take terrifying amounts of raw data, make sense of it and draw insightful conclusions based on what he finds.
Students—including three girls!—gathered in a classroom on the third floor of NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and got ready to nerd out.
If your recollection of the last tech bubble is kinda hazy—Netscape IPO yadda yadda Pets.com—you might have missed the hype around Nerve Personals, which first launched in the year 2000.
For New Yorkers of a certain self-selecting cultural persuasion, the dating site from Nerve.com was the first online offering that catered to their demo. Read More
OkCupid has earned a reputation for its fun and insightful use of data, playing with the mountains of statistics it has on the science of love. But today it met its match in the mathematics blog Isomorphismes.
The main thrust of the argument here is that the mandatory questions users need to answer when creating a profile and finding a match really skew the system. They are often rather sensitive questions, for example Isomorphismes’ mandatories include: Do you think homosexuality is a sin, would you try to control your mate with suicide, would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce (yikes!).
Has any startup company blog ever been as ripped off as OKTrends? OKCupid started compiling statistics about its users, thanks to Harvard data nerd and cofounder Christian Rudder, and releasing those stats as press releases and blog posts. Due to the subject matter–iPhone users have more sex!–the posts were sticky and fun and got picked up by bloggers everywhere.
Makeouts To Go
It’s possible to set up and use an account on OKCupid using someone else’s email address, as comedian and blogger Adam Heath Avitable discovered last week when he woke up to emails from the dating site addressed to “gayasssfuck,” thanking him for creating a profile. And what a profile! “Someone put my real address, with my photo, in a dating profile on OkCupid, using my real email address, and invited people to come rape me. Oh, and they actually sent out messages to 24 different men as well,” Mr. Avitable writes.
When OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagan announced yesterday that the company’s mobile app would now let users connect with members “near you, right now, on the fly,” he did so with no small measure of chutzpah. Along with revealing a “Twitter-like” broadcast feature to plan your night and an integration with Foursquare’s venue database, the headline for the press release came out swinging at the competition: “OkCupid Goes Local with Mobile Dating that People Will Actually Use.” Zing!
Betabeat got Mr. Yagan on the phone to find out what exactly he meant by that, what makes OkCupid Locals any different, a time before smartphones (yes, Virginia, it did exist), and why we may soon see the resurrection of CrazyBlindDate, a dating service before its time.