Dating: The Final Frontier
OkCupid users not appreciating the way your Vulcan ears look in pictures? Match.com failing to find you a partner willing to read your wedding vows in Klingon? You’re not unlucky in love, you may just be using the wrong online dating platform.
Gizmodo published a post today about Trekkie Dating, a new online dating platform for Star Trek fans to meet significant others willing to geek out with them. “Live love and prosper,” reads the site. ”Welcome to a dating community that is light years ahead of others. Find like-minded friends, romance, & convention dates with other Trekkies TODAY!”
But given how many lonely hearts are roaming our pale blue dot, dating sites catering explicitly to Star Trek fans are not a new phenomenon. Star Trek Dating, largely populated by U.K. residents, has actually been around since 2010; Star Trek Dating.co.uk launched in June 2012 and claims to receive two million unique visitors a day.
Larry Page is “hopeful” about the outcome of that antitrust probe into Google. Good for him! [Wall Street Journal]
Speaking of Google, here’s a peak inside its top secret data center. [Wired]
Microsoft has set its Surface tablet price at $499. That’s a lot of money you will never spend on a thing from Microsoft. [Wall Street Journal]
Motherboard talked to Steve Jobs through a psychic medium. Happy Halloween? [Motherboard]
The London Review of Books has a sad about online dating. [LRB]
The new OKCupid TheDatable, a new social dating site, allows users to tag their single or, more selectively, “datable” Facebook friends—so that prospective dates can browse for partners within three degrees of separation, i.e. their friends’ friends. Non-singles can join too, but expect to be tagged as a “wing.”
Not just 140 characters The web series network Blip will partner with Twitter in its launch of “expanded tweets”—which will include links to partner websites and content previews allowing users to view images, play videos and more, all within the tweet itself.
DIY Pintrest competitor The Fancy has partnered with the peer-to-peer marketplace Zaarly so that users can buy and sell DIY items like this Lego head propane tank and these Cookie Monster cupcakes.
Daily Deals Dating
On most online dating sites, there’s no incentive to connect with someone right away. Match.com profiles are just always there for you to peruse, so there’s no pressure to act now and meet your perfect match. Recent Harvard Business School grad Arum Kang wants to change that with her new startup Coffee Meets Bagel, which integrates the concept of time-sensitive matchmaking with daily deals incentives.
NYU’s Skirball center was at capacity last night as roughly 850 people crowded into the once monthly New York Tech Meetup to celebrate the defeat of SOPA and PIPA, and check out some startup demos.
Last night was also special (and started late) because the meetup was simulcast on Livestream for the first time in many months, so everybody at New Work City and New York General Assembly could join the NYTM remotely.
The big news: NYTM announced two new sponsors: Bloomberg and Nasdaq. Nasdaq has apparently been “shooting awesome video of the tech startups that are being built here.”
Love in the Time of Algorithms
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?
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.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Aaron Schildkrout is the co-founder and co-CEO of HowAboutWe.com—a dating site that’s all about actually getting offline on real dates. Yesterday he got word of the first HowAboutWe wedding.
Adrianne Jeffries of Betabeat pinged me yesterday with a link to a post from Philip Greenspun titled, “Is this continued existence of involuntarily single people proof that online dating is a failure?“
STC (Save the Click): Here’s a summary of Greenspun’s piece: He argues that, given the falling rates of marriage over the past few decades and the continued plethora of single people who want to be married, online dating is a de facto failure. He believes that self-description in online dating should be abandoned for more of a peer-testimony system. His evidence is some census data about marriage rates and the success of a lengthy testimony he wrote on behalf of a now-married friend. The whole thing is framed in opposition to the claims of a pro-online-dating “26-year-old” guy who Greenspun met at a Hanukkah Party (“suspiciously held on Christmas Eve”).
On first glance, it’s easy to mistake the newly-launched online dating site Blackbook 365 for one of Gilt Groupe’s rapidly multiplying fashion verticals. The site, which was founded by a fashion entrepreneur (who wants to remain anonymous . . . for now) has sections on style, beauty, food & cocktails, and even an “It List” of trendsetters and tastemakers.
But it’s raison d’être can be found under the tabs Men 365 and Women 365.
Just as Gilt Groupe delivers daily deals on a curated selection of luxury goods, Blackbook 365 will feature a daily profile of a good-looking, successful, (ostensibly charming) professional–the aspirational items of the dating world! Sorry, no flash sale on lasting love, though.
To kick off a fascinating and lengthy piece about online dating in The New Yorker this week, Nick Paumgarten looks at TACT, the Technical Automated Compatability Testing service pioneered by an I.B. M programmer and an accountant from Queens after a visit to the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens.
For five dollars, customers got the chance to answer hundreds of questions where they offered their like, dislike and philosophies of life. Men got to choose their favorite hairstyle, women their favorite scene of a man at work. These answer were transferred to punch cards and fed into an I.B.M. 1400 Series. It got 5,000 subscribers in the first year.