OkCupid!: it's different (and great)

published Jan 16, 2007, last modified Jun 26, 2013

Yesterday, I became addicted to a new social networking site called OkCupid!. Read on to find out why.

In a nutshell, OkCupid! is different in the sense of better. It's a combination social networking site, dating service and expert system.

What makes OkCupid! different? Here's the lowdown:

It's free

Unlike other dating services, OkCupid! is free. What's the secret sauce? You'll see below, when we explore its intelligent automation.

It's fast and elegant

Yes, it's plenty fast, especially when comparing it to Hi5 or MySpace. There's a minimum of ads (don't bank on this to be permanent) and you can donate $4 to get a service completely devoid of ads.

Reasonable sprinkles of AJAX top the fantastic usability of the site.

It's smart

The site automatically matches you with people using a scoring algorithm. This scoring algorithm uses your own personal preferences (derived from questions in whimsical tests) to match the likelihood that someone will be your match. An essentially limitless and fun questionnaire set is there for the taking.

You can sort search results by geography (distance to you), by match probability and other criteria. Whenever you visit someone's profile, you get to see lots of stats on that person, including how compatible (or enemy %) you are with that person. The site also tells you things like "Compared to this person, you're more loving, more scientific, ...".

And filling out tests is fun, instead of a chore. You'll see why.

It's not a chore

Many profiles on social networking sites are eternally under-developed and devoid of meaningful details, and the major social networking players have dedicated their efforts to enabling "pimping" of profiles instead of collecting information useful for decision-making.

Thus, it's no secret that developing personal profiles on them is a chore.

OkCupid! makes it fast through two revolutionary concepts:

  1. Using AJAX to assist you (yes, even the picture upload screen includes an AJAX cropper and resizer).
  2. Using the concept of rewards: your home screen is always "daring" you to complete another questionnaire, test, or to fulfill more information. An ephemeral, yet psychologically very effective technique to encourage you is to present a percentage indicator that grows as you complete your profile.

In summary

So, if you're looking for a new, refreshing Web place, I can heartily recommend OkCupid!. Have a great day there!