A 2019 analysis of online dating.

Here is something I wrote on my OkCupid profile in, I assume, 2019. I say “assume” because I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it. However, I mention that I’d been on OkCupid for 13 years, and, since I’m celebrating my 15th OKC birthday this year, it puts the timeframe around 2019.

It was just a single paragraph in my “I spend a lot of time thinking about” section (I liked to limit my thoughts to single paragraphs so you’d know when one thought ended and the next one began); however, I’ve broken it up into multiple paragraphs and edited it slightly to make it more readable, and I’ve also added some notes in square brackets.

Dating sites are starting to resemble online gaming. That is, in their structures, features, and InterActiveCorp’s business model [I did have a parenthetical thought here about how IAC (now Match Group) has a monopoly of the online dating community; however, I removed it because it didn’t read well]. You can play the game, earn the in-game currency (so to speak), and get by okay; or, you can pay them real-world money in exchange for in-game currency, and get a lot more success. However, it gets to the point where the “grind” (playing the game without in-game purchases) gets so restrictive and tedious. Now, I’ve been on OKC for 13 years, and followed its evolution over that time. In my 13 years, I’ve had amazing “success” on this site (as I said earlier on my profile, it’s taken me around the world), but, because of the removal of some of the best features (the blog [Notes], the quizzes [Tests], the psychology game [The Psychologist Game] that was fucking amazing) and putting some basic features (seeing messages without having to go looking for them, unrestricted search results [you could still search in 2019?]) behind a paywall, they’ve made it a worse place to connect with people.

Beyond that, they’ve given an unfair advantage to people who pay. [What I meant by this is that you’re no longer relying on your own abilities (something I have no problem with), but, instead, gaming the system.] If you pay, you get to see more people [for a while, OkCupid restricted how many people showed up in search your results based on your willingness to give them money], more people get to see you [if you didn’t pay, you wouldn’t show up in all search results, even if you matched the search criteria exactly], and they make you more “attractive” (how they do that, I have no idea [I still have no idea how they made someone more attractive beyond the previous point of limiting who could see you]).

Back in the day, there were only three reasons to get A-List [I decided to split this into bullet points to make it more readable]:

  • a larger inbox (3,000 messages instead of just 300), which I fucking needed back in the day, and I was so glad I got to keep after I cancelled my A-List (well, until they fucked up the messaging system);
  • to see who looked at your profile, while also remaining hidden [Incognito Mode]… you used to be able to see who looked at your profile (it wasn’t a paid-for feature), or not if you didn’t want other people to know you looked at their profile… A-List allowed both [i.e. the ability to see who had viewed your profile while also not showing up as having viewed other people’s profile; aka Incognito Mode]; or,
  • if you wanted to see likes [Winks] (much like now).

However, they’ve changed all that now. Now, if you want something basic, like, to always appear in search results that you would usually have appeared in, or read fucking messages without having to hunt them down, you’ve gotta pay for it. And it’s not like the $10 a month it used to be; no, it’s now $40 a month… for fewer features.

And it’s not just OKC. As I said, IAC (OKC’s parent company) owns pretty much every dating platform on the web, including Tinder, which has the exact same business model [and now feature set], and POF (I don’t know how that works nowadays because I got banned for using the word “clitic” (which in no way means what they think it means) and “cocktail” (although, I see they’ve still got the message “If your profile contains sexual language of any kind your account will be deleted” on account setup… the cunts [this appears to have been removed, but they still censor foul language, including “cocktail”])).

So, yeah, IAC is the EA of the dating world, but worse because there aren’t many other alternative platforms.

As I’ve looked into Match Group’s business model more, and as OkCupid has evolved more, I’ve realized that I was slightly misguided. This was written on the assumption that IAC/Match Group didn’t just buy OkCupid to strip it of its features in the hope of shifting people over to its premium site, Match.com. Thus, the analogy is a little flawed. IAC/Match Group is not so much the EA of online dating because EA doesn’t sell you one stripped-down game in the hope of you paying more for a completely different game. IAC/Match Group is much more corrupt than EA. EA hasn’t bought all of its competitors to gain a monopoly. EA hasn’t been sued by the FTC for false advertising like Match Group has. But I’ll dive more into that in another blog post.

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