Putting the 'Crazy' in Crazy Blind Date
Online dating can be a funny business, but one new endeavor freely admits it's crazy.
I have not dated in a loooooooooong time. Thank. Goodness. I admire the courage it takes to put yourself out there and meet someone new. Blind dates, in particular, take the sort of energy and fortitude I wish we could see more of in Washington. (Read More: 12 Unique Dating Sites.)
But has something changed about dating since I got out of the game? Has it evolved to the point where dating sites are actually working against you?
I'm scratching my head over a new app from OkCupid called "Crazy Blind Date." Download the app and then upload an image of yourself. Mashable reported that OkCupid distorts most of the image to keep all possible dating candidates "blind." You are then paired together based on the time and location you are both available.
After the date, if you like you partner, you buy "kudos" on OkCupid to rate him or her. The more kudos you buy for $.99, the more you show your approval. Dates receiving kudos move higher up on the Crazy Blind Date list for future dates ... with other people.
(Read More: 12 Best Cities for Online Dating.)
So, let me get this right. You meet someone. If you like that person, you PAY money to OkCupid to say so. Then OkCupid uses that information to make the person more available for other dates, which could have the unintended effect of making you less desirable to that person. I mean, if you are a woman and the guy you just dated is suddenly more popular because you tell everyone how great he is, you're basically saying, "Date this guy! He's fantastic!" He starts to think, "You know what? I AM fantastic. I need to share myself more."
And you pay money for this?
Reactions have not been positive.
"OkCupid wants me to PAY MONEY to make my date more available to other people," Christina Trapolino wrote on Mashable, "Why would I do that, even with a casual suitor?"
Martina Fugazotto asked the same questions, adding, "Why would I pay $2.99 to help out other women that I don't even know? What do I get out of it when I pay for kudos?"
Emily Binder wondered if OkCupid isn't really interested in monetizing the app through selling kudos. "Maybe the business model is going to be based on location data. The app requires you to enable location services before posting your free times. I could see them selling this data to serve ads."
(Read More: Top Five Mistakes to Avoid in Online Dating.)
Here's an idea. Trick the app. Buy kudos for dates you hate, people who were awful—they're late, they've got food in their teeth, they talk incessantly about themselves, they order the most expensive thing on the menu and refuse to help pick up the tab. In other words, put the "Crazy" in Crazy Blind Date. And if you like a date, don't say a word.
UPDATE: An OkCupid spokesperson said the app is not meant to help others prosper at your expense, but quite the opposite. By paying the website to bestow kudos on a date, it tells OkCupid what kind of people and what kind of experiences you like. This helps it choose better matches for you.
In other words, you may want to continue dating your blind date, but you may also want to still meet others, and your feedback allows OkCupid to provide better choices. At the same time, if you do not like a date and provide zero kudos, the website said it wants to know why. Was this person a lousy date? Late? Rude? The app rolled out on Tuesday, so it hasn't been used yet, though I did ask for data on how many downloads there have been.
UPDATE 2: Oh dear, it looks like the Blind Date app isn't so blind, according to the Wall Street Journal. It reported that users' email addresses and birth dates can be found by "anyone with the right technical skills."
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells