After wading through many online dating web sites, and being depressed at having to choose between searches on superficial features which return thousands of uninteresting results, or keyword searches which rarely return any results, I found OkCupid! (thanks to Wayne Radinsky). I have some hope that it will do for online dating what Google did for searches.
It encourages people to provide it with lots of information that can be used to compare people, mainly by asking lots of yes/no or multiple choice questions (many submitted by users). A few examples (selected more for their amusement value than importance):
Eventually, a computer will write the best novel ever written.
I should be able to sell my vote for cash if I feel like it.
Would you rather get caught masturbating by your mother or father?
Could you date a giant carnivorous reptile?
Would you ever date or mess around with a good friend’s ex?
Ethnicity restrictions? You racist. Please note that unless you leave these blank (which we recommend), you’ll only match with people who’ve submitted their ethnicities.
They have some way of deducing from user responses how valuable each question is.
They’ve written and open sourced their own web server.
It’s free and plans to stay that way, and is supported by ads.
I’m a bit disappointed that they claim the site shows “a disregard for profit”. I doubt they’re any less interested in profit than Google is, although they’ve clearly avoided the cover-your-ass culture of large bureaucracies. The site doesn’t yet have enough people to be terribly valuable, but it appears to be growing quickly enough that it will succeed.
So for I’ve got one message from a person who is a good deal more interesting than anyone I’ve met on the usual dating sites in quite a while, except that he’s in Pennsylvania (OkCupid doesn’t seem very good at handling geographic preferences).
I’m annoyed that their menu for languages in which I’m fluent offers Khmer, C++, LISP, and some languages I don’t recognize, but not Python.
It has a Friendster-like provision for lists of friends. If I know you and you become an OkCupid member, please let me know.