When Online Dating Goes Offline
|Sam Stieler • 8/29/12|
A single piece of news has been shaking up the world of online dating over the last couple of months — Match.com is going to host between 2,000 and 3,000 offline events over the course of the next year.
These events will use the website’s matching algorithm to fill up venues with compatible singles who will attend, meet, mingle, and hopefully find a connection.
Some members of the online dating world think this is a great idea, one that creates a more natural opportunity for vetted singles to meet each other in an open, friendly and fun environment.
Others believe the notion of organizing offline meet-ups defeats the whole purpose of online dating in the first place.
Who is right here? Should online dating websites organize offline meet-ups? Or should they stick to the model that’s served them, and their many clients, so well over the last decade?
What’s the big deal?
Honestly, it’s hard to see where the controversy lies in a dating website hosting offline events for singles to mix and match in person.
These events aren’t going to be mandatory, and they aren’t going to prevent individuals from continuing to read each other’s profiles, message each other, and develop a connection without the pressures an in-person meeting may bring.
“This gives Match.com events a real edge over
trying to meet new people in random bar crowds.”
Instead, officially organized offline meet-ups provide users a number of additional opportunities online-only platforms could never provide.
- Users can start conversations with desirable women who might be too inundated with messages.
- Users can establish the foundations of offline relationships in a safe environment.
- Users can go out and have a good time regardless of whether they make a strong connection or not.
- Users are reminded to connect with people they want to establish a flesh and blood relationship with.
None of this is particularly new. Websites like Meetup.org have organized similar events for years, providing opportunities for individuals to join with others who share their interests in mutually enjoyable activities, such as going to see movies, learning how to dance or checking out new restaurants.
While these activity-oriented websites never officially position themselves as dating sites, the sheer number of singles who attend their events demonstrates the real reason many of us seek groups of like-minded individuals online.
As a final note, remember that Match.com doesn’t just create social events for single men and women to attend and then washes its hands of the matter. The website is using its proprietary matching algorithm to make sure those events are filled with mutually compatible singles.
This gives Match.com events a real edge over trying to meet new people in random bar crowds. In fact, this even gives Match.com an edge over Meetup.org and other websites that allow individuals to self-select their events based on personal interest and nothing more.
Overall, I find this really exciting. One of the best tools online websites offer their users are matching algorithms, personality measurements that help determine whether two people are likely to be compatible or not.
By combining these algorithms with an easy way to form a real-world connection with others, I find Match.com’s event system pretty exciting.