Online dating (still) sucks. You’d think that by now we’d be farther along in finding a solution. It seems like every day there are more “features,” but fewer and fewer success stories.

Here are 8 reasons why:

  1. Fake Pictures. You have no idea what the person you’re talking to really looks like. Those photos could be 5 years old. You don’t even know if they’re using their real name.
  2. Poor Filtering. You spend hours browsing profiles that don’t even meet minimum, objective criteria, like education level or location. You get messages from people who are out of your age range – why can they even see your profile?
  3. Can’t tell who is actually interested. There is a weird ritual of sending messages back and forth. Often, this leads nowhere. It’s creepy to be direct and say “You seem attractive. We may click in person. Want to meet up this week and find out?”
  4. Creating a profile is a huge pain. Can a personality test or “About Me” section really capture who you are and convey this to a stranger?
  5. You may see someone you know. For most people, this prospect is awkward if not downright frightening.
  6. Data never disappears online. If you send a message to someone and the discussion fizzles out, that message is still in your inbox for weeks, months, maybe even years. People forget things; they move on; they become friends instead (or not). But the internet always remembers.
  7. Rejection is painful, and there is more of it online. It’s so easy to block, delete, or simply not respond to someone online. At least at a bar, you have to acknowledge potential suitors… online, rejection is as simple as a mouse click, but it hurts just as much.
  8. It just feels juvenile. Let’s face it, creating endless profiles and lists of likes/interests is a legacy of the MySpace years. Qualitative, open ended questions should be asked in person on dates, not on multiple choice forms on websites.

Am I missing anything?


As someone who is completely insane, I decided that I would build a better dating website. Something more adult, for smart people who know what they’re looking for. I’d build a site that minimizes rejection, uses real names and photos, doesn’t require you to create a profile, and only shows you people who match your exact criteria (and you match theirs). And finally, I’d filter out everyone you already know. Sounds impossible, right?

This is what I came up with. I’m calling it “Circl.es” because I had this (Spanish) domain laying around (long story). Here is how it works:

  • You sign up with Facebook. I know people hate this, but it is critical for this concept for two reasons: it allows me to filter out all your Facebook friends, and it verifies your true identity.
  • You select your criteria. It’s simple, it’s objective, and it filters two ways – if someone doesn’t meet your criteria, you don’t see them, and they don’t see you.
  • You view people by their public Facebook pages. This is already out there – no need to make a new profile. You see real names, real pictures – the picture he/she uses with friends (whatever is publicly available – you can customize it in your privacy settings). You see mutual friends (if any). You see a legitimate person.
  • Sort by location. Let’s keep it simple and convenient – if a potential match lives across the street, don’t you want to interact with him/her first before schlepping across town for someone?
  • You click Yes, No, or Skip. You don’t need to exchange canned messages. You can see their real picture and read their blurb. You simply click Yes, No, or Skip. If you both click Yes, you are both notified. If you click No, the other person never sees your profile.
  • Communicate over Facebook. If there is mutual attraction, we email you, and that’s where things end. Message the person on Facebook and set up a date somewhere cool.
  • Matches expire after two weeks. Two weeks is plenty of time to get into contact with someone if there is a real interest. If not, or if things fizzle, you don’t need to be constantly reminded with some rando’s picture in your queue.

Does this sound like something worthwhile? Then please give it a try. It takes three minutes to set up. There won’t be many people early on; it’s the chicken and egg thing – someone’s gotta be first.

If you like the site and concept, please share with your friends!  You can use the buttons below, vote me up on Hacker News, or use the sharing buttons on Circl.es itself.  Please, please take just a moment to help me spread the word – I’d be very grateful!

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