OPW INTERVIEW - July 2 - eHarmony matches based on similarities, but some argue that matching people on complimentary i.e. opposite traits, makes life more interesting for the matchees. Matching on opposite traits seems like a black art, to me. Matching on similarities seems like something that is far more predictable and repeatable. Opposites Connect is a new site that matches opposites. They’re running TV ads right now. I talked with the Founder and CEO Larry Wilson. - Mark Brooks
What is your founding story and what inspired you to start Opposites Connect?
All dating sites have the same methodology. They are looking to fix up people with their perfect harmonious match, or in other words, their mirror image. It might work for several people but I’d be willing to bet there is a huge populous in the single’s community that this method doesn’t apply to. It just seems to be common sense to me. My grandmother used to tell me that opposites attract.
As a result, I started looking to see if there was anyone out there who did it that way. I was actually shocked to see that there wasn’t.
Why opposites? Do they really attract? Have you found any evidence perhaps that has drawn you to the conclusion that there’s a better approach to help people meet based on opposites?
Yes, actually there is a lot of anecdotal proof. As I said, my grandmother said opposites attract but it is important to draw the comparison between opposites attracting and opposites connecting. Sure you can attract for a variety of reasons but will you be able to establish a connection as well? That is what we’re striving to accomplish.
We all know people in our lives, for example, couples that have been together for 15 years or more. We look at them and we say: “Them? They’re so different. How is it working for them?” But it does! The whole concept just stands to reason. The differences that you have and the conflict resolution skills that you develop from having different preferences and ideas about how certain things should work really foster a long term bond.
So when I had this idea, I approached 3 prominent relationship experts, psycho-therapists if you will, who actively see clients on a daily basis. They informed me that the number one problem of the clients they have is that they’re constantly going for the same type of person over and over again and it has failed for them. We are the dating site that lets you look at that other person, that person you might not normally give a chance to even though they might have so much to offer.
How do you help opposites connect on OppositesConnect.com?
For starters, we try to make sure that people are similar to a certain degree. For example, are they both single? Are they looking for a long term relationship and do they both believe in family, etc? They fill out the questions in our questionnaire.
Once we’ve established the basics, we want to find out what makes them different. Specifically, what makes them unique. We want to give them terrific conversation starters. There needs to be more to a conversation on a first date than saying, me too.
We think that one interesting, thought provoking and fun date will lead to another and another and another and eventually, develop a long term relationship. This is where our success comes in, not necessarily in terms of producing marriages but developing fun dates into long term relationships.
How are you promoting the site? That’s always the golden question for new dating sites. You’re building to critical mass fresh out of the gate. How are you getting to the first level of membership?
We’ve just launched our Beta site. We’re doing this very slowly and in a very orderly fashion. Shortly we will start rolling out our national advertising campaign. You’ll be seeing our banners and ads on many of the leading sites. We’ve also filmed 2 promotional videos.
Another important part of our PR and advertising is the fact that we’re free for the time being. If you look at our site, you might agree with me that it’s a beautiful site. It’s certainly not what people are used to seeing when they go to free sites. Will it be free forever? I don’t know that. If we can generate the necessary revenue through advertising, I would love to keep it free.
We’re also going to launch an iPhone app and an affiliate program. As I said, it’s all a very slow step by step process.
Where would you like to be by the end of the year? What is your vision for the end of December in terms of membership and achievements for the site?
We would like to have anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands, certainly within a calendar year. I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to accomplish this, given that we are a free alternative site. It also helps that there is nothing like us out there at the moment.
My research showed that while we were developing our business plan, 60% of all internet daters were on more than one site at a time. In most cases they even paid $20 to $30 a month for what essentially measures up to be the same matching technique. We offer an alternative, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t be a success.