OPW INTERVIEW - Nov 12 - DateAha! wants to be Yelp for online dating. The tool launched last week. Its a free browser extension that syncs with user's profiles on dating sites so they can leave anonymous comments regarding someone's profile, based on dates or interactions. Comments can be then viewed by other DateAha! users.
What was the motivation behind creating DateAha!? What problem are you trying to solve in the online dating world?
The biggest problem in the dating world is the toxic behavior of (primarily) men due to the lack of accountability for their actions. This prevents women from trying online dating because they’ve heard horror stories from friends or they try and quit within days or weeks because of the obnoxious behavior they encounter – leading to a gender disparity on most sites. The industry would be larger and healthier if there was gender balance on platforms and this is only going to be achieved by rooting out the toxic behavior of the bad actors in the system.
How would a typical user use DateAha! to learn more about their date?
As they browse online dating profiles they may notice our extension icon pop with a number. This means that other users have already left that many comments about that profile/URL. They have the option to click on our icon and review the previous comments, reply to one or more of those comments or add their own comment about that profile. These user generated comments are a form of validation by the community and will help daters know that the person in the profile is real and genuine. This includes validating that the information provided is accurate and help weed out misleading photos, age, marital status and other biographical information.
How does DateAha! operate within the permissions and privacy restrictions of the dating apps it services?
We don't have an app solution yet. Our first generation release is for online dating websites. DateAha! only works for people who already have online dating profiles and access to the dating websites. We don't share any content from the dating site or reuse it in any way. For instance, if you are not a OKCupid member you can't view the profile and glean the additional user generated content from other registered OKCupid users. We are like the extension Honey for online dating websites – our users have access to additional information as they browse. The failure of earlier services like Lulu and Peeple is they needed users to create profiles on a third-party platform including taking images or profile data from the dating website and then enable commenting on that third-party platform. We don't do that, we don't touch the underlying content and only registered users of that service can see the comments about those pages.
Apart from DateAha!, how do you think dating services can better protect their users?
I think the dating services have a stronger incentive to increase paid users than protect them. DateAha! works with every online dating site (and every app in the future) so there is nowhere for the toxic users to hide – if they don't change their behavior they will be driven out of the system. Part of the dating sites problem is they only have a binary choice – keep the user or delete their account. They error on the side of keeping the user, especially a paid user. DateAha! allows them to keep the user but give people feedback about the user so they can make better decisions and so the offending users might also improve the way they interact with other people.
How will DateAha! function differently when it is released on iOS and Android vs web?
The biggest difference is it will be more of a pull method on apps instead of a push method where we can see the URL as you browse and be proactively viewing our database for comments associated with that URL and pop the icon to show you if there are matching comments.