OPW -- Apr 1 -- OmniDate's dating system is available for dating and social networks to use on their own sites. Here's Glenn Millar's review of OmniDate. You can email email@example.com for more information on OmniDate. OmniDate supports Online Personals Watch and Social Networking Watch and is a client of Courtland Brooks. There are two complaints I hear a lot in the online dating world. One is that dating sites are all pretty much the same and kind of boring. The other is that it takes way too long to make an actual human connection. Potential mates start by exchanging emails, but it can often be weeks before they meet. When they finally do, if there is no connection, they feel like they have been robbed of time.
OmniDate, a new entry into the dating world, seems to address both these problems in a really fun and unique way. OmniDate is an avatar-based virtual dating system where each dater chooses an avatar as their alter-ego. The avatars meet in one of a number of environments such as a beach bar, a café or a hip night club for a one-on-one date.
As the daters type back and forth, their words appear as speech bubbles next to their avatars. This is already a bit more fun than traditional IMing, but here's where it gets really interesting. The avatars are able to show real emotions. Type in LOL and your avatar actually laughs. Hit the smile button and your avatar smiles. You can even blow your date a kiss or reach over and touch the hand of the other avatar.
The OmniDate site is a lot of fun, but it's primarily a consumer testing ground. OmniDate, the product, is actually a widget that other dating and social networking sites can plug in to get talked about, attract new users and make their sites stickier. OmniDate also has a very unique product placement advertising model. According to Dr. Igor Kotlyar, the creator of OmniDate, venues will be created around sponsors (think national coffee chain), and products will be subtly shown during the date, much like one would see in the movies.
The first time I tested OmniDate, I found it surprisingly refreshing. The date I had was fun and comfortable and I really got to know the other person very quickly. Other OmniDates I have had since seem to reflect this same pattern. I think this is a function of the design of the product. First, it's fun. Before my date and I jumped into heavy conversation, we had a good time just seeing what the avatars could do and which of us could be the silliest. She smiled. I laughed. She touched my hand. I winked at her. Then we took a little matching quiz that popped up in the background. (We matched 7 out of 10 questions.) All of these features really made us comfortable with one another so when we starting chatting about real things, it wasn't at all awkward.
But there was a much deeper benefit as well. One can be very anonymous on OmniDate and I believe this anonymity actually creates more intimacy. People tend to let their guard down when they are behind a mask. Think of any Halloween party you have been to and you understand what I am saying. The avatars allow people to express their true selves, because they feel as the other person can't see them. You certainly don't get this the first time you meet an online date at a coffee shop.
According to Dr. Kotlyar, who has spent his career studying human interaction, OmniDate was specifically designed to increase the likelihood of dating success for people who meet online, and this starts with the first live date. My short time on OmniDate tells me this is likely true. People are only going to meet offline if their OmniDate was fun. And when they do meet, these people are likely to feel that they have already bonded.
The users I have spoken to (ok, OmniDated with) on the site, seem to be very pleased with the product. They say it's very different than many of the online dating sites they have tried and they really look forward to spending time on the site. According to Dr. Kotlyar, the average OmniDate runs 20 – 40 minutes with some lasting over an hour.
Version one of OmniDate is a good product, but Kotlyar promises more features in the future. Right now there are 4 venues, but this will be increasing, including custom rooms that will be designed for individual dating sites. In addition, daters will soon be able to buy their date little gifts, such as virtual flowers or a virtual drink for a small fee, creating even more revenue possibilities.
Online dating changed the world because it gave people the ability to sift through many more people than they could have ever possibly met offline. However, it made really getting to know these people much more difficult. OmniDate has bridged this gap and truly is a Dating 2.0 product. I recommend this product both to daters and to online dating sites looking to differentiate themselves from the pack.
OPW -- Feb 8 -- LoveDetect.com, by TelTech, is an irresistible novelty. I picked up a $10 phone card from the site and tried it out on my best (male) friend, and my fiance. The service 'instantly reveals how your date or lover feels about you' from their voice on a phone call. First I called my best friend whom I've known for 8 years. I called an access number, entered my pin, and then the service requested that I indicate the length of my relationship with them. Had I known them for a short time, a long time, or was I married to them. I hit '2', for a long time, and proceeded to dial their number.
I call my friend and we talk. I nearly crack up when I hear the soft voice whispering messages to me from LoveDetect. 'Truuuthful', 'anticipating', 'excited.' Still, I appreciate the feedback on the call. Two minutes go by and I jump off the call and call him back. He finds it highly amusing that I'm checking his love levels. Overall my best friend scored 3 out of 10 on the Love Score. Hmm. I was hoping for higher, but oh well. That's a respectable level. What is more unusual and amusing is that his embarrassment level was a 10. Glenn then revealed something to me that he wouldn't normally reveal. He was actually taking a dump while talking to me on the phone. Ick! Anyway that explains his high level of embarrassment. I guess that part of Love Detect works.
I call my fiance, and we talk. She's definitely not taking a dump but she still scores 7.5 for embarrassment, 7.5 for concentration, 5 for anticipation and a lowly 3 for The Final Love Report. Hmm. She then calls me back using the Love Detect number, and she tests me out. I score 10 for embarrassment, 5 for concentration, 5 for anticipation and 5 out of 10 for the Love Score. I had to ham it up a bit to get the 5 out of 10. I wonder how someone scores more than 5? Anyway, LoveDetect.com is an irresistible novelty that could earn you a few extra bucks in CPA commissions, and more importantly, get people talking about your dating service.