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A free-of-charge social networking and dating website.

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OkCupid: The Free Dating Site Created By the Same Harvard Grads Who Created Sparknotes

  • Jun 8, 2009
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Random, fun facts about OkCupid: It was founded by three Harvard graduates who have awesome, odd senses of humor, and these are the guys who also created SparkNotes before their OkCupid venture.  SparkNotes saved me in high school, so I approve of anything these guys create.

This is kind of awkward to admit, but yes, I've been on OkCupid for over five years.  It's weird, but when I first came across OkCupid, I wasn't even looking for a date, much less on a dating website.  My friends had all taken the now infamous OkCupid Dating Persona that had quickly become all the rage on the net in early 2004, and I just wanted to see what it was all about.  I believe that the only way to get your test results back then was to create an account on the site, and so I did.  Little did I know, this would inadvertantly jumpstart my e-dating career.

With the exception of the last guy I met on OkCupid (whatever, he wanted me to delete my account after we met.  How insecure!), I've remain close friends with the other guys who I've met on the site years ago, despite the fact that a romantic relationship didn't work out between us and the fact that they've moved out of the state and even out of the country.  Though things have been a bit slow for me on OkCupid (I'll explain later), it was good while it lasted, and I still log on once in a while because, well, sometimes, it's just entertaining.

One of the main methods of matching on OkCupid is through answering certain quiz questions (very similar to rating data points on Lunch).  There are three components of one quiz question.  First, it's how you yourself answer it.  Second, it's how your ideal match would answer it.  And third, how important your ideal matches' answer is to you.  Answering those questions will improve your matches greatly, plus they're a great way to kill time.  I've seen people who have answer thousands!

This is a very interesting way of matching people, and they actually explain why they do this on their site.  I can't summarize it though, because all that computer/science/statistics talk is beyond me, but if you're curious, you can check out their FAAAQ for the explanation.

One of my biggest gripes on their site is their mailbox.  One: It's not big enough, and two: the user interface is an absolute eyesore!  I think that the biggest problem is the former though, which is actually pretty easy to fix nowadays.  Back when the site first launched, mailboxes would fill up fast, especially for girls, and the only way to get a larger one was to make a financial contribution to the site, or have someone buy you a larger mailbox.  When my mailbox got full years ago, someone actually bought me a larger mailbox just so that he could message me.  I'm sure that that has happened to plenty of other girls on the site, too.  These days, though, I believe that you can get a larger mailbox by using activity points, which you earn by being active on the site.

The cool thing about OkCupid's messaging system, though, is that OkCupid uses my messaging habits to match me up with people, such as how many messages I recieve, reply to, and the length of the message, etc.  I'm not exactly sure how it works, but the OkCupid folks say that they factor this information into matching!

The OkCupid crowd seems to be on the younger side, and speaking from a young'ish girl's perspective living in the San Francisco Bay Area (where a lot of graphic design, gaming, and web 2.0 companies are based), I've mostly been getting messages from 20-30 something year old, educated, computer geeks.  And of the guys who I've spoken to, their biggest complaint is that they always get messages from what they deem as unattractive girls.  Well, heck, it's not like any Brad Pitts have ever message me, but you don't see me complaining!  I guess I'm not as shallow :P

I've met some decent people on Okcupid, but as with all free dating websites, there are many creepos on it, which I'm assuming that the pay-to-use dating sites have less of.  An examples would be guys inviting me to webcam with them.  An even better example is this flickr community called Okdouchebags, where users post screen captures of instant messages that they've received on the site.  The creepos can be very, very entertaining though and make for good laughs sometimes.

Drawbacks (Besides the Creepos)
OkCupid has had its run for me in the past couple of years though.  In recent months, I've only dated one guy from the site, and I actually haven't been in a relationship with anyone who I met on OkCupid in two or three years.  It seems like OkCupid has run out of people to message me, and vice versa.  Though the site has tens of thousands of members from all over the world, I seem to keep getting messages from, and being matched up with, the same people over and over again.  They don't have enough new members to go around.

Other Sites
I actually haven't signed up for any other dating sites, but I've had many OkCupid members ask me if I have a Plenty of Fish account.  According to them, Plenty of Fish is extremely similar to OkCupid and actually has a lot of OkCupid users on it, even with the same screen names, pictures, and all.  Okay, that's just too much for me. 

Aside from websites made specifically for dating, other sites that I've gotten dates off of including LiveJournal, Myspace, and Yelp (I know several Yelp couples, even though Yelp keeps saying that they're not a dating site!).  When it comes to e-dating, I actually don't like actual dating sites too much and prefer getting dates from more "natural" settings on the web, but I'll make an exception for OkCupid.

Parting Words
Though my OkCupid experience in recent years have taken some wind out of my sails, I still credit OkCupid for introducing me to my some of my now-best friends who I otherwise, probably would have never met, and for the countless adventures and entertainment it has brought me.  I've known people who have found what they wanted out of the site, while others haven't. 

As in the real world, how much success you have on the site is really up to you and is dependent on factors like how much you want it, how much "game" you've got, and perhaps a bit of luck, among other things.  Those of you who have been on the site for a while probably know what I'm talking about in terms of perks and the drawbacks, but for those who have never been on the site before and are looking for a date, OkCupid is definitely worth a shot.

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November 09, 2009
I played around on OKCupid, but I don't recall if I ever met anyone in real life off of it. I love how you use other sites to meet dates. I haven't done that yet, but I'm holding out hope for Lunch.com! :)
November 10, 2009
I don't ever mean to, but it happens sometimes! And Lunchers are pretty foxy and rockin', but I dunno.... ;P
June 08, 2009
What's wrong with "20-30 something year old, educated, computer geeks"? :)
June 09, 2009
Absolutely nothing cuz I'm one myself :P  Just sayin'!
More OkCupid reviews
Quick Tip by . September 09, 2009
It seems like a good website, but then I get messages like these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP2ekRdgkjw
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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OkCupid is a free-of-charge social networking and dating website which features member-created quizzes and supports various modes of communication: blogs, instant messages, emails, and "winks". It is one of the largest dating sites on the web.

OkCupid users are presented with questions (most of which are authored, submitted, and vetted by members) about various topics such as politics and tastes page by page, and given a list of up to four answers per question to choose from. They are also asked "How would your Ideal Match answer this question?", and then "How important is their answer to you?", with degrees of importance for the latter listed as "irrelevant", "a little important", "somewhat important", "very important", and "mandatory", each respectively assigned a greater numerical value. The site uses the numerical values to calculate "friend", "enemy", and "match" percentages between any two members of the site based on how many answered questions those two users have in common (referred to as their "intersection"), with higher intersections supposedly producing more accurate percentages.

There is a very active journaling/blogging community on OkCupid as well. Members have the option of saving favorite users' profiles and then "stalking" them, which allows them to view all of their new journal entries, as well as comments on others' entries.

The journaling community frequently arranges meet-ups of OkCupid users in various areas of the world and people travel, sometimes from ...
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