Kwynn's dating site--a woman's perspective

The following was written by a friend--Theresa of Lots of Dating Advice--in response to an early version of my goals document. Theresa's opinion of my site is something to the effect of "a crude-looking grad-school-like project," but she's deigned to try to help such a benighted project.

Theresa is a straight woman in her early 40's who has had extensive online dating experience. Begin her quote:

I've been on a LOT of dating sites. There are good and bad about all of them, but for the most part, Plenty of Fish is one of the best. A few things I don't like about Plenty of Fish which your site could possibly solve:

1. Messages are always deleted after 20 days because they take up so much space. Sometimes I want to save messages from someone that I've been seeing for a few weeks. This is frustrating because if you forgot to save someone to your "Favorites", but you want to find them again and can't remember their screen name, you have to search the entire database for them. [Kwynn - Space shouldn't be a problem for quite a while, if ever. I don't have any plans to delete messages.]

2. I hate that unless my profile is hidden, anyone can IM me when I'm online reading my messages. It's such a pain because I will be trying to read 20 messages and get 20 IM's from guys and there's no option to "opt out" of IM capability. I have to either block, ignore or answer each IM as it comes in. I'm sure other women have the same problem. I'd also like the option that if someone is going to IM me, they also need to have a face picture posted on their profile. [K - I have no plans for an IM feature.]

3. If there were some way that guys had to actually READ my profile before responding... well, you would solve the #1 problem for all online women out there!!! LOL! One of my biggest pet peeves is that I will write very plainly that I am not interested in a man with facial hair or pets... and then I'll get an email and a picture from a man with a beard next to his giant dog! Ugh!

[Kwynn - I suspect that this is the same fraud that men get a lot of. Also, this will be addressed as part of my whuffie / rating / ranking system.]

POF also doesn't do a good job of discouraging an incomplete profile in the "About me in my own words" section. You are required to put in 100 characters and some people just write, "ldkfj aowierht rgkdfj weoijlkddjg oeri" or other nonsense. I mean, why be on a dating site if you are going to be sooo lazy! [K - same as previous]

And now for the comments about the design outline: [currently known as the aforementioned goals page]

4. I would 100% discourage you from not having pictures in the singles ads. Let's face it. Chemistry plays a part. I was on Eharmony where a lot of people don't post pictures and you have to go through the long process of getting to know someone before they finally send you a picture, only to find out that there was no chemistry, and I hate wasting my time. I can get hooked on someone's personality, but I still have to find the person attractive. I require anyone on POF who wants to email me to have a private photo they can send or have one posted on their profile. I used the personals back in the day when people had to write LETTERS and send a picture to your P.O. box! And if someone didn't send a pic, I had to wait for snail mail to request one, only to be disappointed. On most dating sites, if a man doesn't post a pic, he's really unattractive. If a woman doesn't post a pic, she's afraid of her age or weight to be seen.

[Kwynn: We'll just have to disagree. I'm strongly opposed to pictures, mainly because they break anonymity.]

I also require POF guys to put at least 100 characters in their email. A lazy guy will write to me, "You are cute. Send me a message...................................................." and just put some characters in there to make the 100 character requirement. I delete those guys immediately. [K - same as further above, fraud and (eventually) addressed on my site.]

5. I like the idea that you can search ads without posting one of your own so that you can decide if you want to join or not. I wouldn't give people the ability to respond to an ad without joining though. Match.com did something like that for a while and I got a ton of "winks" but because the person couldn't respond back to me if they weren't a paying member, so it was a waste. Same with Eharmony. I had ALL these matches, but most weren't paying members so no responses. If I'm going to put myself out there, I want to know that someone had gone through the same rigors I did to join.

[K - Non-members would be able to respond. As for rigors, members will have the option to refuse non-member responses.]

6. I like the precautions you are taking, i.e. fraud is punished, internal message system, and being moderated to a certain degree.

7. I would discourage inactivity if it has been longer than a month, but a few days is too short. When I'm on POF, I get sooooo many responses that it is practically a full time job! Sometimes I need a few days off to make some actual phone calls to men who have emailed me and go on some dates! If I log back on to read messages, everyone can see that I've logged on again and is wondering why I haven't responded back and they have no idea that I have 15+ messages in my inbox that I need to respond to. Also, when you meet someone you like, you might go inactive for a few weeks while you test your new relationship out. If it all works out, then you can hide or delete your profile, but you don't want to be labeled as inactive if you new beau sorts themselves out and you want to get back out there!

[K - I'm backing off "a few days." Agreed. On my system, searchers (eventually will) see that there are at least one if not how many unread messages, to address precisely the problem she describes. ]

end my friend's quotes, back to Kwynn:


I'm posting this because, even if I don't finish my site, I want someone to do this stuff. This is good advice.

This was written in mid-December, 2010, a few weeks before I first posted the dating site. I'm posting this with my comments in late January, 2011.

I pointed out to Theresa that grad students wouldn't do anything so practical. It's more like an undergrad senior project.

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