Saturday, June 19, 2010

OKCupid separates the 'Hot' from the 'Not'

Currently trending high is OKCupid (the self-proclaimed 'best dating site on Earth') which has, apparently, recently altered the way the site works to ensure that beautiful people do not have to bothered by the less attractive members of the species - dividing the site in half between the attractive and the not-so-attractive and ensuring attractive people get to see attractive people in their searches and the less attractive...well, they have to make do with what's left...

The site has been sending out the following email (as published on The Consumerist) to the 'hot' section of their site:

"We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid's most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you'd like to know...

Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:

You will now see more attractive people in your match results.

This new status won't affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You'll be shown to more attractive people in their match results."

So, is eugenics alive and well on OKCupid or is this just a shamefaced attempt to get publicity for the dating site? Well, users on the site who received the email have reported no apparent changes in the sort of people they are being served up in their searches and it would appear to me that this might be a good example of the Forer Effect - where people are prepared to recognise themselves in descriptions that are, supposedly, tailored to them. Or, to quote Phoebe from Friends "people will believe anything you tell them, as long as it's a compliment."

Has OKCupid opened up a deep divide between the Hot and the Not? Or have they just sent emails out to everyone to make them feel more attractive, spur them into checking out the site and - most importantly - get themselves a large serving of that all important media attention? We may never know for sure!

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