Photo: Min-Yoon Cheah via Flickr
More than 60 million U.S. Facebook users say they’re married or in a relationship. So why are there so few Web sites for couples?San Francisco startup TheIceBreak, which launched today after several months of beta testing with about 80 couples, aims to change that.
Founded by former YouTube mobile head Dwipal Desai and YouTube UI designer Christina Brodbeck, The IceBreak offers games and other tools for couples to learn more about each other and their relationship.
Some of you are probably groaning right now — and the founders anticipated that reaction. They definitely don’t want the site to feel like a chore, or a service that you use only when things are going bad. There’s no relationship advice from experts or advertisements for marriage counselors here.
Instead, the site focuses on open-ended questions (Icebreakers) that may reveal something you didn’t know about each other. There’s also a set of quizzes for testing how you stack up in certain areas like communication and sex (your answers are kept private from your partner), and a private wall for you to post messages that might be too personal for Facebook. As you participate, you earn Date Night Coins, which will eventually be redeemable for discounts on restaurants and other activities.
The site is free now, and Android and iPhone apps are coming soon, but TheIceBreak eventually hopes to make money by sending users to affiliate sites — for instance, to buy anniversary presents — and with premium services, like the ability to build a reminder program to help you and your honey spend more free time together.
So does it work?
Right now, it seems a bit generic — the site’s first suggestion for me was to play a board game or card game with my wife. She hates games and would rather do almost anything else.
There’s also something sad about being so busy that you have to mediate your relationship through a computer. But with today’s busy working families, maybe couples will be thankful for any time they can devote to each other — even if it’s only online.