Popular online dating service OkCupid knows that when you sign up for an account, there’s no guarantee that other users will give you the ego boost necessary to keep you coming back, looking for love.
So, the site does the job of flattering, sending some users an email congratulating them for being one of the site’s most attractive users.
It’s not a new tactic, but Kernal Magazine reminded us of OkCupid’s Mean Girls marketing style, and the Internet has been buzzing about the false sense of security the dating service wants to feed its users.
Once you create a free profile with OkCupid, the sideline cheerleading begins. A number magically appears next to your username — this many people like you! — and you’re coaxed into filling out some essay questions. What six things could you never live without? What is the first thing people notice about you? What books have you read? The more you bulk up your profile, the more people like you. But wait, you just joined! Wow, you must be pretty amazing; everyone is flocking to you!
Fast forward a few months. You’ve added some photos and answered a few questions. Perhaps you’ve even gone on a few dates. Or you’ve lost interest in the site and haven’t logged in as much as you used to.
To charm you back into their clutches, OkCupid may send you an email letting you know you’ve been added to a sacred subset of users: the most attractive subset.
Here’s what the email looks like:
Congratulations! You’re hot, and you deserve to communicate only with hot people.
Now you are directed to an entirely new list of members you could potentially match with (all of them deemed attractive by OkCupid’s seemingly technological and complex algorithms), and you’re encouraged to spend more time on the site, finding another member of the “hot” list who is worthy of your time. You’ve never seen any of these users before, either; before you’re welcomed into the fold of attractiveness, the subset of hottest users was invisible to you. Now, you’ve earned it.
But how did you earn it? “Hot” status is actually rumoured to be based on how many people have clicked through to your profile (many believe that interesting profile images will get you on the list).
So why do this?
It’s an incentive to keep users returning to OkCupid. The service also sends you an email on your birthday, casually reminding you that you’re another year older and still single.
One variation of OkCupid’s email to users reads: “We don’t send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.”
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