Match.com Introduces DateSpark

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Planning the perfect first date is hard. It's nearly impossible to choose the right place, the right time, the right ambiance...unless you're a current Match.com member, that is. Thanks to a new feature recently launched by the site, the perfect first date is only a few clicks away.

Match.com's DateSpark is an innovative approach to finding love online that takes the emphasis away from reading countless trite profiles and sending oodles of dead-end messages by helping users actually meet people with compatible interests in real life.

Using the new feature is as simple as proposing a date that you find interesting, like riding upside down on the Gravitron at the county fair or trying to order 1 of every cocktail on the menu of your favorite restaurant, and waiting for a response from members who are interested in the same activity. Match.com describes the new feature like this:

"DateSpark is a fun new way to meet people on Match.com. You suggest an interesting date idea, post it on your profile, and see what it sparks. If you see a DateSpark idea on another member's profile, you can tell them what you think. It's a great conversation starter with the added bonus of a natural first date, already planned!"

To suggest a date, click on the "DateSpark" link under Profile in the top navigation bar. Write a short description of your idea, select the appropriate options from three dropdown menus ("Type of date?" "When is it?" "What time of day?") and hit "Post this date." Once it's approved, your DateSpark idea will be added to your profile and other Match users can respond if it sparks their interest. Match.com wisely recommends being original, as creativity will draw more attention to your DateSpark proposal, and protecting your safety by keeping some information, like an exact location, date, and time, and personal details, private.

What I love most about this feature is that it reminds users that the reason they're on an online dating site in the first place is to go on dates. Instead of relying on the algorithms of the site to find members it thinks will be good matches, and hoping that love comes along, DateSpark allows users to personalize their search and encourages them to be proactive in the pursuit of potential partners. DateSpark focuses on the activity, rather than an often-uninformative profile, and gives Match members the encouragement they need to take their dating offline.

It's too soon to tell whether or not DateSpark will be a hit (it currently is available in only certain areas), but I'm excited to see how Match.com's newest development evolves.

To find out more about this online dating site, check out our review of Match.com.