An April Fools’ Day Prank May Have Exposed A Major Online Dating Myth

  • Thursday, May 05 2016 @ 09:37 am
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Zoosk's Burrit-oh! April Fools Joke

You’ve heard of love at first sight, but what about love at first bite? This year’s crop of corporate April Fools’ Day pranks included Burrit-oh!, a dating site from Zoosk that matches users based on burrito compatibility.

The gimmick was all in good fun, especially considering that April 4 was National Burrito Day, but now the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the humorous site unintentionally exposed a major online dating myth.

“This year, one prank remains stubbornly present, almost four weeks after the day came and went,” writes the Tribune. “In fact, Burrit-oh! - the dating site that pairs singles based solely on their taste in portable Mexican - has proven so unexpectedly successful that maker Zoosk is thinking of keeping it.”

Nearly 2000 users have joined the site so far. Some joined just for laughs, but others are taking the scrumptious service seriously. Zoosk said they've seen an unexpected surge of people exchanging more than 20 back-and-forth messages. To put that into perspective, consider that OkCupid deems a match successful if a conversation survives only four exchanges. Burrit-oh’s record so far is 56.

"We all thought this was a really good idea and hoped it would take off," said Megan Murray, the site's senior content strategist. "But we didn't think it would take off like this."

So why is this important, other than for a quick giggle over the silliness of the internet? Almost every major dating site (including several Burrit-oh took a swipe at in a press release) touts the importance of sophisticated matching algorithms. They’re praised as the most effective way to pair people based on some "deeper" measure of interests or personality that guarantee “real” compatibility.

But Burrit-oh? Well, it’s anything but sophisticated. The algorithm is as basic as it gets, and it’s built on the flimsiest of foundations, and yet… users are still hitting it off. This supports the finding, long promoted by social scientists, that matching algorithms aren’t really science - they’re just good marketing. Behold, the unbeatable power of the burrito.

Then again, the silly service is a marketing stunt at the end of the day - a funny and clever one, but a stunt nonetheless. There’s just a teeny chance that it may outlive its initial purpose to become a real destination for single foodies. Zoosk said they've decided to keep supporting the site as long as people continue to use it.

“Personally, I am single and love burritos," Murray said, "and think it would be amazing if I could meet the love of my life on a burrito dating app."

For more information on the online dating service who launched Burrit-oh! on April Fools, please read our Zoosk review.