You’ve Heard Of Groupon – Now Meet Grouper

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Online dating has been a thing for a long time now, so I guess it's about time someone invented online group dating. After all, the double (or more!) date is a well-respected dating institution, and it deserves a virtual version just as much as one-on-one dating does.

Grouper brings together matchmaking, blind dating, and networking for a unique new experience that pairs two friend groups based on their Facebook profiles and their answers to a short survey. That all sounds pretty standard, but here's where it gets a little different: Grouper users never exchange emails or chat using an instant messenger. In fact, they don't interact virtually at all.

Here's how it works: 3 friends pay the $20-per-person registry fee, answer all required questions and emails, then meet at the assigned date, time, and bar. The meet and greet then occurs over a round of complimentary beverages (but drinkers take note: the "complimentary" thing only applies to well drinks and beers).

Michael Waxman, CEO and Founder of Grouper, came up with the idea for the "social experiment" and coded the website on a whim. A week later he launched his new venture from NYC, convinced that group dating "would be way better than a dating site."

But there were still plenty of questions for Waxman and the rest of the Grouper crew. Would people actually be willing to meet in person without ever contacting each other? No emails, phone calls, Skype calls, texts, chats, tweets, Facebook messages, carrier pigeons, or other communication of any kind...would any singles actually be brave enough to give it a shot?

The answer, it turns out, is yes. The site sparked interest right away, and thousands of Grouper meet-ups have been conducted since the first, in which Waxman set up two friends on a blind date. One couple, who met during the sixth Grouper, are still dating. Grouper even sent them a gift for their one-year anniversary.

Waxman believes the success of the Grouper model lies in its low-key atmosphere. “We’re not fond of labels, and we think that a lot of people nowadays want to meet more casually, more organically,” he says. “We find that by not throwing it in a bucket of ‘this is networking,’ ‘this is dating,’ ‘this is whatever,’ people just show up more open-minded and have a better time.”

How Dirty Laundry Could Help You Find Love

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Now there's a headline I never thought I'd write...

Nobody likes dirty laundry. We all wish our mothers would still do our laundry for us. In fact, some of our mothers may actually still be doing laundry for us.

But now you may want to give Mom a break, because a new event is in town that promises to use your dirty laundry to find the love of your life. The Pheromone Party is a gathering of adventurous singles who spend an evening sniffing t-shirts and letting their noses lead them to the perfect mate. Sure, it sounds a little crazy, but so did online dating when it first came out.

Judith Prays created The Pheromone Party to capitalize on nature's most basic instincts. Why put the emphasis on attractive features, dancing skills, and witty conversation when you could date based on primal attraction switches? Cut out the middle man!

To score an invite to the get-together, interested singles must apply by sending a picture...of their armpit. Then participants wear a t-shirt to bed for three days in a row, without using deodorant or perfume. On the evening of the party, each shirt is placed in a Ziploc bag, assigned a number, and color-coded by gender.

Most parties involve drinks, dancing, and dj-ing, but at a Pheromone Party guests spend the evening sniffing each other's 3-day-old shirts and mulling over the scents like sommeliers tasting a new vintage. Instead of "oakey," "crisp," and "tannic," however, Pheromone Party attendees use descriptions like "hint of onion" and "strange scent of Play-Doh."

When a particular scent tickles their fancy, a photographer snaps the sniffer holding up the shirt in question and the photo is projected on a wall. If you spot your shirt on the wall, it's a clear invitation to introduce yourself to the lucky lad or lass who found your odor so appealing.

Yeah, it all sounds a little insane, but there might be some actual science to back it up. Genetic researchers have found that humans use scent to weed out genetic combinations that could result in weaker offspring, so it stands to reason that scent could also be used to pick out partners who are ideal genetic matches.

So far the parties are only held in New York and Los Angeles, but if success is anything to go by, they may be expanding soon. Judith Prays says that 12 of the 40 people invited to the first party hooked up, and that half of those hook ups turned into long-term relationships

Forget about following your heart. Now it's time to follow your nose.

Using Facial Software To Find Your Mate

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Remember that lesson you learned about not judging a book by its cover? Throw it out the window. The latest dating site to join the fray is all about appearances.

The site in question is FindYourFaceMate.com, a new dating service that's set to launch on July 10. Researchers studying attraction have found that facial features play an integral role in mate selection. When someone has features similar to your own, you are naturally inclined to trust them. And we all know trust is the foundation of any good relationship, right?

The idea of “facially compatible” partners isn’t a new one, though this may be the first time it’s been used so consciously. Think of all the times you’ve seen a cute couple and thought “Wow, they look so alike!” That’s the science of attraction at work.

Kerri Johnson, an assistant psychology professor at UCLA, explains that "There is evidence that general liking improves when people look like you." In romantic relationships, compatible partners tend to be of a similar level of attractiveness.

"Across dimensions, people who are similar tend to be attracted to each other," Johnson says. "'Birds of a feather flock together' characterizes most aspects of interpersonal attraction," and “There's a long-standing pattern where a person's own level of attractiveness is matched in their partner.”

Face.com is the service behind the magic of Find Your FaceMate. The Israeli company has provided Face.com technology to Facebook for nearly two years, in the form of the tag suggestion tool which helps users identify their friends in photographs, and was recently acquired by Facebook.

The same technology will be used by Find Your FaceMate. The service examines 63 points of interest on the human face to determine whether the same person is featured in multiple photos. The software examines each of the facial features and compares them with other faces in an attempt to make a positive identification. On Facebook, it’s used to recognize the same person. On Find Your FaceMate, it will be used to find singles with similar features who could be potential dates.

But the face isn’t everything, so I guess what your parents taught you about judging books is true after all. “In the beginning, it’s the face,” says Christina Bloom, founder of Find Your FaceMate. “But there are other things at play. Do you have the same values? It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a successful relationship.”

Would You Pay To Highlight Your Posts On Facebook?

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Would you pay to have your status updates highlighted on Facebook?

For online daters, this system is old news. Many online dating websites offer the option of having a profile highlighted or ranked at the top in search results in exchange for a small additional fee. But for social networking sites, this is a new approach to interacting online.

Apparently only a measly 12% of your Facebook friends actually see your status updates on average. Facebook is now toying with the idea of adding Highlight, a feature that lets users pay a few bucks to have their posts appear to more friends. Facebook is currently testing the new feature out, offering a paid version to a small percentage of its user base. A free version is also available, designed to determine if Facebookers are at all interested in the Highlight option.

It might be a nifty new way to make sure your voice is heard by more people, but let's face it - Facebook's real motivation is the money. Facebook's worth is based on its potential for earning money, not actual money it earns, and the company needs to turn that around if it's going to continue receiving funds from investors.

It's likely that Facebook will now pursue more aggressive strategies for making money, a plan that could easily backfire for a service that members are used to using for free. Although there are no known plans to charge for all use of Facebook, pay-for-popularity features - and other paid features - could be major turn offs for users who were initially drawn to the site because it's free. Younger users - which make up a huge portion of Facebook's user base - may also be resistant to the inclusion of paid features, as they're less likely to have the financial resources to pay for them.

Facebook's diplomatic statement on the matter reveals very little:

"We're constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people's interest in this method of sharing with their friends."

The Highlight feature could prove useful, but it also poses potential problems. Highlighted posts could easily compromise the relevance of the news feed, which currently uses a sorting algorithm to display posts by a user's closest friends and posts that have received a significant number of Likes and comments. Highlight could distort that, and may turn your news feed into a marketing scheme from club promoters, small businesses, and anyone else who would benefit from increased attention.

I'm going to stay skeptical for now, but perhaps Facebook will surprise me. I'll do my best to keep an open mind.

To find out more about what makes this social networking site a good place to meet singles (or not) you can read our Facebook review.

Chemistry's FREE this July Weekend - 2012

Chemistry.com
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From Friday July 20 2012, to Sunday July 22, 2012 members of Chemistry will be able to communicate for free.

If you are interested in online dating and are looking for a dating service to evaluate, then Chemistry’s 3 day free weekend is an ideal time to try out this dating site. Chemistry was brought to you by the creators of Match.com. The main difference between the 2 dating sites is that Chemistry relies on their in-depth personality test and complex matching algorithm to supply their members with quality matches. The matches provided are the ones Chemistry has determined are best suited for your personality and have the best chance of creating for you a long-term relationship.

To take advantage of the Chemistry 3 day free weekend all you need to do is create a user account and answer the profile questions. Once completed you will then receive your matches. Then, starting Friday July 20 and for 72 hours you will be able to communicate by flirting (chemistry starters) and sending emails for free. No credit card is required and this promotion is available for new and existing members.

Chemistry had their last free communication weekend in May. To find out more about this matchmaking service designed to find members long-term relationships please read our review of Chemistry.

Dating After a Bad Relationship

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Not everything in dating - or, indeed, in our lives - always goes smoothly. Many of us have had a relationship that’s shaken our confidence: in our judgment, in our self-worth, in the future. If we’ve made such a mistake once (or twice, or even more than that), who’s to say we won’t make one again?

It’s natural to feel hesitant, even a little fearful. In fact, it’s probably a good sign; if you strode out into the dating world undaunted after a traumatic relationship without even questioning what you could change next time, you’d probably be all the more likely to repeat mistakes. It’s good to reflect, to have your eyes open a little wider. What’s not good, however, is living so much in fear and regret about what you’ve done in the past that you refuse to move forward. Here are a few healthier ways to get back on the horse of romance.

First, analyze your last relationship. Remember, you’re just analyzing; you’re not beating yourself up. Try to think about it objectively. Take a piece of paper and write down your thoughts. Is there any way you could have predicted the bad outcome? Remember that some people - predatory people - deliberately change or conceal their personality, and there’s really very few warning signs, so don’t feel bad if you can’t think of a way things could have gone differently.

But maybe you didn’t date someone who set out to hurt you; maybe things just ended poorly. In that case, you might determine if there’s something different you should be looking for, a trait that’s more compatible. Even in bad relationships, you can usually learn something from them, even if it’s about yourself and what you really want.

After you’ve analyzed the past, the key is to put it behind you. That’s why it’s helpful to write it down; it’s a tangible reminder that you’ve been through this process already, so you don’t have to go over it again and again in your head.

The final step is to start looking toward the future with anticipation. Try a new list: positive reminders of what you’re looking for in the future. The trick is to keep it positive: instead of saying you don’t want “a lying jerk,” maybe you’re looking for “honest communication.” And once you have your positive list, you can draw from it when you’re writing or revising your online dating profile.

Looking to jump back in the dating pool can definitely be daunting when your last relationship ended badly, but remember this: almost everyone has a similar story, something or someone they regret. And that includes people who are now in stable, happy, healthy relationships. Don’t let one bad apple affect the future of your dating health; instead, feel confident that you’ll more readily identify rotten fruit in the future.