Comment: I recently read your column comparing match.com and okcupid. I’ve used both sites. My experience was that I received far more view and shows of interest on match (winks & emails) from women on match than I ever did on okcupid. The response % to emails I sent was slightly higher on match, but not by much.
My biggest gripe with okcupid is that I find their matching system to be awful. Case in point. I live in Hoboken, and 75-80% of the women okcupid tries to match me with are in Brooklyn – even when I try and search by match & distance I rarely find any women in the Hoboken/Jersey City/Hudson County area. On match the #’s were considerably higher. The difference being I could actually search by city/zip. I understand that okcupid gives this option to paying customers and that match, being a pay site does this automatically.
My question to you is how do you circumvent okcupid’s seemingly absurd way to finding matches? I’m in a situation where I’ve just re-entered the dating scene after a 10 month relationship and want to use a site that’s more casual hook-up friendly than match.com. I’m also old enough to realize that a woman in Brooklyn looking for something causal isn’t going to travel to Hoboken, simply because there are plenty of available guys in Manhattan.
First off, it’s important to realize that OKCupid’s membership for NYC is comprised mostly of people who live in Brooklyn. Match, on the other hand, has more Manhattan proper or Hoboken proper. That makes sense, given that people who live in Manhattan and not, say, Queens, tend to be of the mindset that you get what you pay for. People who live here and go out in Manhattan understand that money is to be spent in order to get what you want. That’s why OKCupid is full of people from Queens and Brooklyn and Long Island and suburbs. People who live in a suburb or Jersey don’t value the experience above the cost the way Manhattan residents do. We expect to pay for something that is to our liking. Folks using OKCupid who live in Brooklyn are mostly struggling artist types who aren’t all that financially stable, hence their decision to use a free site. You seem to prove my point that people who live outside of Manhattan seem hesitant to pay for something that would make their experience easier if they can get a cheaper, less impressive version. Regardless of the type of relationship you seek, trying to get anything of quality for free is a fool’s errand. Just because you aren’t looking for love on a dating site doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to pay to be successful.
That being said, the OKCupid matching system is incredibly difficult to navigate, I agree. That’s why I advise you try some of these tips.
1. Do a search in age increments of 2 or 3 years instead of 5 or 10. That way, you’ll get to see more people without having to scroll, scroll, scroll. Most people give up after a few minutes.
2. Utilize ALL of the search criteria options. Sort by Match, Friend, Enemy & Distance.
3. Screw the algorithms and match percentages. I honestly think they’re meaningless. That something OKCupid touts as one of the selling points for their site. I’ve never once paid attention to that. Some people don’t answer as many questions for personal reasons. That doesn’t mean you and they might not be a good fit.
4. Look at the profiles of the people you’d like to meet. Do they mention specific Hoboken venues or hot spots popular in your area? Find a way to work those words into your profile. Everybody should employ this trick. Review about 5 or 10 profiles of people you’ve messaged that appealed to you. Find some common words or phrases or activities that also apply to you and get them in your profile. Which leads me to my next suggestion.
5. Use the keyword search function. Type in words that are unique to your area like Manhattan, commute, or the name of a park or restaurant or building in your city of choice.
6. Move to Brooklyn or Manhattan or a city in New Jersey that isn’t heavily populated by twentysomethings. You either need to find a site that is tailored to your needs or you need to tailor yourself to the needs of those who use the site.
7. Shell out the measly $14.95, for Pete’s sake and search by zip.
There are no short cuts to finding any kind of partner. While online dating certainly makes it easier, the pursuit still requires effort. Your first mistake is thinking that there should be an easy way to find this person. There isn’t. The options in the city where you live are limited. For you to find what you want, you’re going to have to expect to put in the time and dollars. Maybe it means that you have to put in your profile that you have a car and aren’t opposed to traveling for the right person. If you work in Manhattan, then be sure to make that clear. You’re going to have to be the one to do most of the traveling. You need to demonstrate that you understand your limitations and have already devised ways to overcome them. You’re going to have to be able to convince people that you’re prepared to do what it takes. You’re right. Few women in Brooklyn are schlepping to Hoboken to have casual sexy time with you. There’s really no way around your predicament other than stop looking for ways to beat the system.
All of this applies to anybody that isn’t in high demand or for whom the odds are against them. Concessions need to be made in order to achieve your goal.