The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

January 15, 2013

OKCupid releases app for 'Crazy Blind Dates'

Late one night in 2002, Sam Yagan got a call from a former Harvard buddy with an idea for their next big company. What if they made a website with a button you could press to set up a blind date?

Yagan told him to call back when he was sober, but continued to think about it. To set up people on random dates successfully, you would need an enormous database of users and their preferences. You also would need a system that could pick a place to meet that was close to both people.

Yagan and that friend, Chris Coyne, didn't develop the idea. Later that year, they joined with others to create OKCupid, a free dating site that matches users through mathematical algorithms based on answers to questions about their tastes. As OKCupid expanded its active user base to 3.8 million, becoming one of the most popular dating sites for young singles, Coyne's original idea continued to percolate.

On Tuesday he's finally getting his wish, with the debut of OKCupid's Crazy Blind Date application. The free app for iPhones and Android phones is intended to eliminate the effort it takes to set up a date. If you're free for an hour at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday, you can fill the slot with a date. You select a local bar or coffee shop to meet from the app's recommendations, then choose among four people the company's algorithm has suggested who are also free at that time.

The dates are not totally blind — you can see names, ages and faces — but the photos have been scrambled. You meet, and afterward the app asks how it went. The better it was, the more you pay, from nothing up to $3.

"If it were a perfect world, I would charge by success," said Yagan, 36, who has been married for nine years. "If you could start a dating site where you just got paid for marriage or sex, that'd be pretty cool. This is the closest we can come."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • unrest.jpg Why the Ferguson police-shooting riots had little to do with Ferguson

    Riots and vandalism broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. An 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there. Brown was unarmed. It's still unclear why tensions boiled over.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo