119 Comments

Summary:

This past weekend I got a chance to hang out with Charles Forman and Dan Albritton, the twenty-something, fast-talking co-founders of New York-based Iminlikewithyou, a new web-mobile hybrid service, that is going as addictive and as powerful as Facebook. And just as Mark Zuckerberg reinvented the […]

This past weekend I got a chance to hang out with Charles Forman and Dan Albritton, the twenty-something, fast-talking co-founders of New York-based Iminlikewithyou, a new web-mobile hybrid service, that is going as addictive and as powerful as Facebook. And just as Mark Zuckerberg reinvented the Yearbook, Charles & Dan are going to reinvent the art of flirting.

Iminlikewithyou has emerged from the YCombinator program, and has been in stealth mode for almost six months. Charles and Dan bootstrapped this operation, and are using Amazon EC2 and S3 services as part of their infrastructure.

iminlikewithyou.gif

The company, based in a decidedly unglamorous part of Midtown Manhattan, has recently closed a Series A round of funding from pretty high powered angels, whose names the two co-founders are keeping close to their collective vests.

Unlike a lot of Web2.0 start-ups that simply automate all the fun out of dating, Iminlikewithyou has stepped back, rethought the whole courtship process. Instead, Iminlikewithyou uses technology to amplify the most organic form of human interaction: flirting. What they have come up with is a web service that can be described as luscious, simple and elegant. Did I say, addictive?

Flirting, or the art of flirting, one of the few joys left in these politically correct, over sanitized times. It is the aspect of dating that allows a man or a woman to not only display wit, but also makes innuendo acceptable. It is the sheer unpredictability of flirting – will the date ever happen? – that makes it a delicious delight. On the flipside, as French poet Victor Hugo said, “God created the flirt as soon as he made the fool.”

Iminlikewithyou captures all that and bottles it in its web service, which is equally at home on your mobile phone as it is in a browser. It has taken flirting and turned into a game that is inspired in part by eBay-styled auction process. More importantly, it captures what could be the next big Internet trend: an intent-based web ecosystem.

Here is how it works:

You sign up for the service, by answering very basic questions: email, location, age and gender and what is your flirting preference. It takes about 10 minutes, and you are in the network. You add your photos and some other personal information, and you are rewarded with 500 points. Now this is where the game begins.

iminlikewithyou1.gifYou are interested in someone, say a lovely lady from New York, you start the flirting process by basically bidding some of your 500 points on her, say 50 points. The bid indicates your intent to woo the young lady. Unfortunately for you, if you’ve made a wise choice, there will be others who will want to date her as well. They will try to outbid you and, well, the process goes on, till the young lady is convinced that you are the one to reward with her attentions. You get SMS and MMS alerts all through the bidding process.

Since the service is in closed beta, you are not penalized for being a loser, but when the service launches, be careful what you bid for.

If you happen to lose, you are not just out of luck with the lady, but out of those points, too. In the future you lose a percentage of your bid amount. The percentage may be quite large, to discourage too much ‘reaching’ on the part of guys who can’t reasonably get the girl.

This is why you need to be economical about how you bid your points, and judicious in indicating your intent. (Not so different from the triage we men use when doling out dollars in singles a bar, either.) And if you come up empty, don’t take it personally. As François de la Rochefoucauld put it – “What we find the least of in flirtation is love.” (You aren’t looking for love anyway, remember?)

The good news is you can recharge your points by answering random questions that pop-up on the screen. Every time you sign-in you get some points, and you can build up your points-balance.

Each question you answer gets you 5 points, and those questions help the company build a better profile of you, something that can be used for highly targeted advertising. A classic question: do you like gin and tonic? Answer is no, but you bet, I will see a vodka ad sometime in the future.

The service has built in communications features like instant messaging, and also has the ability to upload photos and videos. It also has anonymous calling features built into the service, again giving the ladies control over who can talk to them, without giving out their phone numbers.

One of the reasons this service is going to be successful is because it puts ladies in charge. A lot of my friends have said that they are sick and tired of getting emails from guys, which are obviously canned and rote. They all currently use the traditional dating sites, and were quite thrilled by the prospect of Iminlikewithyou.

iminlikewithyou2.gifBeing an old fogey, I perhaps have forgotten that when you are in your 20s, flirting is more exciting that the prospect of finding a life partner. And yet I found myself spending ungodly amount of time on the site, collecting points and of course bidding. Nevertheless it would be foolish to suggest that it is a service that is targeting the gray-hair set.

Iminlikewithyou is a service for the Facebook generation, and its easy integration with Facebook tips their hand on which demographic they are focusing.

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  1. It’s a service for the Facebook generation? Too bad Om :-)

  2. What a superb idea, Om…and can’t the women bid on the men?

    If so, you could find yourself more popular than you think…even if you are in your 30’s. :-)

  3. Steve 30’s are so last decade. its about the fabulous 40s. ;-)

  4. of course women can bid on men, but this is a service skewed more towards women. because they are the ones who actually have more issues in the online dating scenario.

  5. 40s rule….for the next 10 years…

  6. JCCodez, I agree with you on that. Totally.

  7. Anthony Nemitz Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    Any invite codes available, Om? :)

  8. what a tease! I can’t register… Om, hook me up with a code!

  9. Anthony,

    I just got a couple of them and basically used them up. I will ask them if they want to give me a few more and invite you then.

  10. Send me an invite if you have one too. Thanks

  11. I’m soooooooooo in like……..needing an invitation!

    Patrick
    a/k/a mischievous (definitely a flirt).

  12. andre nosalsky Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    Om, do you have any more invites?

  13. So who do I need to flirt with to get an invite code? =)

  14. Om,
    Have an invite code so that I too, will check in?

    -Nitin

  15. Hi Om,

    Great story. I am in NYC and would love to checkout the service if you get a few more invites.

    ~Eric

  16. Om,

    Thanks for sending them by our offices. It is extremely impressive.

    Brian

  17. arlen / ritchie / . / com » ImInLikeWithYou Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    [...] Malik profiled an interesting Dating 2.0 startup, cleverly named “I’m In Like With You”. However, it seems from Om’s review (given that I have yet to score an invite), that the [...]

  18. I would like to try the service Om, anyway you can shoot me a code? I am an avid reader of 40 yr old bloggers :D

  19. oooh! neato :) I’m in japan, and I can just tell this service would be a hit here – i think their mobile integration is also key.

    I’ll add another “hook me up” request – they’re going to be backlogged with gigaOM readers tho. they need a write-ups on some girl fashion blogs instead :)

  20. Interesting Service, big potential for viral adoptation…BTB, they have to shell some big bucks and buy a premium domain. The current name sucks!

  21. Sounds like you are having fun!

    Rex

  22. Brandon Paddock Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    If you get some more codes, I wouldn’t mind having one tossed my way =)

  23. I would also love an invite code if possible. Seems like a great service and has a lot of potential!

  24. Invite status: guys i have requested the company and hopefully should have some tomorrow if they agree. shouldn’t be too many but will try and get them for all of you who requested.

  25. Brian,

    this is so popsugar-ready. i cannot think of a better service for your awesome publishing empire. I love Sugar-net

  26. i’d love an invite!! :D (pretty please)

  27. brilliant concept !

  28. andre nosalsky Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Om is my new tech hero.
    Thanks Om!!

  29. You get more points for answering quiz questions? How is that supposed to be realistic? In the real world, guys who sit around answering dorky web forms are NOT the sort of guys you want to be giving dating-points to.

    MySpace and Facebook are the best dating sites on the Internet… Everything else is just crap. This is a neat hack, but I doubt it will be any bigger than Consumating, OKCupid, etc… but then again, maybe these sites are big enough for a decent exit. As any member of the teens/20s set will tell you, very very very few people our age make use of dating sites – they are just considered to be terribly uncool.

    Flirting for the Facebook crowd = click “browse” on the Facebook menu bar, search for “Random Play”, and proceed to Poke. Sorry, but it doesn’t get any easier than that…

  30. Cool story.

    I’d love an invite too ;-)

    thanks

  31. It is a novel and intiguing concept, but making it invite only is very undemocratic

  32. If there are still invites, I would appreciate one.

    Thanks

  33. If I could get an invite too that would be great!

    Just wondering, is this for people who are only in NY?

  34. Social Media Club – » Social Media Now: MOG Music Thursday, March 29, 2007

    [...] Iminlikewithyou: Love in the time of Facebook [...]

  35. Would love to try it, we need an invite? :-(

  36. Good job Chuck! Friend since the 1st grade! You’ll be the next Tom (from Myspace)

  37. Hi Om! I too would love and invite!

    cheers

  38. Om,
    Got any more of those invite codes?
    suneeta krish

  39. The new incubators seem to be working « Toni’s Garage Thursday, March 29, 2007

    [...] released the widely heralded Twitter. Y Combinator has had several hits, including currently buzzed about companies like Scribd, Justin.TV and ImInLikeWithYou. Yahoo’s Brickhouse launched Pipes to [...]

  40. For those of you interested in this type of Facebook and MySpace (and now Iminlikewithyou) culture, I highly suggest checking out this new website: SocialMoth (http://www.socialmoth.com). Om, this includes you!!

    This website allows people to hide under anonymity while posting feelings, secrets, and opinions on message boards. The more friends you have, the better chances you have for figuring out who has made what comments. You can stay up to date on new “info” through email alerts and everything! I’m addicted. I’m so addicted I have posted Social Moth’s website in my Facebook profile. See you there!

  41. ironically, Lulu, the socialmoth guys and iminlikewithyou guys were slammed in the back of a car together this weekend.

    thanks for the word though. are you the lola on the site?

  42. Hey Om, can you pass me an invite? Orkut just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.
    Thanks

  43. This smacks a little of 17th Century bride pricing to me! Can you bid for prima notte rights too?

    I do like that women get to be fought over again. I think it’s good for women and men to re-focus hook up culture into men competing for women.

  44. Ok, this was definitely created by guys, :) If it were really geared to putting women in control, we’d get the option to bid or be bid on.

    Just kidding, but I think it’d be cooler if everybody could bid (unless I’m reading it wrong and you can?)

    Fun game! but i’m not entirely convinced this alone will make it successful. we’ll see!

  45. andre nosalsky Thursday, March 29, 2007

    I’ve got some invites available now, let me know if interested.

  46. Artificially Yours « ElephantDrive Thursday, March 29, 2007

    [...] Malik, of GigaOm, recently interviewed the founders of the new startup Iminlikewithyou, whose Facebook-era application aims to put a [...]

  47. Oh poop, Om…if’n you and your 40-something “age-based compatriots” take “fabulous,”…what are us 50+ers supposed to use?…maybe “Fortunate 50’s!”?

    Gulp! :-)

    ps Got a great new income generator for ya’…sell invite codes to all the cool new sites (just kidding).

  48. I’d like an invite too please!

  49. Whatwasitodo Friday, March 30, 2007

    Would love an invite if you have one!

  50. hi Om,
    i’d really like to get an invite if you have one. it sounds great… and i’m totally sick of the bar scene.
    thanks!

  51. Om, I get how the bidding process works for the guys. What does the service look like for the women who’ve subscribed?

    Do they have the right to eject guys from the bidding/flirting process?

    Do they benefit from being bidded on? Do they get to keep those points? If so, what do they spend those on?

  52. Mayur Jobanputra Sunday, April 1, 2007

    I would love an invite also!

  53. Online dating tools grow up : redprimary.com Sunday, April 1, 2007

    [...] with all these dating sites is that women tend to get bombarded with friend and dating requests. Iminlikewithyou.com (yes thats actually the web site name!) has taken a very smart approach to solving two of the most [...]

  54. This seems pretty awesome. You think you could shoot an invite my way?

  55. I would love an invite if you have any to spare. Thanks Om!

  56. Joel Housman Monday, April 2, 2007

    I would love an invite if you’ve got one.

  57. The Law of Mobility » Blog Archive » Converged Products: Week of 4/01/07 Monday, April 2, 2007

    [...] Cellphone as flirting auction tool(?) [...]

  58. Quite a long name, guess I got into the domain names very early in 1998. I own http://www.singlescanada.com, iamjustflirting.com is another great name of mine. I am launching a very exciting site on April 15th which puts all these ideas into one. Stay tuned
    Matchmaking Momma
    MMMomma

  59. Tasty Blog Snack – IMINLIKEWITHYOU Monday, April 2, 2007

    [...] read gigaOM article for a more in-depth review ] Tagged: dating, iilwy, iminlikewithyou, interactive, online, social networking, [...]

  60. ayn blog » iminlikewithyou Monday, April 2, 2007

    [...] GigaOM » Iminlikewithyou: Love in the time of Facebook [...]

  61. Runkelfinker Tuesday, April 3, 2007

    Love the bit about gin & tonics. My site is delivering highly targeted adverts promoting Barbie to a set of 1000 teenage boys who expressed a dislike for the Care Bears.

  62. die liebe und nichts als die liebe Tuesday, April 3, 2007

    Dating: US-Firmen befürchten Verluste durch „freie“ Seiten…

    Die Diskussion um so genannte „freie” Dating-Seiten kocht in den USA wieder hoch: Angeblich würden die „freien” Dienste wie PlentyOfFish, OKCupid oder Iminlikewithyou die Bezahlseiten zerstören. Fragt man freilich „, wann?”, „wie?” oder …

  63. hey, if there are any invites i would love one!

  64. Can I get an invite code?

  65. Sounds like a great site! thanks for pointing it out!

    I also would love to have an invite to it.

  66. Shawn Featherly Tuesday, April 3, 2007

    Om, I’d love an invite if you have another to spare.

  67. If you’ve got any left, then yeah…. could I have an invite too?

  68. Are there any invites left? I would love one. Or if anyone else that got an invite, has more now….

    -z

  69. this is the worst plug for a product i’ve ever read. to compare with facebook as the people who are going to re-invent flirting. OM you pasted your mark–ooO

  70. I would love a invite as well,
    Im in like everyone else, I GUESS! LOL

    Thank you!
    verycheeky@ g mail.c om

  71. Not that I wouldn’t accept an invitation, but in the end, doesn’t this limit the number and/or quality of people who can use it? Right now, the site says “invite only, probably forever” – sooner or later, it’s gonna have to stop. (Example: I used to receive LinkedIn invitations every day, and I never signed up. That was two years ago. I got my first one since May 2006 yesterday.)

  72. I have been reading about this service all over the net and it sounds really interesting I’ll take in invite code if you still have some. Thanks!

  73. GigaOM » Iminlikewithyou: Love in the time of Facebook…

    This past weekend I got a chance to hang out with Charles Forman and Dan Albritton, the twenty-something, fast-talking co-founders of New York-based Iminlikewithyou, a new web-mobile hybrid service, that is going as addictive and as powerful as Faceboo…

  74. Great, just another way for women to tell my I’m ugly and to leave them alone…

  75. Invite please, if you have any left

  76. This website sounds like an awesome idea and I would love to try it out. Are there any more invites?

  77. It would be great if you can send me an invite. I’m almost as curious about this bidding for “like” as finding out how good I’m at it.
    Thanks,
    Nhan

  78. If there’s another invite out there, it’d be appreciated. I’d like to check this service out myself..

  79. hey, if there are any invites i would love one!

  80. Awe man I’m late to the game. Any codes available?

  81. I’d like to check this site out, how do I get an invite code?

    I found a site that’s kind of online dating, but also a little social networking called IamFreeTonight.com . You can do group/double dates with their wingman concept. Seems neat…and no invite code!

  82. Use code SUGAR

  83. I’m in Like With You – Flirting Meets Bidding Thursday, April 12, 2007

    [...] Geez, this site is great – amazing usability. Poor name though. See also previous coverage from Om and Geeksugar. We’ll try to see if we can land some invites for others. Link to This [...]

  84. proxieslist.net Thursday, April 12, 2007

    [...] Geez, this site is great – amazing usability. Poor name though. See also previous coverage from Om and Geeksugar. We’ll try to see if we can land some invites for [...]

  85. OMG im so curious about this site, it looks really great. Definitely a step up from facebook and myspace! =D

    Does anyone have any invites lying around that they could give me! I’d be eternally grateful!
    =D

  86. oh wow, im special…i just read the previous posts! thanks brian!

  87. email me at vrdpnp (at) gmail.com for invites.

  88. I’d love an invite!

    pat.yan [@] gmail.com

  89. I’m totally in like with Om!

  90. a little late but bettet than never….with the catching enthusiasm on the site wd like to chk it out….can u shoot an invite my way…..!!

  91. Cranial Vomit » invite city Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    [...] find this post the best way to explain the site as well as Calacanis’ podcast [...]

  92. Great !!!
    can someone send any invitation?

  93. OMG
    this sounds like soo much fun!!!

    pplleeaaasseeeeee try to send me an invite
    if you do
    i will bid on you!!!

    <3 thankyou soo much!!!
    zpokrandt@gmail.com

  94. if anyone has an extra invite, hook it up.
    thank you.

  95. anyone have any extra invites?
    jeffreyxpp at gmail dot com

  96. I’m late for the bandwagon, but would love an invite if anyone has one floating around. thx!

    micah4_1 at yahoo dot com

  97. Hey, please please please if anyone has spare invites… Could I please have one :) garyimray [AT] gmail [DOT] com

    Thanks!

  98. Can someone hook me up with an invite to

    IMINLIKEWITHYOU

    please?

    dreamwalkn101 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Thanks!

  99. please hook me up with an invite…

    prerak.bathia at gmail dot com

  100. needing an invitation!
    Think

  101. I like it,
    Can someone hook me up with an invite to
    seaisblue@gmail.com
    Thinks!

  102. please try to send me an invite

    chuluunbaatar at gmail dot com
    thanks

  103. I like it,
    Can someone hook me up with an invite to

    t4rdj0[at]gmail[dot]com

    thanks

  104. This looks very interesting, and it will no doubt do quite well right out of the closed beta just on the hype alone… speaking of which, I am really looking forward to bidding on Om…can anyone spare an invite?

  105. i need an invite for iminlikewithyou.com
    please e-mail me for any responses
    i had the idea for this type of site … can’t believe someone takes it away from me… us :(

    wish i had developers and designers to get my ideas into the market faster

    thank anyhows

    again NEED AN INVITE PLEASE E-MAIL.

    -f00f

  106. So basically I’m going to have to hit on a lot of ugly girls to save up points to hit on the hot girls.

    Excellent, just like real life. ;)

  107. I need an invite for iminlikewithyou.com
    thanks

  108. Little War – web2.0, girls & stuff » Blog Archive » Om Malik’s Girlfriend – Part 1 Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    [...] sans lady friend, particularly as he has been beta handling new fangled dating sites like I’m In Like With You which makes flirting a commodity – hey guys tip, try actually going to a bar/Whole Food Store and [...]

  109. Little War – web2.0, girls & stuff » Blog Archive » Om Malik’s Girlfriend – Part 1 Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    [...] sans lady friend, particularly as he has been beta handling new fangled dating sites like I’m In Like With You which makes flirting a commodity – hey guys tip, try actually going to a bar/Whole Food Store and [...]

  110. Can someone offer me an invite to the site?

  111. iminlikewithyou gets a design update and i’ve got front-row tickets – by [muhammad.saleem] Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    [...] with you), also known as hot or not for the web savvy (read this for a primer on the service), and the facebook of online dating sites, recently released a preview of their new interface for their beta users. here’s a look at [...]

  112. trademark registration Saturday, November 24, 2007

    That’s actually a really brilliant idea, as it introduces a kind of supply-and-demand dynamic to flirting. I think it would make online dating much more efficient.

  113. Darren Herman – Marketing, Advertising, Media and Technology Blog » Blog Archive » Smoke & Mirrors: A Good Portion of the Digital Media Space Thursday, January 24, 2008

    [...] ever happened to ImInLikeWithYou, Pownce, Twitter, and other companies who we thought could almost take over the world with thier [...]

  114. Darren Herman – Marketing, Advertising, Media and Technology Blog » Blog Archive » Smoke & Mirrors: A Good Portion of the Digital Media Space Thursday, January 24, 2008

    [...] ever happened to ImInLikeWithYou, Pownce, Twitter, and other companies who we thought could almost take over the world with thier [...]

  115. Iminlikewithyou Gets VC Cash For New Game – GigaOM Thursday, June 26, 2008

    [...] I wrote about Iminlikewithyou at the time of their launch and found their dating-gaming platform very compelling and addicting. Over a period of time, I made many friends because of that platform. The gaming focus didn’t quite turn Iminlikewithyou into a web-sensation. Co-founder Charles Forman, refocused Iminlikewithyou as a way to build casual games. [...]

  116. In Love with Iminlikewithyou | GotGame Friday, July 18, 2008

    [...] there on a platter of make-believe dowry, and you could fail miserably and not look back. It was love in the time of Facebook. At some point along the line, the creators realized that iminlikewithyou was more a [...]

  117. Running The Marathon Monday, February 2, 2009

    [...] is an interesting website that gives you casual flash games. The idea started as a flirting/dating site with twist. Originally, users would bid on each other, in attempts to woo [...]

  118. Game Site OMGPOP Asks Teens to Pay Up | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD Monday, June 15, 2009

    [...] to be some kind of flirting/dating/Facebook hybrid. It got glowing praise from the likes of Om Malik, but it was hard to see how it was going to amount to a business. So Forman changed direction and [...]

  119. Game Site OMGPOP Asks Teens to Pay Up [MediaMemo] | UpOff.com Monday, June 15, 2009

    [...] to be some kind of flirting/dating/Facebook hybrid. It got glowing praise from the likes of Om Malik, but it was hard to see how it was going to amount to a business. So Forman changed direction and [...]

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