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Summary:

TheComplete.me, a new social dating service formed by former Match.com executives, is looking to leverage social networking and hyper-personalization and self expression to create a network that’s akin to the Pinterest of dating. It opened up in beta today.

FraMEs

At a time when people are increasingly expressing themselves through curation services like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram and comfortable connecting via social networks, most dating sites still rely on anonymity. That’s opened up a big opportunity that start-up TheComplete.me is looking to exploit.

The service, formed by former Match.com executives, hopes to leverage social networking and hyper-personalization to create a social network that’s akin to the Pinterest of dating. It works to connect people through their interests using their real identity and encourages users to express themselves through Pinterest-like pinning of objects. The result is a Facebook app that looks very different from Match, which is exactly the point, said CEO and founder Brian Bowman, former VP of product at Match.com.

“Pinterest is for products you’re interested in and Match is for finding people, but there’s no social experience,” said Bowman, who was also VP of Community at Yahoo and CMO at Reply.com. “There’s a huge disconnect in allowing people to find others with mutual interests with real identity. That’s unique to us.”

TheComplete.me, which went public today at the Launch conference, pulls together a person’s profile using data from social services including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Photobucket, Flickr, Foursquare,  GoodReads, and Instragram. Their interests get visually represented on a FraME similar to a Pinterest Board. And like Pinterest, people can use a bookmarklet to add items to their FraME from anywhere on the web. The more a person shares, the higher their ME score is, indicating how authentic and real they are. Users can keep their accounts anonymous and lock any shared items. But if they open up their accounts, TheComplete.me can show links between users with mutual friends. During an alpha test, 70 percent of users opened up their accounts.

The service operates like a social network with free communications, so users can message each other without subscribing. They can also indicate what other dating sites they’re using including Match.com, Zoosk, eHarmony and Badoo, and communicate with other users on those servies for free on theComplete.me.

Bowman said he decided to leave Match.com after he realized that the company was not prepared to leverage the social web. He said sites like Match.com rely on keeping people apart and making them pay to get access to each other, which leads to users exaggerating and distorting who they are.

Trish McDermott, former VP of Public Relations Match.com who is also on the founding team, said the old way of checking off boxes and creating lists of interests doesn’t reflect the true personality of people and actually keeps people from learning who someone really is. But with social networking, people are learning to be transparent and authentic.

“Match is about checking a box to look the most desirable. Match tried to make dating happen in a social vacuum, but dating is incredibly social,” McDermott said.

The company plans on adding mobile apps in the second quarter. And it’s got some ideas on how to monetize. It will let users pay to place themselves near people they’re interested in or next to a sponsored interest. There will also be some premium features like advanced filtering. And there’s also going to be a video chat service with a small number of minutes of free service with unlimited minutes paid for with a one-time fee.

I think theComplete.me has a good shot at disrupting the dating space. While some dating sites are blending in social features, many still cling to the old habit of making money by enforcing anonymity. But as more people share online and get used to the idea of expressing themselves, it makes sense to leverage that for dating. A robust FraME that more accurately reflects a person’s identity can help establish a better link than a list and an old photo can. But I wonder if being the Pinterest of dating will work equally for men, who are not nearly as savvy at pinning their interests as women. McDermott said men can still learn to share and also use the sharing of the people they’re interested in to help start conversations.

  1. I can see how this could work. My wife is a wedding planner and rocks Pinterest for her clients to validate visions and styles for them.

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  2. I love the authenticity and transparency aspects that this brings to online dating. I have no doubt women will take full advantage of the ability to share interests – and men will figure it out. Let’s give the guys some credit!

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  3. Pavlin Stoychev Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Another “evil” hungry for data app… It told me it is not available in my country AFTER I filled the form with my data, not before.

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    1. Trish McDermott Thursday, March 8, 2012

      Pavlin,
      We are only open in the U.S. right now, but have plans to expand internationally soon. Sorry. The system doesn’t know your country of origin until you connect with Facebook. We respect your privacy and data rights, and take the proactive step of deleting all international registrants. Thanks for trying. Hope you will give us another chance soon, and hope to see you on the site.
      Trish McDermott

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      1. Pavlin Stoychev Sunday, March 11, 2012

        Hi,
        This is not true.
        Here is what is happening:
        1. I connect with Facebook.
        2. You show me the form where I fill my personal data.
        3. You show me a message the service is not available in The Netherlands.

        At step 2 you allready know where I am. So it is your decision to show me the form to collect my data instead of showing me the message that the service is not available for me. And this is an “evil” practise.

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  4. Ryan – thank you very much for the coverage, we appreciate it. One point of clarification, unlike Pintrest, our consumers do not start with a blank canvas. We import Facebook likes, photos and friends to create default FraMEs so people will always find a visually rich, deep profile.

    Based on our early tests, both men and women said they really enjoyed how easy it was to fill out their profile by re-framing content from other people or grabbing photos/videos from around the web.

    By the way, all photo albums are private by default (except for profile photos) and consumers can easily lock or unlock photos, delete any interest or hide their friends to maintain complete privacy control.

    We hope you your readers will check it out.

    Brian
    CEO/Founder
    theComplete.me

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  5. Maureen Rebele Thursday, March 8, 2012

    I really like the concept. Makes you wonder why no one thought of this sooner.

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  6. The idea is good: combining the social and interest graph and bringing both to dating. The problem is: Design and usability of thecomplete.me is far behind other cool, sticky sites, so I wouldn’t wonder if the usage stays as low as it is currently. Maybe also a reason why they weren’t able to raise money yet.

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  7. Fernando Ardenghi Saturday, March 10, 2012

    social dating is illusory/vaporware

    There is a plethora of Social Dating sites like Badoo; HowAboutWe, Zoosk in decadence since months, others failed like SmartDate, Zingl, Engage (then rebranded to Ignither group dating), Thread, Triangulate, Gelato (then rebranded to Twnty), WooMe, 12Like, LittleHint.

    Online Dating for serious daters does not need to be more social, it needs to be more effective/efficient. It needs to reduce the false positives problem.
    The Online Dating Industry needs innovations but they will come from only one source: the latest discoveries in theories of romantic relationships development with commitment.
    Compatibility is all about a high level on personality* similarity* between prospective mates for long term mating with commitment.
    *personality measured with a normative test.
    *similarity: there are different ways to calculate similarity, it depends on how mathematically is defined.

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  8. Brian is one of the smartest people in internet dating today. Authenticity is at the core of The Complete.me. Interesting side news: Baihe.com is a top 3 dating site in China and they recently switched to having everyone have to use their real names on the site. [Full Disclosure: theComplete.me was advised by Courtland Brooks]

    Mark Brooks
    OnlinePersonalsWatch
    usa 212-444-1636 / uk 020-8133-1835

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    1. Frederick Stallion Sunday, March 11, 2012

      Smart, but arrogant!!

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  9. Hmm. Such a good idea. This is very interesting. I very like the features is this will be possible, it will be a good
    social network site for the near future.

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