OkCupid was created by a group of Harvard University math students in 2004. It was initially a website experiment that put users through a personality quiz and connected those that gave similar answers. And it worked, because it almost immediately went viral. It has later gone through major upgrades and is now the website and app we know as OkCupid.
OkCupid tries to match users based on whether they live similar lives and have similar personalities, rather than based on looks and appearances. That is, looks are also important, but after a potential date has passed the ‘hot-enough-for-me’ screening process, OkCupid also filters potential dates based on personality. You and your potential dates are asked to answer several questions, and based on 1) how you answer these questions, 2) what answers you are seeking from a potential date and, 3) how important these answer are to you, OkCupid calculates a matching score between you and your potential date from 0 - 100%.
The theory behind this is that if you have similar attitudes to say, ethics, intellectual conversations, movies, children, health, etc., you are also likely to be a better match for each other.
Setting up an OkCupid profile is relatively straightforward, but may take some time. You create an account the usual way by setting the basics such as what gender you are and adding personal information.
You will then be asked to add photographs and to fill in an ‘About’ section. This section asks you (through short written statements) to provide a short self-summary, tell potential matches what you are doing with your life, what you are really good at, you favourite books / movies / music / food, six things you couldn’t leave without, what you spend a lot of time thinking of, what you do on a typical Friday night and why someone should message you.
You have the option to add more information about yourself such as sexual orientation, ethnicity, height, body type, diet, smoking and drinking habits, etc. You also set the parameters of what you are looking for such as age, location, what kind of relationship (long term, short-term, casual or just friendship) and whether you are ok dating someone who is not single.
Up until this part, getting set up should normally take no more than 15 minutes. You are then off to answer questions. In the questionnaire, you will be asked questions such as: What's more important, sex or love? Have you smoked in the last 6 months? Would you consider sleeping with someone on the first date? The questions vary from personal preferences to lifestyle to intellectual matters and beyond. Assuming you answer 30-40 questions, total time to get up and running should be about 30 minutes.
For instance, for the question 'How often are you open with your feelings?', you can answer: 1) Always, 2) Usually, 3) Rarely, or 4) Never. You are also asked to select the answers you will accept from a potential date to the same question: 1) Always, 2) Usually, 3) Rarely, 4) Never, or 5) Any of the above. Lastly, you will be asked to what extent this question is of importance to you: 1) A little, 2) Somewhat, or 3) Very.
An algorithm then calculates a match percentage (from 0 - 100%) to determine how well you match with other people that have also answered the same questions. The more questions you answer, the more information OkCupid has for matching you, and the more robust the match will be (assuming the algorithm actually works well). However, you don't have to answer all the questions - you can pick and choose the ones you want.
Answering these questions can take from two minutes to almost as long as you want, because you can chose from thousands of questions. But you will need to answer at least 10 of them to start getting matching scores with other users.
When you are done with (or have taken a break from) answering questions, you can start looking for potential dates.
OkCupid gives you three different ways to find potential dates. The first feature gives you an option to check out persons that are new, online at that moment, featured (you need to pay if you want yourself to be featured), nearby or random (this gives you a random selection of profiles).
The second way is to browse matches. You can filter candidates based on a variety of criteria such as looks, background, relationship status, personality, vices, how they answered specific questions, age range, proximity to you, when the person was online last, etc. Your matches will be displayed with a main picture, age and a match score (0 - 100%). You will also see an 'enemy score' which indicates how strongly you disagree on matters.
If you see someone you like, you can send them a message, 'like' them or bookmark them (essentially saving to favourites). A person will not be notified if you bookmark him or her, but will be notified if you like him or her.
The third way to find dates is through the feature called Quickmatch. This is very similar to Tinder: you get to see a picture (up to three pictures on a large screen), the person’s age, location and match score (on a large screen you also get to see the person’s About section) and then you swipe left (‘no’) or right (‘yes’) (on a non-touch screen you click ‘yes’ or ‘no’). If you both like each other, you will be notified that you are a 'mutual match'.
Btw, the profiles that are presented to you are not only displayed based on what you set as your search criteria, but will also be determined based on what kind of profiles you checked out in the past, who you liked, messaged and otherwise interacted with.
When you check out someone's profile, you will see their full description and what they are looking for in a partner. You will also see a score of how well the two of you match from 0-100%, as well as a similar score on how you match on topics such as lifestyle, dating, religion, ethics and sex. You also get to see a comparison of any questions that you both answered as well as the enemy score.
The main page of the desktop version of OkCupid shows you the latest activity among the OkCupid members, such as who uploaded a new photo, who edited their profile, etc. Btw, every time you make a change to your online dating profile, it will show up on the main page. The main page of the app takes you straight to browsing for matches.
OkCupid has a dating research blog called OKTrends, where it compiles observations and statistics from hundreds of millions of OkCupid user interactions. The purpose of this is to explain how online daters behave and interact, what works and doesn’t work in the online world, correlation between answers to certain questions and actual behaviour, etc.
Also, there is a newsblog called The Deep End. On here, OkCupid uses data analysis to create reports and facts from the dating world.
In addition, OkCupid has a section called Tests, where you can find hundreds of different kinds of personality tests. There are tests for what kind of lover you are, tests to assess your ‘real’ age, dirty mind tests, what ‘Greek God are you’ tests, etc. These tests can give insight into who you are (or claim to be) and can provide some interesting outcomes. Many of these are also based on official psychological tests, like the popular Myers Briggs personality test. All tests are rated and ranked by the users, and every member of OkCupid can create and share the tests with others.
OkCupid, having been created by mathematicians, seeks to find you matches based on who you are, your personality and what you care about. It asks you a number of questions, asks you what answers you would want a partner to give these questions and also how important these questions are to you. Based on how you and potential dates answer these questions, it gives you a matching score (0-100%) for how well OkCupid thinks you match.
OkCupid is also free. That is, it is fully functional as a free version, meaning you can message people and find dates without having to upgrade to the premium, paid-for version.
OkCupid also encourages freedom in the sense that it is open to people of any gender and sexual orientation, as well as people in any relationship status.
You will probably find people from all walks of life on OkCupid. It doesn’t cater to a particular niche or segment of the population, instead it prides itself as a very liberal dating website for anyone and everyone.
OkCupid also allows users that are already in a relationship and who want to explore further connections, to seek this. In your relationship status, you can choose between ‘single’, ‘seeing someone’, ‘married’, or ‘in an open relationship’. And in relationship type, you can choose between ‘monogamous’ or ‘non-monogamous’. Also, non-monogamous daters who are listed as “seeing someone,” “married,” or “in an open relationship” can link their profiles to their partners' profiles and can together search for new additions.
Many of the users of OkCupid are also quite liberal, as 42% of users have said they would consider dating someone who is already involved in an open relationship, and 24% have said they are seriously interested in group sex.
OkCupid is also popular among university students and younger people, and as a result, the average user, at 28 years old, is younger than for many other dating websites.
OkCupid is relatively sophisticated, matches are based on lots of questions and mathematical formulas, and it takes some time to use the service properly. Given this effort, it is probably fair to say that most people that use the site are looking for an interesting person that they could get along with (perhaps for the longer term), not just someone for a one-time hook-up. That said, because OkCupid is a free site, it will also attract people who are simply looking for hook-ups.
The design of the desktop / laptop version is modern and good. It is simple, flat and nice. There is nothing fancy or flashy about it, rather OkCupid has taken a minimalistic approach to keep the design clean and simple. The functionality of the website is also good. The layout contains all the key functions but nothing more. Because the layout is simple, it is also easy to navigate and there is little opportunity to get confused.
There are advertisements on the free desktop / laptop version, both on top of the page and on the right side. The ads are animated and they change, hence they can be quite distracting and do put a dent in the otherwise good user experience.
The OkCupid app is very similar to the desktop / laptop version in terms of look and feel. The design of the app is also clean and minimalistic, and it is easy to use and understand. When you open the app, it takes you straight to the browsing matches screen, and there is no screen where you get to see the latest status updates of users. Btw, when browsing through profiles, many other mobile dating apps show one profile per screen, but OkCupid shows four, something that works quite well.
The swipe right/left function is nice, but has somewhat less 'sex-appeal' than Tinder. There is also no ‘superlike’ (yet) as on Tinder. The free version also contains ads.
Although the paid version has ‘nice to have’ features, the free version enables you to fully contact and interact with potential suitors and to set up dates.
|COST MONTH /
|1 Month||£19.95 / £19.95|
|3 Months||£14.95 / £44.85|
|6 Months||£9.95 / £59.70|
One main drawback with the free version however, is that you have to deal with advertisements. Ads are targeted and displayed on most pages, they can slow down page loading, and there’s really no way to overlook them.
A frustration with the free version is that you can’t see who has liked you. You can however see who you liked, and any mutual likes. Another frustration is that in the search feature, many of the search filters, such as body type and personality, are only available for paid members.
One more thing: In some cases a person has reached his or her message limit and you are told you cannot send him or her a message unless you pay $1. There is a way around this however. Hint: search Reddit for a discussion on this.
If you want the extra features that A-list gives you (the paid-for membership), you have three options for length and cost of membership. You can choose between 1, 3 and 6 month membership plans.
The costs are quoted in USD only, so if you use a UK payment account, the cost will be converted at the exchange rate at the time of transaction.
OkCupid does not currently have any special offers or discounts on its memberships.
As a subscriber to A-List, you will no longer have to see advertisements. You will also be able to chose from all the search criteria, browse profiles without leaving any traces, you can see who has liked you, you get message read receipts, larger message storage and a few other features. All additional features are displayed in the table.
You make the payments for the 1, 3 and 6 month membership plans upfront. There are no payment plans, so you will need to make it in one full payment. You can cancel the subscription anytime, but you will not be entitled to a refund for any un-used periods. However, if you do cancel before the end of the term, you will also keep the membership benefits until the end of that term.
Unless you cancel your membership before it ends, it will be automatically renewed and you will re-billed for a new subscription on the same terms as the old one.
To cancel the OkCupid A-list membership, you need to go to Settings. From there, you will see an option called Cancel subscription on the right hand side of the page. Click on this to terminate your membership.
If your subscription was purchased through a third party account, such as iTunes or Amazon, the subscription must be cancelled through the third party provider.
OkCupid is a word-wide dating service which is available to users located practically anywhere in the world, and in multiple languages.
OkCupid is very LGBT friendly, and has a large user-base of non-straight people. You can set your sexual orientation as straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, demisexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, lesbian, pansexual, queer, questioning, and sapiosexual. In addition, you can choose your gender as man, woman, agender, androgynous, bigender, non-binary and a number of other options.
You will also have the option to exclude your profile from search results of straight people, so that it will only show up in specified searches.
Because OkCupid caters to all genders and sexualities with its liberal approach, the dating service has also become very popular with non-straight users. Almost 10% of users on OkCupid are looking for same-sex connections. As a result, OkCupid is one of the better websites and apps for same-sex dating.
As one negative, the options for ‘I'm looking for’ are still limited to ‘women’, ‘men’, and ‘everyone’. This probably could have been expanded so that one could look for more specific users.
OkCupid was created by 4 math students from Harvard University. They initially created online humorous self-quizzes and personality tests. A test called SparkMatch allowed the users who had taken the test to search for and contact other users based on their matching types. SparkMatch became popular and was later rebranded as OkCupid. OkCupid was launched in February 2004 in the US.
In 2009, the paid-for membership called A-List was introduced. It included features that the free version didn’t have and it was also ad-free.
In 2011, OkCupid was bought by IAC/InterActiveCorp, the same company who owns Match.com and Tinder.
More than 10 million member had created an account by 2012.
In 2014, OkCupid received on average 3 billion monthly page views.
In 2015, OkCupid was the fourth most search online dating service on Google.
In 2016, OkCupid launched the news blog called The Deep End.
The number of OkCupid users who say they are solely committed to monogamy in 2016 is 44%, down from 56% in 2010.
OkCupid allows users to make their profile viewable only to other OkCupid members who are signed in, and to also block or hide users they don’t want to see or contact.
The website has a community of moderators who review all profiles and pictures (fake users, scammers, underage users, nudity, offensive content, etc.). Moderators are usually chosen from experienced OkCupid users.
OkCupid uses several different tracking companies and ad networks to obtain information about its users. These agencies are independent third parties that search and collect user data like clicks, ad views, pages visited, time spent viewing a particular profile, etc. The information is collected to direct and display specific advertisements to the users.
OkCupid is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns more than 50 companies and websites including match.com, Tinder, Plenty Of Fish and many other dating and personal network sites. It is likely that user information is shared among these different networks.
It says in the OkCupid terms and conditions, that even if you delete information from your profile or account, OkCupid may keep such information archived indefinitely. Put differently, anything you post on the site may be there forever.
OkCupid recently launched Events, which are casual meet-ups like getting drinks at a lounge, karaoke, wine-tasting, etc. Currently, they are only available to New York users, and other locations are likely to follow. Members are encouraged to bring friends who are not website users. You are only allowed to register for an event if you are at least 80% matched with someone among the participants.
At the bottom right of someone’s profile, you get a list of similar users to the profile that you’re looking at, giving you the option to find similar persons.
A message simply saying “hey” had an 84% chance of being ignored in 2015.
Female users on OkCupid, regardless of sexual orientation, generally do not initiate contact. Straight women are 3.5x less likely to send the first message than straight men.