What if there were an online dating site where you didn’t have to waste hours sifting through a bunch of cheesy profiles that aren’t even a reflection of a person’s real interests only to end up on some uncomfortable, awkward first date? Well, I’ve got good news for all of my dating-challenged friends out there in the social media sphere. Thanks to the new social matching app StreetSpark, young metropolitan singles no longer have to grapple with the age-old question, “how do I meet someone with similar interests in a city made up of millions?” In a world where smart phones and social networks are king, it was only a matter of time before someone created this new wave of online dating. I recently got the chance to chat with the man who did just that. Read on to see what StreetSpark CEO Anthony Erwin has to say about the future of online dating.
For those of us new to StreetSpark, can you please explain how it works?
StreetSpark is an app and website that introduces you to people we think you should meet. So, rather than scrolling through profiles, we take your common social interests and alert you when someone is in proximity. We send a push notification and create a spark, you can then choose to either ignite or extinguish the spark. It connects you to other social networks and we show you the reason for the spark it could be you both liked a recent article on StyleCaster, you follow the same people on twitter or have common Facebook interests. Were looking at Netflix next, so wed connect you based on videos youve both been watching or music youve both been listening to.
What made you want to create a social matching network?
The notion of serendipity has always been something Ive been really interested in. Is there a past or event where you may have crossed prior to meeting, but just may not have know it? So with StreetSpark, I thought, how about we start from the there, and using technology we bring people together.
People may wonder about the safety issues so if I’m matched with someone, do they automatically find out my location?
Through GPS and mobile phone triangulation, we detect the area of the city you are in, but for privacy reasons you wont ever see an exact location. Its about proximity of others who have been matched with you.
Does it usually work in setting up successful matches? Do you have any statistics on actual dating success rates?
What we do know is that there is a very high percentage of ignite rates. What we can see are social sparks, like foursquare, Facebook and Twitter getting up to an 85% ignite rate. The social sparks work much better than our standard sparks, just based on the profile. And with that, the chat rate also goes really high. So, in terms of relationships, weve had lots of really good feedback.
How does StreetSpark differ from the usual online dating sites like eHarmony & Match.com that also take your interests into consideration?
Were the only ones with the social matching technology, which is really hard to do because there is a lot of data and number crunching there. Its about timely, current interests, as appose to filling out a long online profile that doesnt necessarily reflect the ongoing changes in your life. We use info that people are sharing all the time anyway, so dont have to fill out a profile. Theres a much more powerful and real-time aspect. It gives them a reason to talk right away and break the ice. We like to view ourselves as a host of a massive party, introducing our guests. Its up to you what you do after the introduction.
Who’s the ideal StreetSpark user?
Our demographic is between the ages of 20 to 35, with the average usually around 30, and its equally male and female.
Is the app available nation-wide or just directed at large cities?
We just recently moved to the US from the UK, which is very exciting. Its available across the states, but right now were really focusing on New York as our first major US city.
Is the goal of StreetSpark to build long-term relationships or is it more for casual dating?
The way it works is that its more spontaneous but its rally up to the user how they want to use it. If they want to meet for a coffee, they can see who is nearby. We have had feedback that because of the way its designed, which is more casual, people are finding that theyre spontaneously meeting for a coffee etc. That way, theyre not wasting huge chunks of their time with someone they have no spark with. Its not about setting people up to get married. Were not an eHarmony Its really about people meeting and already knowing what to talk about. So yes, its a lot more casual more about introductions.