If you have experience dating online, you’ve probably used or heard of OkCupid (or OKC as it is affectionally called by its fan base). In 2007, OkCupid was chosen as one of Time magazine’s top 10 websites for dating and its popularity has continued since, enhanced by their creation of an app. However, if you haven’t used the site recently, a lot has changed and not all of it is good for the average dater. The OkCupid you liked a few years ago or ten, is no longer the same.
ABOUT – The History of OkCupid
OkCupid was launched in 2004 by founders Chris Coyne, Christian Rudder, Sam Yagan, and Max Krohn. Each attended Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was there they originated TheSpark.com and SparkNotes. Those creations included humorous quizzes and personality tests, often based on Myers-Briggs (personality) type matching. SparkMatch incorporated quizzes where compatible Myers-Brigg types could message one another. It was those early origins which eventually inspired the OkCupid we know today. Meanwhile, SparkNotes was sold to the bookselling chain of Barnes And Noble.
OkCupid first gained popularity by word of mouth and online exposure. Users were generally artistic, quirky, self defined “nerds”, or city savvy folk in urban area. Sapiosexual, or attraction to intellect, was a popular theme and remains so today. As time went on and OkCupid became more well known, its popularity increased with everyone from teachers to therapists, or even your next door neighbor (possibly your married neighbor, as the site is for monogamy and non-monogamy).
Though it initially launched as a free service, in 2009 OkCupid created an “A-list” account option with additional features. Though one of OkCupid’s founders once posted negative statements against match.com for its corrupt exploitation of users through its paid service, those comments were eventually removed (“voluntarily”) when OkCupid was acquired for $50 million by IAC/InterActiveCorp (not coincidentally match.com’s operators).
Pros & Cons
- In 2017, OkCupid improved its messaging to compete with other sites. To read OkCupid’s direct statement about the change, go here: https://theblog.okcupid.com/why-okcupid-is-changing-how-you-message-f14d492e7853. In synopsis: While many dating sites require users to match prior to messaging, OkCupid used to allow ‘open messaging’. This meant, that any user could message another, regardless of their match status. However, largely to help female users who were inundated with messages they didn’t want, the site now calls messaging ‘Conversations” and, although users can write a message to anyone they like, the other user won’t see it unless they ‘like’ that user’s profile in return.
- OKC’s has historically been pro diversity and inclusion. This was evident when one of OKC’s founders suggested boycotting the search engine Mozilla, due to the CEO’s anti gay marriage stance.
- One important point to note is that OkCupid’s search feature does not have you list that you’re a man or women, etc., looking for a specific age, type, or location. Rather, when you search, you list whether you want to find a man, woman, etc. looking for your age, gender, and details. The inverse method for how OKC’s search is conducted can be confusing and lead to the wrong results.
- Conducting the same search from a year ago showed more limited results and less attractive users than before. Since 2014, OkCupid has used modern celebratory language for diverse people and the change in clientele is clear. If this is what you’re looking for, proceed happily with the expanded options. Regardless of your gender and status, OKC will work for you, but you will have to select options carefully and read through profiles to see if your matches are correct for you – straight, gay, bisexual, or other.
- Perhaps due to a site malfunction, during this review I had to repeatedly edit and save my search options as they would reset to the opposite of what I was searching for in sexual orientation/gender. Even after multiple corrections, search results were incorrect.
Boost is one option in addition to/instead of becoming an A-List member on OkCupid. Boost shows users more quickly, so you will get a full day of matches in 15 minutes! Ten boosts costs $1.69 each, 5 boosts costs for $1.89 each, or 1 boost for $1.99 each.
Depending on your budget, both A-List Basic and Premium are good. If you plan on using Boost, consider signing up for A-List Premium instead. If you don’t like recurring fees or plan on being on the site long, Boost may work on its own. For basic site improvements try A-List Basic.
Ease of Use
Due to its 14 years in existence, OkCupid has had plenty of time to streamline and simplify sign up. Through this they’ve proven themselves a force to be reckoned with in the dating world and their progressive stance on gender identity attracts both traditional and modern daters.
People who use OkCupid usually enjoy it, although user review on dating sites can be mixed and plagued with comments by those who had a negative experience. Overall, sign up through their website is straight forward and the app is even more so. The site makes small additions and improvements to stay competitive.
Online support is now the go-to option offered by most websites and dating sites. OkCupid does NOT have a customer service phone line. This means that, whether you like it or not, feedback and concerns (even about your account or billing) will have to be submitted through online forms and a reply waited for. While it can be frustrating not to be able to connect with a real, live person on the phone, replies come relatively quickly: https://www.okcupid.com/help/contact-us
How does This Work?
Go to OkCupid.com and/or download the app. On the opening OkCupid web page you will login and/or sign up. While you have the option of linking with your Facebook account, you can also sign up with a regular email address. In an effort to distinguish themselves and craft a company vision distinctive from Tinder’s ‘hot or not’ style swipes, OKC’s main page says,
“On OkCupid, you’re more than just a photo. You have stories to tell, and passion to share, and things to talk about that are more interesting than the weather. Get noticed for who you are, not what you look like. Because you deserve what dating deserves: better.”
Once you’re properly signed up and logged in, you’ll have a chance to upload a photograph (from your computer, Facebook, or by connecting to Instagram) and fill in some basic information. Include your name and select your gender. Male or female have been the most used, but with OKC as one of the most advanced and progressive gender inclusive sites, you will be shown 22 different options for gender. These range from Cis Man, Non-binary, or Two Spirit, etc. You’ll also select what you’re looking for, detailed below.
Remember how we said OkCupid has changed? While hookups and short term flings have always been a part of the site and all such sites, When new users go to what they’re looking for, to make a selection between ‘hookup, new friends, short-term dating, long term dating, and whether or not they’re open to non-monogamy’… only one selection is pre-highlighted: Hookup.
So, from the start of sign up, the implication that the site is moving away from a traditional LTR or dating mindset to a progressive hookup site seems clear.
Next, choose the age range you’re looking for and write about yourself. Even if it is tempting to click past these initial details, with little thought, make sure you enter them for the best results and experience on the site. The following profile details will be more thorough, as you answer 15 questions about your belief systems and what beliefs you’d like in a compatible partner. For instance, whether you want your next relationship to last one night, a few months to a year, several years, or the rest of your life … to questions about smoking preference or personality.
- OkCupid offers A-List Basic or A-List Premium. By signing up for A-List Basic, you will receive a full list of people who like you and they will be highlighted in several categories. Attractiveness features will be added, so that one can search by body type, personality, or publicly answered questions. Message read receipts will be given, so you can check if someone saw your message, and you will also browse the site ad-free.
- OkCupid frequently flashes discounted sign-ups, for instance 20% off original sign up with 5 minutes, etc. This means that a 6 month package is $9.95 a month, or $7.95 a month with 20% off. A 3 month package is $14.95, or $11.95 a month at 20% off. 1 month is $19.95 a month, or $15.95 a month with 20% off.
- A-List Premium will give you the same features along with an automatic ‘boost’, to be seen by more people during peak hours. The matches you’re shown will be also more ‘attractive’. Additionally, you’ll see other’s public answers before you answer and improvements to your mutual matches on your conversation’s page. A 6 month package is $24.95 a month. A 3 month package is $29.90 a month. A one month package is $34.90 a month.
When using dating sites, it is important to educate yourself about Catfish, Scammers, and Spammers online. If you find that someone is not whom they claimed to be, take action and stop contact with/or block them. Limit exchanging personal information, such as your full name or address, until you know someone well. Always meet in a public location. If funds have been swindled from you in any way, report it to the authorities.
The main complaints online about OkCupid generally involve users encountering catfish/scammers, the site’s lack of phone support (and not getting feedback when needed) and accounts being inaccurately deleted. Feedback on the site’s new messaging rules (detailed below) is mixed.
OkCupid’s desktop site is what one has come to expect from online dating. If you’re a millennial or simply prefer the fast speed of swiping sites like Tinder or Bumble, you will want to take advantage of OKC’s more vibrant and modernized app.