Curves Connect: Online dating for real people seeking real relationships
|How do you feel about online dating? Is it right for you or all wrong?|
Many people find online dating frustrating. Between the lies and game playing, the fear of being "catfished" and the sensory overload they have decided that online dating is a waste of time. Others see online dating as no different than traditional dating and actually feel it is more convenient. Where do you fall within these two contrasting perspectives?
You know, I have been working on a series of blogs about dating in your 20s vs 30s, and social media and online dating came up several times in the discussions I have had with people. I am a traditionalist when it comes to dating. I want to know you and your people, to some extent, before I connect with you. So, I do not partake in online dating.
However, I know several 20 somethings and 30 somethings who do, and their experiences are varied.
I talked to a couple of people about a company that reached out to me about their new online dating platform. One was a friend who already dates online. I asked her for the scoop about online dating.
"Internet dating has all of the issues you get in regular dating with the addition of all the various issues the Internet brings: fraudulent pics, outright lies in the profile, husbands, boyfriends, and children no one knew existed."-Single Guy
Another was a younger attorney, whom spoke about her excitement about a platform like this new one that gives someone who has a little extra to love more opportunity to connect with someone. She expressed that not being what's labeled as an "ideal body type" gets her ignored in a sea of "Instagram models," so she is less likely to try online dating. I told her about the idea behind Curves Connect and she actually said she would be more willing to try it out.
Keep reading for my interview with the people behind this new online dating platform...
What is the new platform you've created?
We launched CurvesConnect.com, a dating site for singles with a few extra curves or pounds in December 2015.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Jerry Miller, founder of FarmersOnly.com (with now over 5 million members), has been studying online dating for over 10 years. Through countless conversations with people from all walks of life, Jerry observed that Hollywood has brainwashed people into what “being attractive” should look like. On mainstream dating sites, many people are overlooked just because they are a few pounds overweight.
Jerry and his team decided to build a site where people feel comfortable showing and sharing their true selves, true pictures and true interests. No more posting a photo from 20 years ago because you think you looked better! CurvesConnect.com was started so that you will be accepted just the way you are.
Our site is inspired by the tens of millions of Americans who don’t happen to look like Hollywood celebrities. There are many stereotypes for anyone who is not skinny. Here’s ours: They’re REAL people. CurvesConnect.com is a dating site for anyone who self-identifies as curvy, plus-size, or having a few extra pounds or curves, and anyone who doesn’t judge a book by its cover.
Is it a paid or free service? Why?
The first 50,000 people to join are invited to do so for free. Later, members will be able to use limited functionality for free and then pay for additional features, similar to other paid sites. Our fees will be modest compared to industry standards. Setting a modest price keeps the quality of the site high. People interested in a long-term, meaningful relationship are willing to pay a modest fee and this deters people who are just looking for hook-ups.
How does it work?
Our site provides an app-like mobile experience but you do not need to download an app to use it. From any browser, the site acts just like an app. We did this to make our site user-friendly for anyone who is less tech savvy and anyone who doesn’t want to deal with app downloads and updates. The site also transitions seamlessly to a computer and tablet, because we have found that users want the ability to switch devices easily without having to worry about multiple app installs or starting from all over again and again.
How is it different from the dozens of other online dating platforms?
The dating industry has moved rapidly towards a photo-centric approach where people swipe quickly left and right. This pushes users to make choices based on stereotypes of physical appearance. On CurvesConnect.com, we are building out a richer environment for self-expression and thoughtful communication. Also, we set the expectation with our users that this is not a forum for judging people based on their looks only. Users looking for meaningful relationships know that they can’t judge someone based on an instantaneous reaction to someone’s appearance.
The biggest concerns many women have expressed about online dating are that: it makes it easier for men to lie; there tends to be no serious interest in connecting other than for sex; and with all of the "matches," there is sensory overload. How does your platform address these concerns?
Our site is positioned for meaningful relationships. There are plenty of other sites for hook-ups, including the many free sites. By emphasizing people’s interests and values, by discouraging people who are seeking hook-ups, and by inviting people not to judge a book by its cover, we are setting expectations for more meaningful interaction. In terms of people’s truthfulness, both sexes need to be cautious and patient in getting to know someone. Of course there are some bad apples online, just as there are in any other area of social interaction.But we don’t recommend letting a few bad apples spoil the bunch. The success stories from online dating are incredibly prevalent in all walks of life and online dating is fast becoming the largest source of dates and relationships in our society.
Men feel that online dating levels the playing field and finally gives them the power of rejecting or accepting a variety of prospects, but there is an issue with being "catfished." Does your platform involve any background checks or video messaging?
We know from our discussion with literally thousands and thousands of users that the average online dater is getting increasingly savvy and aware and therefore increasingly capable of weeding out any bad apples. Video messaging is a feature that is not part of our early launch but we have it planned on for our product roadmap. We do not provide background checks as they are not a cure-all. We encourage various online safety tips which we have developed from our many years of feedback from our users.
Some people find online dating to be too far from their comfort zone of traditional dating. What would those people find appealing about your platform?
Our CurvesConnect users are already giving us feedback that they are having more success on CurvesConnect because they feel more comfortable being true to themselves. CurvesConnect appeals to first-time online daters and to people who have given up on the other mainstream sites, because CurvesConnect is very easy to use, and our community is made up of real people looking for meaningful relationships.
What makes your platform the "anti-hookup site"?
Our brand emphasizes meaningful relationships and we discourage users who are interested in hook-ups. Our brand speaks loudly and clearly on this point so there is no doubt that we are all about real people and meaningful relationships. There is no need to join our site if someone is only looking for a hook-up -- there are plenty of other sites to join.
HAVE YOU TRIED ONLINE DATING? WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE? WOULD YOU TRY A PLATFORM LIKE CURVES CONNECT?
What is your target audience? Why?
Curves Connect is for anyone who self-identifies as curvy, plus-size, or having a few extra pounds or curves, and people who are looking for meaningful relationships based on shared interests and values, as opposed to just judging a book by its cover.
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