Web solutions for lonely hearts
Australians are now able to get anonymous feedback on their awkward dating experiences with the help of a new website.
The Date Rate site was launched at Startup Camp Sydney, a boot camp for entrepreneurs. It was created within 24 hours.
Daterate.com.au works by collecting anonymous feedback from men or women who go on dates and often don't get their calls, emails or texts returned, said Gabe Hollombe, 29, one of the creators of the site.
Users give their dates a unique number, allowing them to fill out an anonymous feedback form on the site.
Hollombe and his teammates Bryce Summerell, 20, Carlo Del Fabbro, 25, and Helen Hung, 21, created the site under pressure from the Startup Camp Sydney organisers.
Their idea won them "best pitch" from a panel of industry experts and venture capitalists. You can see their pitch here.
Hollombe said Date Rate was "a place to get honest, anonymous feedback about online dating".
"I went on a date and I thought it went pretty well, but then, after a few days, my date wasn't taking my phone calls," he said, speaking from personal experience. "I started to wonder: was it my hair (or lack of it)? Maybe I just talked too much? Or maybe she just didn't feel a spark? The point is: I didn't know."
HOW IT WORKS
Hollombe said that all a man or woman needed to do was to give their date a unique number that they could then use to fill out an anonymous survey form online.
Then, after you've been on a few dates and have received five pieces of feedback, the Date Rate site will randomise and "unlock" the feedback for you to see.
"Date Rate will aggregate them all, anonymise them so I can't figure out who said what, and present them to me," Hollombe said. "So hopefully I can learn what my strengths are and places I can improve on."
He said the site hoped to make money by charging for the unlocking of feedback or by getting targeted advertising.
"So based on the areas I need improvement on, for example, if I got a lot of low ratings in the humour category, maybe I could get a deal for a discounted comedy course," he said.
Incentives to get men or woman to fill out the surveys were being considered, too, such as a free coffee.
Psychologist and chief executive of Relationships Australia NSW, Anne Hollands, said the Date Rate idea was a "cute gimmick".
But she said that she could "see the appeal" in it for some.
"I think probably there is an issue, a more serious issue here of, particularly if you don't get a second date, then people are often left wondering why," she said.
She said we were not very good at giving or receiving feedback.
"And I think there are lot of us out there wandering around dateless or having multiple dates with different people and not really understanding how we're doing at all."
"Obviously some people will use it, some people won't," she said. "But I suppose ... it'd be really nice to think that we could actually develop the communications skills to be able to give each other constructive feedback and respectful feedback more directly rather than anonymously on an online survey," she said.
"It doesn't teach us how to engage on a human-to-human level with each other."
However, Hollombe said that the point was that "sometimes the things we need to hear the most are the things that are hardest for people to say. And Date Rate makes sharing that feedback easy".
"We built Date Rate because we wanted it; it's a service that we wished existed," he said.
A similar site exists at daterate.net.
Sydney Morning Herald