Ever been dumped without explanation?
A new dating app, WotWentWrong, launched on January 24 by Melbourne woman Audrey Melnik, might help shed some light.
The 35-year-old, who has built online businesses for clients including the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the Yellow Pages, designed the app to address a classic dilemma: "Why doesn't he or she call?"
"People who thought the first date was awesome or saw no signs anything was wrong with the relationship can end up blaming themselves," the WotWentWrong press release says. "It can cause lasting damage to someone's self-esteem and future relationships. Closure can be hard to find on your own."
Here's how WotWentWrong tries to help. The website sends the dumped party's request for insight to the "dumper" via email or text message. Pre-set categories addressing why the dumper mysteriously vanished make answering easier.
Listed reasons include: "You text instead of calling", "You are selfish" and "You don't pay for dinner when we go out." Dumpers happy to ad-lib a little can do so in a separate space in the feedback form.
All dumper feedback is meant to be balanced. So, the form has room for the dumper to describe the victim's attractive traits. A kind dumper might, for instance, say: "You are positive." "You are insightful." "You have a great body."
The dumper can also give constructive advice about how to be more charming, have better "dating Zen", as the press release puts it, in future. For example, the dumper might highlight how the "dumpee" moved too quickly, appearing overeager.
Why would a dumper bother explaining? One enticement is the promise of survey results to questions about how attractive the dumpee found the dumper as a kisser, dresser and conversationalist among other things.
Another enticement is a teasing statement such as: "I realise I was wrong about something we discussed on our date - do you know what I'm talking about?"
A dumper finds out through co-operating - giving the feedback that the dumpee needs to move on.
The service is pitched as better than a self-help book or advice column because it keys into users' dating history. WotWentWrong brings to mind another, wildly popular dating app - Facebook-based Breakup Notifier - only WotWentWrong is more complicated.
Before WotWentWrong, founder Melnik lived in New York City. There, she says, she was part of the Sex and the City-style dating scene and the city's humming tech community.
She credits New York City as the spark for WotWentWrong, which stems from the insight that the web's non-confrontational flexibility could be applied to coax former dating partners into disclosure.
Melnik's personal spur is the memory of a first-date that led to a suitor initiating drinks and dinner then inviting her up to his place for a goodnight kiss. After, he vanished, to Melnik's bafflement.
Why the invite to his place if he was not interested? She wondered if the problem was her or him.
Either way, she knew no socially acceptable way of finding out. Calling and asking for an explanation would make her resemble a stalker. An email could get forwarded and turn her into a joke.
So, Melnik - a scholarship holder of a Monash University business degree - decided to devise a webby way for everyone to learn the truth without looking "stalkery". She duly bootstrapped the business on the back of her own money.
The break-up app is free for now. But, through it, Melnik plans to sell products that reflect user traits. For example, if someone is told that they tend to be tardy, WotWentWrong will present the book Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, Melnik says.
Her biggest hurdle has been finding the right creative input. The current website design is the third iteration from the third designer. The previous designs looked wrong.
"When you have a new website, you can have the most fantastic functionality, but if it doesn't look good, people won't want to use it," she says.
"I learned that, sometimes, you have to come to terms with the fact that you made a wrong hire and the money you invested is a sunk cost," she adds. "And you will need to spend that money all over again - and maybe more - to get the result you want."
- Sydney Morning Herald