Sunlit Water

June 27, 2007


Filed under: Dating — by teofilo @ 12:53 am

So I’ve been using both Nerve and OkCupid for a few days now, and I thought I’d jot down some impressions.  One thing that’s nice about this kind of profile-based site, I’ve found, is that it takes some of the pressure off of writing a message compared to something like Craigslist where there’s nothing to refer someone to for more information.  Responding to a Craigslist ad involves a lot of worrying about how much information to include and what will and won’t improve your chances of a reply, which is partially why I haven’t done it, but on a profile site you can just assume they’ll look at your profile if they’re interested enough in your message.  So that’s an advantage of both Nerve and OkCupid.

There are some disadvantages shared by both sites as well, such as ugly, unintuitive site layout.  It took me ages to figure out how to do some basic things on both sites.  Once you learn how to do things, of course, neither is all that difficult, but it takes more time than is really optimal to get to that point.

On to the differences.  Nerve has better questions, by far; OkCupid’s are very broad and vague, and it’s difficult to answer them in interesting ways.  Not that Nerve’s are all that easy to answer, but at least they focus a little more specifically on things that are likely prompt answers that illuminate something meaningful about the person in question.    Nerve also lets you see who’s been viewing your profile, which is a really helpful feature that OkCupid doesn’t seem to have.  Aside from that, though, Nerve doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of advantages.

OkCupid’s main advantage over Nerve is that it’s free; while it’s possible to sign up for Nerve for free and even contact a certain number of people using the “points” you get for doing things like uploading pictures, they really push you to sign up for the paying memberships, which gets a little irritating (and, as OkCupid points out in their literature, suggests that their interests aren’t really aligned with yours).  The ability to contact as many people as you want for free makes OkCupid a less stressful place to hang out, and I’ve been spending more time there than on Nerve since I’ve signed up for both.  They also have more stuff to do.  The main way they match people up is through an algorithm based on a series of questions you answer (the more questions you answer, the more accurate the matches are supposed to be) , and it’s kind of fun to answer the questions.  There are also a bunch of tests you can take, some designed by OkCupid and some by members of the site, that provide a fairly interesting way to waste some time.

The user bases of the two sites are pretty different overall, but in my case this doesn’t really matter, as the dating pool in New Mexico is so small that there’s significant overlap.  I’ve seen several people on both sites.  There are some strange quirks to the demographics; while Nerve has a fairly representative geographic sample (a lot of people from Albuquerque and a few from other parts of the state), OkCupid has a hugely disproportionate number of people from Santa Fe.  I’m not really sure what that’s all about.  All these impressions are just from looking at single heterosexual women aged 18-24, of course, so the overall demographics may be different.

On a related note, you know what’s quite possibly even more difficult than writing a profile for one of these sites?  Writing a message to someone on them.


1 Comment »

  1. I’m currently doing all the things people have been advising you not to do – putting off looking for someone, not using any online services – but based on your experiences I might give OkCupid a try. Someday.

    Comment by eb — June 27, 2007 @ 3:27 am |Reply

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