Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

January 15, 2013

OKCupid releases app for 'Crazy Blind Dates'

Late one night in 2002, Sam Yagan got a call from a former Harvard buddy with an idea for their next big company. What if they made a website with a button you could press to set up a blind date?

Yagan told him to call back when he was sober, but continued to think about it. To set up people on random dates successfully, you would need an enormous database of users and their preferences. You also would need a system that could pick a place to meet that was close to both people.

Yagan and that friend, Chris Coyne, didn't develop the idea. Later that year, they joined with others to create OKCupid, a free dating site that matches users through mathematical algorithms based on answers to questions about their tastes. As OKCupid expanded its active user base to 3.8 million, becoming one of the most popular dating sites for young singles, Coyne's original idea continued to percolate.

On Tuesday he's finally getting his wish, with the debut of OKCupid's Crazy Blind Date application. The free app for iPhones and Android phones is intended to eliminate the effort it takes to set up a date. If you're free for an hour at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday, you can fill the slot with a date. You select a local bar or coffee shop to meet from the app's recommendations, then choose among four people the company's algorithm has suggested who are also free at that time.

The dates are not totally blind — you can see names, ages and faces — but the photos have been scrambled. You meet, and afterward the app asks how it went. The better it was, the more you pay, from nothing up to $3.

"If it were a perfect world, I would charge by success," said Yagan, 36, who has been married for nine years. "If you could start a dating site where you just got paid for marriage or sex, that'd be pretty cool. This is the closest we can come."

Text Only
CNHI/Southeast Iowa
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Volksweg.jpg New Section of Volksweg Trail Now Open

    The 1.25 mile newly constructed section of the paved Volksweg Trail between Fifield Recreation Area and the new Robert's Creek Trailhead has been opened.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Mahaska Jazz North Mahaska Jazz Band are Class 1A state jazz champions

    The title is the fourth in the past six years for North Mahaska's jazz juggernaut.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

Obituaries
  • Ronald Allen Ronald Allen, 47, of Waterloo, formerly of Unionville, Iowa, died Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo. Private services will be held at the Unionville Cemetery in Unionville, Iowa. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been e

    April 22, 2014

  • Kenneth 'Marty' Mattly
  • Ronald Allen
  • Dean Hall
  • Frances Lisac
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about rental permit fees. The Centerville City Council has conducted two working sessions and a third one is planned in order to get a feel for the public's appetite about raising rental permit fees from charging a landlord $25 every two years to charging a certain amount per rental unit per year. So, the question of the week is, "Are you in favor of Centerville increasing rental permit fees?"

A. I'm in favor.
B. I'm not in favor.
C. I'm not sure.
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook