OkCupid May Be the First to Win Internationally

File under — why didn’t anyone else think of that?

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Nope, it’s not news that dating apps are available internationally. Just ask anyone who has touched down in Europe for a solo adventure and used Tinder to find a sightseeing buddy. But OkCupid is maintaining their impressive track record of evolving with modern trends by adapting their American approach to markets as far as the Middle East. Rather than just making the app available (which, albeit, it has been for a while now), they are changing their matchmaking approach to fit cultural trends and customs.

Though it seems like a no-brainer, there has yet to be a dating algorithm that molds to whatever region of the planet it’s operating in. So, how are they doing it? By tailoring those iconic OKC questions to speak to what’s happening in politics and current affairs. While these are always optional, the more you answer, the better match you’ll receive.

Take for example, India, with an OkCupid user base that grew to 1.4 million in three months since it launched in September. They asked whether women should work after marriage, how many days a wedding celebration should last, and if paneer on pizza was good or not. While these questions probably wouldn’t make sense in a Western market, where relationships are rarely arranged by parents, in India, where younger generations are fighting for their romantic freedom, OkCupid strikes a chord. 

Looking ahead, they’re planning to test this same approach in Israel, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and perhaps the United Kingdom (especially given Brexit news), according to the CEO of OkCupid, Ariel Charytan, in an interview with Yahoo Finance. 

Their reasoning wasn’t purely based on activity, since Charytan shared many users in these countries were using OkCupid, but with American questions like ‘Trump or Clinton’, and other USA-based info. 

“But the point was they were signifying a desire to find vectors of compatibility that would apply to them in their culture, which made us rapidly say, ‘Okay, what if we changed all the questions and all the onboarding, all the compatibility parameters and things that are inherently Turkish?’ Charytan shared with Yahoo Finance. “Like attitude toward Ramadan, praying five times a day, hookah bars, Turkish traditional foods … things that are fundamental to a relationship, having the potential for success, versus things that just make the conversation easier to start.” 

Though the trial in India proved to be worthwhile, OkCupid says they’re prepared for backlash and a long road ahead, since ideologies surrounding online dating are still changing. Much how America was a decade or two ago, associate professor of psychology at the Özyeğin University in Turkey shared most singles aged 18 to 50 shy away from digital swiping since users are perceived as emotionally and sexually desperate. It may be a challenge but also an opportunity:

“One of the things that I think we are most excited about is being a positive force in the world. It’s easy for many in the West to kind of take for granted where things have evolved in terms of people having choice in their future, in their mate, in their partner,” Charytan shared with Yahoo Finance. “We can be … a force for the individual to help them find the right person that they can have a positive life with.”

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