This week, dating website OK Cupid announced that it's launching a new feature called "Flavors" that sorts users into groups based on their interests. According to their site, these "Quickmatch Flavors" are "like playlists of people," which is actually a really confusing way to describe a pretty simple feature.
You could think of this project like playlists of people, which was the developer’s original inspiration. Like we learned from the timeless wisdom of High Fidelity, there’s an art to the mixtape. It needs to be carefully curated and specific based on things you know about someone.
So basically, they're grouping people by hobbies and giving those groups cutesy names. Gym Rats, Beard Lovers, and Cinema Geeks are all pretty easy to figure out. However, "flavors" like Opposite Attractions, Randos, and Incisor Trading are not as clear. Randos?
We executed this idea because we wanted to explore how to reinforce what makes people unique. Personality and opinions matter when it comes to connecting with people. If it didn’t, we’d all be plain old vanilla. And Flavors speaks to that.
OK Cupid is "reinforc[ing] what makes people unique" by…grouping them together? Okay. That's not really how words work, but sure. They have a whole slew of statistics and colorful charts over on their site, so clearly they've done the research. For example, they determined that personality-based flavors, like Kinky Nerds, were more popular with the trial users than things like Best In Show (fashion savvy folks who also own dogs).
Overall, Flavors that spoke to personality traits fared better compared to groups that were curated based on an opinion. For instance, Best In Show (stylish dog owners) performed poorly as owning a dog and being fashionably-savvy doesn’t reveal someone’s characteristics. But personality-rich categories like Kinky Nerds (high on the kinky and nerdy axes) and Hipster Vegans (high on the hipster axis, have specific diet preferences) performed better, as those produced a consistent ‘type’ of person.
Another thing they found was that people do not want to identify as a thing that has a gross name, like a gym "rat."
Another finding was that semantics can make or break a category. For example, one Flavor included athletic gym-goers, which yielded our most attractive group by far. Yet people didn’t respond well to the title ‘Gym Rats.’ And that makes total sense, because rats are nasty. On the other hand, people responded well to Flavors with sexier titles, like Kinky Nerds and Hardcore Cuddlers.
Well, that explains why Ugly Losers Who Love Garbage didn't make the flavor cut.