Facebook’s Missed Matchmaking Opportunity

In yet another example of how Facebook has completely missed the boat with matchmaking, a new add-on app has appeared called “You Should Totally Meet” providing users with the ability to introduce friends on the network.

In my experience as a long time user, Facebook has been incredibly successful because:

  • They use email to keep users returning
  • Use of real names and photo is encouraged
  • Good features for interacting with all friends online
  • For some, it’s seen as a safe haven from an ever growing “noisy” Internet

But it has always amused me, despite Mark Zuckerberg’s apparent genesis with a reportedly controversial site at Harvard from years ago designed to rate sexual partners, that Facebook has never been a very good matchmaking platform.

In the meantime, other networks such as RSVP, Adult Match Maker, Ashley Madison and others appear to have flourished in what appears to be a very lucrative online industry.

There seems to have been an intention somewhere in the early design of Facebook to implement matchmaking evidenced by fields like “Interested in”, but these seem to be unused by most. Is this because the users that get the most value from Facebook aren’t all single and dateless? Or is it because people using their real names are less inclined to reveal such details? There’s a whole thesis right there.

Whatever the case, Facebook seems to be playing catchup with a platform that still does not encourage much interaction with complete strangers. It seems that their announced “Graph Search” is aimed at bringing down some of those walls, but in my opinion it probably won’t be enough.

In terms of revenue potential for Facebook, imagine the trust they would have if they did work out a paid model for matchmaking desperate and single users; they’d make a fortune. Instead they continue monetizing based on ageing advertising models, jamming whatever they can into people’s news feeds.

So until they work it out, it’s up to others like “You Should Totally Meet“, and “Bang with Friends” and others. Or maybe the exit strategy for these startups is to be acquired by Facebook? Time will tell.

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