The OkCupid homepage on April 3, 2014
|Type of site||Online dating service, Social network service|
|Registration||Required for membership|
|Created by||Chris Coyne, Sam Yagan, Christian Rudder and Max Krohn|
|Launched||March 5, 2004|
|Alexa rank||420 (April 2014[update])|
OkCupid is a free friendship, dating and social networking website that features member-created quizzes and multiple-choice questions. The site supports multiple modes of communication, including instant messages and emails. OkCupid was listed in Time magazine's 2007 "Top 10" dating websites.[dead link] The website is part of the "Match Developing" unit of IAC/InterActiveCorp's Match division.
OkCupid was owned by Humor Rainbow, Inc. OkCupid’s founders (Chris Coyne, Christian Rudder, Sam Yagan, and Max Krohn) were students at Harvard University when they gained recognition for their creation of TheSpark and, later, SparkNotes. Among other things, TheSpark.com featured a number of humorous self-quizzes and personality tests, including the four-variable Myers-Briggs style Match Test. SparkMatch debuted as a beta experiment of allowing registered users who had taken the Match Test to search for and contact each other based on their Match Test types. The popularity of SparkMatch took off and it was launched as its own site, later renamed OkCupid. The current OkCupid Dating Persona Test is still largely identical, in question and text blurb content and order, to the original Match Test. In 2001, they sold SparkNotes to Barnes & Noble, and began work on OkCupid.
Since August 2009, an "A-list" account option is available to users of OkCupid and provides additional services for a monthly fee.
In February 2011, OkCupid was acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp, operators of Match.com, for US$50 million. Editorial posts from 2010 by an OkCupid founder—Match.com and pay-dating were criticized for exploiting users and being "fundamentally broken"—were removed from the OkCupid blog at the time of the acquisition. In a press response, OkCupid's CEO explained that the removal was voluntary.
On March 31, 2014 any user accessing OKCupid from Firefox was presented with a message asking users to boycott the internet browser due to new CEO Brendan Eich's support of Proposition 8. Users were asked instead to consider other browsers; on April 2, 2014, the dating site revoked the Firefox ban.
Rudder updated the "OkTrends" blog, which consists of "original research and insights from OkCupid," for the first time in three years in July 2014. Entitled "We Experiment On Human Beings!," the post discusses three experiments run by the website without the knowledge of users. Rudder prefaces the experiment results by stating: "... if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work."
OkCupid claimed 3.5 million active users as of September 2010. According to Compete.com, the website attracted 1.3 million unique visitors in February 2011.
The site used to have a highly active journal/blogging community as well. Journals are not available to new members and the feature is now "retired." Members have the option of saving favorite user profiles, which display the favorited person's responses to questions and profile updates on the member's front page.
Any adult may join the site and all users may communicate with others via private messages or an instant messaging "chat" function. A-List (paying) members see no advertising and have more filtering options and preferential placement in an "A-List Matches" section of search results. A-list members can also browse openly while choosing whether or not their profile is displayed to those they visited.
OkTrends, the official blog of OkCupid, presents statistical observations from OkCupid user interactions, to explore data from the online dating world.
To generate matches, OkCupid applies data generated by users' activities on the site, as well as their answers to questions. When answering a question, a user indicates his or her own answer, the answers he or she would accept from partners, and the level of importance he or she places on the question. The results of these questions can be made public. OkCupid describes in detail the algorithm used to calculate match percentages. The site notifies a user if someone rates them 4 or 5 stars.
Attractiveness and match results
Users who receive high ratings may be notified by email that they are in the "top half of OkCupid's most attractive users" and "will now see more attractive people in [their] match results". The email also reads "And, no, we didn't just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see".
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (July 2014)|
OkCupid bestows "Flagmod" (volunteer user content voter) privileges to a select group of site users, apparently selecting individuals who have used the various features of the site extensively and who have a low incidence of user-complaints. (OkCupid does not publicize their precise selection criteria for obvious reasons - otherwise it would be trivial to 'game' the selection process.) "Flagmodding" is entirely voluntary. When a user has this privilege a "Moderation" link appears at the top of the site pages, and Flagmodders are given the ability to vote on content that has been reported by other users as violating site policies, as to whether it actually is a violation. Some have complained of the privacy implications of this, especially in regards to the previous Flagmod regime where Flagmodders could vote on textual discourse between users. In fact, Flagmod has changed substantially in recent years and some commonly claimed allegations were untrue, see below. (N.B.: The article linked in the footnote contains unrelated anecdotes from an OkCupid Flagmodder who once worked on an unrelated-to-OkCupid "abuse team" that, without careful reading, might imply that OkCupid Flagmodders have more power and privileges than they actually do.) 
In reality, "Flagmodders" are not moderators in any conventional sense of the word, as they have no individual control over content, and can only input one anonymous vote into a system that typically requires anywhere from dozens to hundreds of votes to affect the status of a "flag". (All items in the moderation queue are placed there as a result of a user "flagging" the content as a violation of site rules. Flagmodders cannot vote on flags submitted by themselves.) Contrary to the assertions of some, flagmodders have never had access to private users' accounts outside of flagged content, and as of 2014 are not able to read any conversations between users. (In fact, in early 2013, OkCupid removed all content from the Flagmod system other than user profile photographs visible to all users. Prior to this, if a user reported a communication as a site policy violation - ie threats or sexual harassment via email etc - only the user-reported text was visible in the Flagmod system for the purpose of voting on whether it actually appeared to violate site policies.)
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