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    How Shady Is OkCupid's New Blind Dating App?

    Written by

    Adam Clark Estes

    The world of online dating has been pushing boundaries for years now. First, it was invented. That seemed like a radical thing back in the 1990s, and people didn't trust online personals much more than the old Lovelines ads in the back of the local newspaper. But over time people got used to the idea, and Match.com and eHarmony became multimillion dollar successes. Then came OkCupid, a site for the youngs, and boy did it stir the pot with its ultra data-driven approach to dating.

    The company's taking it a step further with the release of a new app called Crazy Blind Date. It's a pretty simple idea. You download the app for free and set up a simple profile that includes only your name, age, sexual orientation, favorite meeting spots, and a photograph (which the app scrambles). To set up a date, all you have to do is suggest a few different times that you're available. The app finds matches that are free during the same time and invites you both to meet up for a blind date. What comes next, we can only imagine, is crazy. 

    Does this sound shady to anybody else? Meeting up with a complete stranger, possibly (probably?) for sex, is a dangerous proposition, and there's a growing history of grisly homicides carried out by killers who found their victims online. This fear popped up frequently in the early days of online dating, but in recent years, it has largely been assuaged by the millions of people who meet through dating sites and do not kill each other.

    And yet as history has shown, people take advantage of anonymity online in troubling ways, and it's hard to imagine a service more anonymous than what we know of the Crazy Blind Date app. The OkCupid crew has made an effort to make Crazy Blind Date safer, though, by only allowing dates to take place at venues listed on FourSquare to discourage people from inviting blind dates over to their houses. (Pro tip: It's not very hard to list your house as a venue on FourSquare.)

    The strangers-with-candy issue isn't really what sounds unappealing about Crazy Blind Date, though. Like regular blind dates, it honestly just sounds like a waste of time. Which is ironic because OkCupid's founders said that the reason they built the app was to help people save time trying to find a date. The fact of the matter is that it takes time to weed out the weirdos on online dating sites, and most people would rather do that in the comfort of their own homes than in a public space where they have to sit across the table from someone they know nothing about. Knowing less about those people doesn't make it any easier to like them. But it certainly makes it easier to fear them.

    Image via Flickr