Traditionally, dating sites like eHarmony and OkCupid follow the same format. You input your info, browse through all the thumbnails accompanied by A/S/L, and send out a barrage of flirty messages. Then you wait. Maybe you’re hit with some match-type options, but for the most part it’s a lot of browsing/messaging. But a new crop of online dating services have found interesting ways to approach the space, not least of all MiniDates – Time2Meet.
MiniDates joins Cheek’d and Coffee Meets Bagel in pushing a real-life connection much harder than a virtual one, by simply scheduling dates (or MiniDates) for you based on your schedule and suitor preferences. No messaging, no browsing, just a real-life blind date at a neutral, public location.
What’s interesting is that if your friends set you up on a blind date, you’d likely have more information on the person than you would by using MiniDates. At least in real life you can look them up on Facebook and Twitter, and do a little investigative research. On MiniDates, the date is as blind as can be, with the exception of seeing a profile picture and an age.
So, once you sign up with all the basic dating site info you’d usually give (along with your availability for dates), the process changes a bit for men and women. Now, I can’t decide whether I consider this safe or sexist, but date options are always sent to women first. This means that an email will be sent to a new user who is female with a match, both in schedule and preferences, and it’s her prerogative whether or not she accepts.
Subsequently, men are notified that this or that lady has accepted a date with them. Men can’t see anything about the women until the date has been accepted, and no one will be able to connect with anyone until they’re found in real life, wearing a yellow rain coat and holding a white rose on the steps of the Manhattan Public Library… or wherever.
Messaging, or what MiniDates refers to as Blind Messaging, will be available soon, but for the time being you’ll go into these MiniDates totally blind.
Then, after the date, you’re asked to rank your potential suitor. There are three categories to consider: timeliness, respectfulness, and whether or not the person matched up to their self-description online. Anyone who gets ranked negatively in all three categories gets the boot from the service, so it’s suggested that we all play nice.
There are over 3,000 users currently on the service, which is New York City-only at the moment, and now that the site has launched out of beta, more users will be let onto the platform.
MiniDates is an HTML5 app, meaning it will work across multiple platforms and devices. In fact, the only incompatible platform is Internet Explorer. If you want to play, head to MiniDates.com and get yourself started.