It seemed obvious that dating site users should be able to easily communicate the accuracy of each other’s online profiles, and to warn each other about people who were potentially threatening. Then it occurred to them: Why didn’t they just create the solution themselves?
And the idea for Flutterate, a downloadable extension designed to increase accountability in online dating, was born.
It all started when a bunch of co-workers, all employees of ADS Sports Eyewear, as they sat around discussing the perils on online dating. Everyone in the room happened to be single, and everyone had a horror story.
Some complained about meeting up with a prospective mate who looked nothing like their profile picture or who was several years older than the age on their profile page. Some of the ladies recounted times they found themselves on dates with predatory men or guys who were already married.
One employee had a friend who showed up for a date and found the man she’d agreed to meet was not only much older than he’d indicated online but already drunk. When she voiced her dissatisfaction, he stormed off, leaving her with his $70 bar tab.
There had to be a way to make dating more efficient for the singles involved, the ADS employees reasoned.
How it works
First, download Flutterate through Google Chrome.
Dating site user’s can then rate their dates on Flutterate using a scale of 1 to 99, with 99 meaning the person’s profile is very accurate.
Each person’s FlutteRating appears on their Match.com, Plenty of Fish, or e-Harmony profile. Potential daters can click on a profile’s rating to find out more information. Flutterate allows dating site users to rate other users on a scale of 1 to 99, with 99 meaning the person’s profile is accurate.
The scores are chiefly determined through a survey, answered by singles who have met with or interacted with that person. The questions are straightforward, focusing on whether the person has accurately presented his or her age, appearance, and current marital status.
In short, Flutterate is kind of like a Yelp for potential lovers.
“Singles are the majority of the adult population, and most single people are working, so it’s difficult to find time to go out and pursue an adequate partner,” said Dave DuMais, founder of Richardson-based Flutterate. “Dating online certainly increases the number of single people you have access to, and we felt that making profiles more accurate would make that time invested in looking for a partner a lot more efficient and a lot safer.”
Not as easy as it sounded
Flutterate’s development didn’t always go smoothly. The group of ADS Eyewear employees came up with the idea more than two years ago, but the Austin-based company they hired to develop the extension kept running into trouble and wasted almost a year and a half, with little to no progress.
Since Flutterate functions with dating websites, the coding was fairly complex.
DuMais had hired a 20-year-old coder named Gary Mathis to fix some things on the ADS Eyewear site, and was impressed when the tasks that DuMais assumed would take a month only took Mathis a day.
Mathis “lives and breathes computer code,” DuMais said.
Soon Mathis had tackled and completed the Flutterate project. In December 2015, Flutterate launched for the first time.
It’s been well-received and quickly grown to a few thousand users, according to DuMais, who told Dallas Innovates that he hopes it will soon gain approval for download in the Apple store.
Advice for users
The best advice to avoid a bad FlutterRating is, to be honest, and, as DuMais puts it, “don’t be a jerk.”
But if you mess up, you won’t be banished from online dating forever — there’s always the opportunity for redemption.
For example, if the people you’ve dated complain that you lied about your age on your profile, and you update it, you might be able to reverse your bad rating.
Essentially, it’s an incentive for people to become more honest about their profiles, and who they present themselves as online. There are also safeties in place to ward off vindictive ratings. Comments left on Flutterate profiles are very closely monitored, and the owner of the profile can choose to respond.
There are also safeties in place to ward off vindictive ratings. Comments left on Flutterate profiles are very closely monitored, and the owner of the profile can choose to respond.
All ratings and comments are anonymous. Reviewing human beings, as opposed to restaurants or laundromats, is a delicate business, and DuMais stresses that Flutterate is not intended to be a gripe site.
“The ability for singles to share information is something we should have been able to do a long time ago,” DuMais says. “Hopefully, the ripple effect is that now dating will be a little easier for everyone in the dating pool.”
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