Brand Confusion.

Okcupid is a testing site used mostly by myspace and social networking users and they recently tried to “rebrand” themselves as a dating site.   According to the latest press release and discussions one would think the site is a growing dating site.

I’ve looked into personality testing, and from what i’ve heard from sites using it,  if tests are not part of the signup process less then 10% of daters are willing to use it.    Okcupid claims that 200 million questions have been answered but they don’t say those where “daters” or even members.

I wanted to see if there is something i’m missing.  On the top all time tests for okcupid the following tests are shown.   I’m not exactly sure how grammar tests allow people to meet their perfect match.

1.  Would you like to see my boobs    214,406 takers 10 questions  = 2,144,060 questions answered
     “The Am I Gay? Test” 210826 takers 25 questions =5,270,650 questions answered
     “The Tits, Ass, and Cuteness Test” 492057 takers 18 questions =8,857,026 questions answered
     “The Personality Defect Test” 664101 takers  28 questions = 18,594,828 questions answered
    “The Commonly Confused Words Test” 676672 takers 40 questions  27,066,880 questions answered
    “The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test ”  540326 takers 60 questions  32,419,560 questions answered
    “The 3 Variable Funny Test”  533540 takers 23 questions  12,271,420 questions answered

2.  My next step was to check out technorati and see what users post.    There is nearly a post a minute and it seems like a lot of users under the age of 18 are taking these tests.   You don’t need to signup to take a test so that would explain it.  I went through a few hundred posts and I couldn’t find a single instance of where someone talked about using okcupid as a dating site or even being a member.  They just used the site to take tests.

Over all I just don’t get okcupid,  says everyone on the site is pretty much 18-24 which is not the traditional Dating market.   Although okcupid claims they are the biggest free site,  no ranking system shows them having any meaningful marketshare.    Right now its a massive  testing site for the under 25 crowd using social networks  with a dating component.    As I said before traditional sites who’ve tried adding tests only saw a sub 10% uptake rate,  I can’t see that  being any different with okcupid.   To me it seems like 2 seperate sites that attract totally different users are trying to be merged into one.  It makes me think emode  version 2.

The other players like matchdoctor and justsayhi etc  have a far more straight forward business and target the mainstream.  The sites are clear and consistent in what the main purpose of the site is.  I see them having a bigger impact over the long term for that reason.

7 Responses to “Brand Confusion.”

  1. Sam Says:

    Hey Markus –

    I’m sorry to see that you’ve resorted to these kinds of posts. I usually find your comments quite intelligent.

    In this case, you clearly don’t have a good understanding of the subject on which your writing. Our match questions and our personality tests are completely unrelated. Yes, the commonly confused words test has nothing to do with compatibility, nor did we ever suggest it did.

    The arithmetic you did was completely off base. The 200,000,000 number refers to the number of match questions, not personality test questions that have been submitted.

    Also, I’m shocked that you’re alleging we’ve rebranded as a dating site. GIven that we started with the name OkCupid from the day we launched, it’s hard to argue that we were ever anything other than a dating site.

  2. Markus Says:

    My main point is you have 2 seperate sites like emode did. You also have the exact same problem.

    You ask 100 random people what okcupid is and judging from technorati they will say its a test/quizz site. Emode then went and created a seperate domain for their dating site to try and allow their dating site to grow because the quizz brand was over powering.

    The public creates the brand not the company. I still maintain you are trying to rebrand what the public sees okcupid as. Why not launch the tests as ?

  3. vanchau Says:

    I think Markus’ analysis is spot on. We came to the same conclusion in our research. We looked at all the competitors in the dating space and categorized them. There are the incumbents (like Match, eHarmony) that we think are ripe for a disruptor competitor. There are the pay churn n’ burn sites (, There are the free dating wannabees that won’t get any traction ever. There are also the anomalies that have some dating behavior but will never really become a dominant player (Craigslist, HotOrNot, OKCupid).

    I think Markus is right. People know OKCupid for quiz taking because that is how they most likely discovered it (via some test results). First impressions are lasting and that’s where positioning in the consumer’s mind starts.

    OKCupid is in a weird position. It could be the next Tickle, but it’s name doesn’t create clarity in that space either. It is kinda stuck in between two worlds and as those worlds get bigger, it gets squeezed in the middle.

    We are very careful about what to do add or NOT to add to for this very reason. We want to avoid building a feature, having it adopted massively, only to regret its impact on our site.

  4. Andy Arnott Says:


    I came up with the same conclusion in my “2007 State of the date” address for ok cupid. (

    Sam, you have a great site but to really compete in the dating market you need to have a little more focus. Take a peek at the above post. But hey, you have 6 million in investment and I don’t, so what do I know🙂

  5. Neil Says:

    this is a very interesting analysis Markus. But OKCupid have, in my mind, managed to meld viral marketing with dating, which is something that frankly no one else has managed to do yet.

    Also, you say that okcupid is a bit of mish mash of concepts, but I’ll bet you that a large percentage of PoF users aren’t on your site thinking “must find a date”, they are probably there just relaxing, chatting, chilling out. Not everyone has a fixed idea of a dating site, especially when its free. For example, how many of the PoF forums are non-dating related?

    So everyone knows that OK cupid isn’t the biggest player in the game and really when Sam claims to be the biggest I think he looks a bit silly, but at the same time, saying that it isn’t a dating site is like opening a debate as to what is a dating site. Ultimately, if you say you are a dating site, and you tell your users you are a dating site, then you are one surely?

  6. wailin Says:

    As a testament to OKCupid, I met a great friend with benefits on there.. not dating, but still you know.

    My opinion on Plenty of Fish? (Yes, I am registered there) Undecided. I suppose I lean more toward negative, because I don’t really find many women to talk to on there, but that’s not the site’s fault. That’s the fact few women in my area are using it, and the ones that are mostly aren’t my type.

    Was interesting finding this blog though. Good luck.

  7. PlentyofFish Is Now | Free Dating PortalFree Dating Portal Says:

    […] Two months ago Markus said: […]

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