Innovation That Matters

Online dating, Facebook-style

Work & Lifestyle

There are ever more fish in the sea of online dating, but still not everyone is willing to take the plunge. Concerns over safety and privacy, as well as a lingering stigma associated with dating services, mean that plenty of potential soulmates continue to float untethered. Now, Thread aims to reel those consumers in by tapping into the trust shared among Facebook friends. Launched in September, Thread prides itself on saving users from the long questionnaires and registration processes of other dating sites. Rather, because the free service is based on Facebook Connect, users begin by simply logging in to their Facebook account and answering a few quick questions including their gender, city and relationship status. Once connected, they can easily browse a list of their “friends of friends,” or second-degree Facebook connections, sortable by gender and relationship status. If they see someone who looks promising, they can ask a mutual friend for an introduction or simply send that person a Facebook message. Alternatively, Thread lets users play matchmaker by forwarding promising profiles to their single friends. In the interests of privacy, Thread stresses that nothing users do on the site will be published to Facebook unless they specifically request it. Now in beta, Thread is the brain child of California-based SofaLabs, which raised USD 1.2 million in startup capital through Facebook’s own fbFund incubator program. The site isn’t yet wearing its revenue model on its sleeve, but possibilities include charging users to find out who has viewed their profile or to send virtual gifts, according to VatorNews. Given how many aspects of life have already benefited from the addition of social networking capabilities—from ride-sharing to real estate—there’s little doubt dating should be among them. Facebook’s 350 million or so users, meanwhile, make it the perfect match for such applications. Time to think about how your business can leverage the massive but globally interconnected ranks of Facebook friends…? (Related: Dating via TwitterOnline speed datingDating cardsDNA-driven datingGroup dating.) Spotted by: Susan Johnston


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