OKCupid’s users are angry – very, very angry. Just ahead of the new year, the company made a radical change to its policies, and now requires people to use real names instead of an OKCupid username, as before. The change eliminates one of the biggest differentiators between the dating app and rivals like Tinder and Bumble, which have users log in via Facebook in order to use their real name on their dating profile.
Since the update, announced last week, OKCupid’s app has been slammed with bad reviews on the App Store. Over half the reviews (56.3%) for the month of December have only one star – up from around a third in November. That would give the app a dismal 2.2 star rating if only the reviews for the past month were on display in the App Store. (Apple, though, now lets developers choose to not have their ratings resetwhen they launch a new version; OKC has selected this option to maintain its 4.2 star rating instead.)
The company explained the reasoning behind the change in a cheeky blog post which made fun of the silly usernames people have adopted on its site over the years, like DoritoprincessXO, DaddyzPrincess29, StayingPawwsitive, Dootdootledootd0, Britney__Tears, laidback___stu, BigDaddyFlash916, and unicorn__jizz, for example. (OKC said these were, in fact, real usernames people had used on its service, but were edited slightly to protect people’s privacy.)
It also tied the switch to the end of an era for usernames – noting that AIM recently shut down for good. The suggestion, basically, was that maybe the time for goofy online handles has ended as well.
These aren’t good enough explanations for many of OKCupid’s users, and frankly, they’re a bit dismissive as to why people chose OKC in the first place.
As some reviewers have pointed out, the combination of the real name policy and OKC’s push into discovery via features that aims to find nearby matches by shared interests – could mean less privacy for its users.
After all, armed with a name, age, photo, and city, it’s fairly trivial these days to search for the person in question via Google or Facebook and find out who they are, where they work, and where they live. That’s not information all dating app users want to immediately give out to people who are otherwise strangers.