Introducing On For Friday
On For Friday is not your typical online dating site.
There are no long profiles to fill in, no matchmaking algorithms, and no hot-or-not games.
We threw away the old search-filter-message routine and exchanged it with posting, browsing and commenting.
On For Friday is a social network made for people who want to start a relationship.
Imagine a site that works just like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter - except the people on the site live in your area and are interested in starting a relationship.
Your experience at On For Friday is all about sharing content that describes who you are, reading about content that is interesting to you, and commenting on topics that you like to talk about. All the while, the site is full of people in your area who want to go on a date.
Now, your profile is a stream of posts that you’ve shared with the community.
You can share a post in a variety of different topics, like Local Food & Drink, Vacations, Pets, Fitness & Healthy Living, TV Shows, Music, and more. By looking at your profile, members can get an idea about the things you’re interested in.
When you’re looking at someone else’s profile, you can see the array of posts that they’ve shared, and get a better idea of the things they like to talk about. If you see a post that’s interesting to you, you can write a comment on the post and start a conversation with the author about that topic.
Furthermore, we share posts that are meant to spark social conversations. We ask questions about trending topics, favorite local spots, favorite recipes, music playlists, and more. Nothing too heavy - just a little social content to get the conversation started.
That’s just the beginning. We are really excited to show you all the different ways we are creating a better online dating experience.
Our mission is to give you more ways to describe yourself, and better ways to learn about new people. Our mission is to give you a better online dating site.
A Note From The Founder
People ask me all the time, “why the hell are you building an online dating site? Aren’t there thousands of them out there already?”
And every time, my answer is the same:
Because there has got to be a better way to meet someone new.
With all the technology that’s out there, I do not believe swiping left or right, answering personality tests and searching through selfies can really help people start a meaningful relationship.
There’s just got to be a better way.
Though building On For Friday has been a long and winding adventure, realizing the need for a better dating service was a quick and powerful discovery. And honestly, a bit personal.
I had moved to Philadelphia in 2011 for graduate school, and while I had a great group of friends, I was really looking to start a relationship.
So, I joined some dating sites, filled out my profile, and starting looking for the type of artsy, quirky, motivated woman I thought I’d be interested in.
On OKCupid, I noticed that the site started designating me an “enemy” of some people. I did not like that. Sure, we may not like the same kind of music, or she may be a night owl while I’m up before dawn - but enemies? No Way. I don’t make enemies!
On Match, I started getting all sorts of emails from women that “really wanted to meet me!” So I’d go to the site, but then I’d be prompted to fork over some cash if I wanted to read their messages. I did not like that. I certainly wouldn’t have minded paying for a service - especially if it was going to introduce me to someone great - but it felt like GOTCHA! tactics, and I honestly felt a little slighted by that. Like, do you really think I’m that dumb?
When I did go on dates, I felt it was hard to get a conversation going with many of the women because there was such little material to go off of. We either didn’t have that much in common (other than preferring to use chopsticks, not having a TV in our bedroom, and being a morning person ← actual personality test questions that made us “matches” on the site … ) - or, we just weren’t romantically compatible. Fun dates, for sure, but altogether not the kind of connection I was looking for.
So I started to do some research, and I found that I was not alone.
Maybe you’ve had similar experiences?
Around this time, Facebook was even bigger than before, Instagram was about to acquired by Facebook for $1BN, and Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit each had more users than the top 5 dating sites combined.
So I asked - How come these dating sites don’t look, feel, or act anything like these social sites?
Where’s the posting, sharing, commenting and content?
Where are the trending topics?
How come there’s no local element to a dating site - yet the people I’m looking for all live around me?
That’s when I started drawing up a better version of an online dating site - one that acted more like social media, and included all these really awesome features that were connecting hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
And so the long and winding adventure of building the site began - but that’s a story for another day.
Check out our original mock up here (We used to call it A Mutual Friend, so when you met someone, you could nonchalantly say, “Oh yea, I met him through a mutual friend …”) You can see the original drawings for the website in my notebook.
Thanks for reading. Please email me if you’d like to know more :-)
- Michael Agnello
What Makes On For Friday Better?
We spend pretty much all of our time thinking about how to create a better online dating experience.
It's not about "better algorithms to create better matches." And it's not about "creating a scientific approach to personality tests." It's DEFINITELY NOT about "swiping for social discovery."
Better online dating is about starting a better conversation.
Think about meeting someone in person - not just for dating, but in any situation.
The people that make a great impression are the ones that can carry a conversation, either with you, or with other people in the group. They tell stories, they ask interesting questions, they engage, joke, and listen.
The best conversations DON'T start with someone telling you all about their personal qualities and showing off their selfies.
So why are most dating sites set up to do just that? That's our question too.
On For Friday creates better conversations by building an environment made for social discussion.
We share posts about thought-provoking topics, and let the community respond to our questions and statements. Here’s one place you can see what other people like to talk about, and start a conversation.
You can share a post with the community on a topic that interests you, and let people comment on the post so you can hear their thoughts.
Browse through other people’s posts and write a comment on their content, and watch how the conversation takes off.
Commenting on a post is a great way to get the conversation started, because you can talk about things you’re interested in, see who else is interested as well, and keep the conversation light-hearted and casual.
When you do find someone you want to talk with in more detail, you can send a message request and continue the conversation there.
This list could go on and on - you can talk about so many different things with many different people. The opportunities for meaningful conversation are nearly endless.
Online dating shouldn't be about creating the "perfect" profile and hoping people search and find you.
Online dating should be about starting a conversations with people who like what you like.
When you have better online conversations, it leads to a better first date. And THAT is better dating.
Keeping Away The Creepers
One of the most frequent complaints we hear from online daters is the rampant, unwanted and unnecessary creepiness that pervades most dating sites.
Think about it - if you join most free dating sites, ANYONE can message you ANYTHING, and unless you choose to share the screenshot, no one will really know about it.
Some sites allow only paying members to send messages, which helps a bit, but once again, anyone who’s willing to pay can send pretty much any kind of message they want.
Newer sites like Tinder and Bumble make it so that two people need to mutually swipe in order to send a message, which is definitely a good approach.
But the problem is, when you’re just looking at bunch of selfies and a short bio - do you really know who that “mutual match” is, and what kind of message you’re going to receive?
Our solution to keeping away the creepers goes 3 levels deep.
Similar to a few other apps out there, we’ve also implement the mutual matching system. People can only message each other if both parties are interested.
This is the first level. No one can message you unless you allow it.
While this system isn’t perfect, for the reasons mentioned above, we’ve got a few more pieces that help to make it better, and keep out the creepers.
Instead of starting the conversation in a private message, you can make an easier introduction by commenting on a post. The comment should be about the content, and not a personal topic. It’s not the place to ask for a number or suggest a date - it’s the place to start a conversation about a common interest, and see if it warrants further discussion.
It takes a bit more thought to write a comment, compared to just messaging someone and saying, “Sup, Daddy-o.” (Yes, our founder, Michael, has actually gotten that message before.)
Instead of a private message, these comments will be public. Instead of just scaring away one potential match, that weirdo who decides to get frisky will now be ostracized by the whole community. (Not to mention, we’ll probably kick them out pretty shortly after.)
This way, if you’ve been commenting back and forth with someone for a few days, you can have a more realistic expectation of how the conversation will go if you open it up to a private message.
When someone’s profile is a stream of posts and social content, you can get a much better idea of who that person is and what they’re interested in, before you start to message each other.
It’s hard to believe someone is a “fitness enthusiast” if they haven’t shared any photos from the gym, a jog or a yoga class.
But when someone says they’re a real foodie, and their profile is filled with posts from top-notch restaurants, complex homemade recipes, and a spotless kitchen, you can trust they’re telling you the truth.
There may not be a perfect way to keep the creepers out of your inbox.
But if you can get a better idea about the person by reading a dynamic, content-based profile, and you can start a casual conversation with them by commenting on their posts, you will have a much better opportunity to open up your inbox to people that you’ll actually want to talk to.
This is one thing we’re doing to give you a better online dating experience.
How to Use On For Friday - Part 1
On For Friday is made for starting relationships.
And it’s really easy!
Write comments on posts, and answer questions.
Share your own posts so people know what you’re like
Start a conversation with someone in the comments, and send them a Message Request to continue the conversation in privately.
It works just like a social network - except everyone here is from your area, and they are looking to start a relationship.
To give yourself the best chance at meeting someone new, stay up to date on our trending topics, and leave comments regularly.
- We post questions to the community that allow you to share your interests and discuss your passions with people who can relate.
Find some topics you are interested and leave comments so people know what you’re like.
You can also post your own content, ask the community questions or teach something.
Share a photo with a caption, or write a short story about your favorite topic.
You can also share links to articles you find interesting, or about topics you want to talk about.
Respond to other people’s comments, and let them know you like what they like.
Keep it simple - mention why you like their comment, and give some insight into your thoughts, and how they relate.
After talking with someone in the comments, click their message icon to send a request if you want to continue the conversation privately.
The best strategy is to keep your profile active, and let people know you’ve been recently involved in the conversations.
Sharing a post is easy.
Click the [+] button to start creating a post.
Choose the conversation and topic that you’d like to discuss, and start filling in the content.
Each post has to have a conversation and topic, as well as a description. Photos, links and brands are optional (hint: posts with photos do much better than posts without).
Double check your spelling and grammar, and then submit! It’s that easy.
A few ways to get more interaction with your posts
Ask open-ended questions - try to ask questions that elicit a discussion, and give people a way to tell a story about their interests
Tell a story - instead of just a photo and a quick caption, tell a short story about your experiences so you can let people know how you think. Keep it light, short (and even humorous), so you grab people’s attention and get them to read.
Post about topics you really love - people will take note of your sincerity. Even if they’re not as interested in the topic as you are, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and passion.
Post about something topical - if you’re not sure what to say about yourself, write a post about something that’s going on in the world. Share your thoughts on the topic, and ask other people what they think.
Tap into your other social networks to find interesting content that matters to you.
Selfies are great, but people will appreciate thoughtful posts, and love responding to questions.
Let us know if there are any topics you want to discuss, but aren’t currently on the site.