(June 3, 2012) Match.com is getting into the business of offline matchmaking by creating singles events where people can meet and socialize in a more traditional fashion. Match.com calls its new program “The Stir” and claims that the new service will help “eliminate the distinction between online and offline dating.” Match.com says that The Stir will eventually consist of hundreds of events each month across cities nationwide that will give people a chance to get to know each other in some more social settings. The online dating service says that events will range from large gatherings (i.e. Happy Hour events) to more intimate niche gatherings like cooking classes, wine tasting, and bowling events.
The Stir launches this month in 20 cities and is expected to be nationwide by the end of the summer. To try and make the events more successful, Match.com is applying restrictions to each event based on age, gender, and interests. And, of course, all attendees to any Match.com Stir event must be single.
Here’s how the process works:
1) Match.com members will be able to view, at Match.com, a list of events happening in their area. If they qualify, they can sign up.
2) Match.com members who are accepted into an event are allowed to bring friends with them (no word if the friends must meet the same qualifications as the members).
3) While at events, Match.com members can login to their account and fine coupons/discounts for things at the event they are participating in.
Unfortunately, The Stir lacks a decent “followup” mechanism whereas people that met and hit it off at a venue can automatically continue their communication through Match.com. The company is working on that, however. Match.com isn’t the only online dating service to offer events for members, but it is among the first offer finely tuned events (i.e. cooking classes).
While initial reaction to The Stir seems positive, some people feel that being allowed to bring friends will lessen the impact of the event.