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We made Cupid for a day with the Once dating app

enero 6, 2020

Matchmaker profession: the dating app owes its success to the choice of putting people in the flesh to recommend candidates to users. We did it too

(Photo: Once)(Photo: Once)

"Simple, natural, sporty, hoping for serious encounters": the description of the first user looking for love on Once. His demands sound a lot like a "waste of time". To be a matchmaker, there would be some pressure to be felt. One moment: today we really are, matchmaker. Wired has tried to put himself in the shoes of those professional figures that the dating app makes available to users to guarantee a human touch (or "human touch", which makes more scene) more than the thick competition.

The boy's profile flashes in the system on the right side of the screen, while on the left there are in a row to scroll through what could potentially be the right companions for him. Therefore this is what a matchmaker sees every day. And now, which candidate for the match will be better to advise him? The mountaineer or the vacationer? The one who chooses the Snapchat photo-filter or the sobriet of black and white?

The list of people (those on the left) who might like the user creates an algorithm, which therefore provides a first skimming based on factors such as location, age, orientation, interests.Amelie Guerard, from Once's headquarters, supervises all matchmakers: it is up to her to recruit and train them: for half of the day she also works on the combinations while, in the other half, on various activities, including supervision. her to explain that "Everything matters", when to select the pairs: "How the subjects of the photos are dressed, what hairstyle they have, if they photograph themselves in the company of pets". Every aspect of an image becomes precious: the subject at the sea, or in the mountains? If at a party, he certainly likes to go out and be with people. Ride? And in how many photos he laughs?

The match is not mandatory.In some cases, the algorithm does not find candidates eligible for the user. This often depends on the geographical area: if the service is not yet widespread in a certain area, it becomes more difficult to propose combinations. At its launch in Italy (empirical evidence on the field), it was not easy to find the match of the century: "You also have to be patient",Guerard comments: "As in real life, the search for the right person takes some time".Even if there are many candidates available, the matchmaker has the right, if he does not find someone suitable, to go further. "Next match", and off you go.

(Photo: Once)

To have a good heart, the matchmaker profession is not easy. A lot of doubts come. Sometimes there is a choice between two that both seem suitable, and in any case one should strive to set aside personal tastes. Which is not easy, especially when in the biography the only thing you find a play on fines and plants, a string of emojis, or things like that. a middle ground between a piece of advice you would give to a friend, and the selections for a competition.

How about the third one, for the match?

Mhm no, too sophisticated for him, "Guerard replies

The first thing that comes to mind that combinations of an aesthetic nature can prevail, almost unconsciously: isn't there a risk of flattening that models are with models, and nerds are with nerds? "More a matter of sensations, because how people appear in the photos also depends on the perception they have of themselves", Guerard explains:"Sometimes obvious that they are not good at immortalizing themselves or choosing the image. We need to go a little further ". So in a sense, good heart really has something to do with it.

Anyway, a correction system, if you can call it that, there is. Matchmakers cannot follow the stories of all the people they bring together, but the analysis systems process the app's internal data, giving birth to a success rate for the combinations made. Based on this, their compensation is also determined, because the level of success generates bonuses that are added to the monthly fixed amount. There are matchmakers who work only on the weekend, or a few hours a day, or full time. Soon, a new function of the app will open new professional positions. This is a novelty being tested, also in Italy, of a premium function that will make everything even more personalized.

After a while browsing profiles, the more trained eye seems to end up in a hypnotic swirl. How long can you spend, deciding that one person is right for another? "We advise you not to stay more than two minutes on each match",explains Guerard."Also because the amount of work is so great."

Once users are 2.5 million worldwide. Jacopo Magni, Country Manager for Italy, explains that there are currently over 250,000 in our country. At their service, 20 matchmakers. For the important company that we have locally based, to better interpret the cultural nuances of each country. In the world rankings, France, Germany and the UK are in the lead, while after Italy follow Belgium and Switzerland. 55% of users are women and 45% men, 6% of users are looking for same-sex people in general, on average every 3 days each user finds the right person. What then, the primary purpose of the app, the concept that led to its birth, as the CEO explained to Wired on the occasion of the Italian launch.

Selfies reign supreme in profiles, and although they are the photos that leave the least space around, most of those viewed for the matches count more than one. Whoever takes them thinks to highlight their best characteristics. If only he knew that hard work, for a matchmaker.


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