An exemple of dating site : Geekmemore, or how to make business thanks to gendered behaviours.

I’m following the example and ‘ll talk about my online fieldwork because I think it’s a pity to not share what we’ve done. Besides, I did my work on a dating site, which overlap with the last class we had. (And last : seems probably lazy but I have no better idea for the moment). I’ve done a participative observation on a French dating website for ‘geeks’, called geekmemore. The site is quite new (it exists since last autumn). I ‘ll put the emphasis  on the system of the site.

The inscription conditions are not the same depending if you’re a man or a woman. Women can have an illimited access to all the functionnality of the site when they have done the inscription. Though, men only have free access to some functions : they can watch other profiles and make their own but they are unable to use the online chat or to send private message. They don’t really have the possibility to interact with other people without subscription.

There is a point system ending up with a ranking of the people on the site. You can win points in different ways : simply by loggin on, by having a complete profile, by sending and received private messages, by adding and being add as « contact », by clicking on a news page of a partner site or watching a video, and you are also winning a point for each person visiting your profile. This last point is the most important one because this is that wich make you access to high ranks. I paid attention to the two hundred first people on the top : only fourteen were male (but only three on the hundred first people : the more you’re going deep, the more you have men). One should not conclude the reason is that there is less men on the site. The fact is that women and men behave in a gendered way. Male geeks are watching more profile, seeking for a girl, while female geeks, assuming that a lot of guys would be intersted by them, have tendencies to stay in a waiting-passive position. Women are not making effort because they know that, in the geek world, they are considered as rare and so valuable. And men are seeking actively, since they are paying.

This system is encouraging men to pay for the site because if they are waiting to be contacted (those who don’t want to pay are putting their skype or facebook nicknames on their profile), they’ll be probably make few -if none- contacts. The creators of the site based their marketing strategy on such gendered considerations. Its exactly the same system than in a lot of nightclubs (at least in France) : what is sold is not the access in itslef ; women have free entrance because they are the real product.

Though this is not a dating site centered on « date » : a lot of people are also here to make friends or to meet people with similar interests than them. When you are making the inscription you can choose (as a woman) if you’re interested in men or men and women, but women only is not available. The logic is heterosexual: creators are assuming than if you want to meet women it’s for friendship..

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One Response to An exemple of dating site : Geekmemore, or how to make business thanks to gendered behaviours.

  1. apalmgre says:

    I’m happy that you decided to share your fieldwork with everyone on the course.

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