By: Laurie Davis, Founder
While Love At First Click is in production at Simon & Schuster (meaning I’ve been giving my achy hands some much-needed rest), things at eFlirt Expert haven’t slowed down for a minute. During the past month I’ve been training a few new Certified eFlirters. One will be our first West Coast rep, but she’s living in Boston now so I’ve been hovering over a laptop with her in person. But when I was invited to a private cocktail party for Match.com’s Stir Events, I knew I had to put on my pink pumps, hop on the Amtrak and make it back to the city by Friday’s happy hour.
There are few things more exciting to a blogger than catching up with her fellow webbie women. I spent some time flirt feasting over dinner with dating bloggesses Bad Online Dates and Simone Grant. At the cocktail party, I got to catch up with lots of my fave lovie ladies from Cupid’s Pulse, Gal Time, The Big Girl Blog and eFlirt Expert’s own Copy Cutie, Jess Downey (who was there repping her own personal dating blog). And after some mutual eStalking, I (finally) got to meet the lovely co-authors of The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love you Want.
But the main affair was definitely Stir Events by Match.com. Many of you have been asking me about them over email or Twitter — to go or not to go? So I wanted to get some more info for you directly from Match.com’s mouth on how you could mix up your dating life in person, too.
For those of you not in the know, Match, the world’s largest online dating site, recently announced that they will be hosting singles events across the country. There are a few different kinds, including happy hours and interest-based events. Stir’s Happy Hour events are not only free to all of the site’s members (paying or not), but you can also bring a wingman for free. In fact, Match has found that women in particular feel more comfortable heading out to an event with a pal by their side.
Interest-based events can take several forms — cooking classes, bowling nights, wine tastings, tequila tastings, dance lessons, rock climbing, etc. For paying subscribers, admission is still free, but for members without an active subscription, there’s a small fee. (More deets of events near you can be found under the “Events” header when you log-in to Match.) They also revealed that they’re actually not focused on using events to create a new revenue stream but instead want this to be a perk to boost membership.
By September, Match will have 200 events each month and by year’s end, an estimated 150,000 singles nationwide are expected to have attended a Stir Event. (Holy cow!) They’re already getting some positive feedback from attendees, with members saying that they’re flirting with people they may not have otherwise approached online. Score one for the underdog!
But Match is pretty honest and has said that not every event is as awesome as they anticipate. For example, their recent Boston harbor cruise was definitely not the kind of boat rockin’ event they expected when the thunderstorms rolled in. And needless to say, they’re still perfecting their offline formula. But the tech angle works to their advantage because each event is customized through group matching algorithms (by age, gender, interest, etc.), increasing the chance that you’ll meet someone worthy of a wink IRL.
Since the transition from online to offline is a huge thing I see online daters struggle with, I give Match major props for thinking beyond the screen to create more ways for singles to mingle. Coming up: the Copy Cuties will be heading to a Match.com Stir Event and reporting back with a review of the experience!