Back in the day (in 2010, when I met my wife), online dating successfully served a purpose. Sites like Match and E-Harmony offered a platform for legitimate relationship seekers to connect in an efficient way. Due to the staggering surge in users this isn’t the case anymore.
These days, it is not uncommon for women to receive over a hundred pokes, messages and other forms of contact initiation a day. Feeling completely overwhelmed, they often struggle with an abundance of choice. Men, on the other hand, are having a hard time getting their foot in the door. Competing with millions of other viable candidates, they feel the need to “enhance” their profiles just to get noticed. The site owners see no need to address the issue – more users means more money.
In addition, the veil of anonymity is known to breed dishonesty. Stories about cheating husbands and abusive dates are beginning to expose the deceptive direction this new medium is headed.
The idea for Jerrod’s List was born out of the need to help honest folks avoid bad dates. In essence, it’s a registry of date offenders that instills a sense of accountability into the world of online dating.
Before committing to a face-to-face meeting, people can look up the screen names of potential candidates to see if they have done anything questionable in the past. Is he married? Has she stood someone up? Did he lie about his age? On the other side, potential offenders will feel compelled to check if they are listed and perhaps alter their behavior if they know their actions can have consequences.
The biggest struggle for services like Jerrod’s List is that they don’t work without user-generated content. For the service to work, people need to create reports, and we needed to find a way for users to do this quickly. So our goal was to capture attention, explain Jerrod’s List in as few words as possible and get users into the app as fast as possible.
A key challenge of Jerrod’s List was coming up with a scoring system for offenders. We wanted to use a ranking system to rate reported people, but it was important that the system didn’t promote competition – the last thing we wanted was people flaunting their Jerrod’s List score. To achieve this we adapted the familiar Homeland Security Advisory System and created the Jerrod’s List Threat Levels. Profiles with a raised threat level are perceived as not trustworthy. Profiles without reports are labeled with a question mark to communicate a need for data. This is important to ensure they aren’t mistaken as safe.
Once in the app, we wanted it to be as painless as possible for users to generate a report. We researched the top seven issues commonly experienced with online dating. The idea was to pre-populate selectable options (married, abusive, stood me up, lied about weight, dishonest about age, etc.). Within these options we presented a set of sub-options that reflect a scale of intensity directly corresponding to each issue. In the end, Jerrod’s List turned out to be a cohesive experience with a laser-like focus which is the sort of thing that gets me really excited.
Jerrod Eiman, CEO