They rented an office in a basement in San Francisco and registered the domain ‘ROMANCE – LOVE – SEX – MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIPS’ read the headline on an early business plan Electric Classifieds presented to potential investors.‘American business has long understood that people knock the doors down for dignified and effective services that fulfil these most powerful human needs.’ Kremen eventually removed ‘sex’ from his list of needs, but many of the basic parts of most online dating sites were laid out in this early document.
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The photos arrived as hard copy, and Kremen and his employees scanned them in by hand.
Interested single people who did not yet have email could participate by fax.
I sat on a stool at the centre of the bar, ordered a beer, and refreshed the feeds on my mobile. A basketball game played on several monitors at once. I allowed myself a moment’s longing for my living room and its couch.
Then I pretended to watch the game on a monitor that allowed me to look the other way. I refreshed the feed that indicated whether other people in the neighbourhood were sitting alone in bars. An OK Cupid Locals invitation has to start with the word ‘Let’s’:‘Let’s go now you and I’ always comes into my mind, but I’ve never broadcast an OK Cupid chat signal, I just respond. Every era has its own utopian possibilities: ours is the chance to make our lives more bearable through technology.
In 1992, he was a 29-year-old computer scientist and one of the many graduates of Stanford Business School running software companies in the Bay Area. In 1992, that couldn’t be done – modems transmitted information too slowly.
One afternoon a routine email with a purchase order attached to it arrived in his inbox. At the time, emails from women in his line of work were exceedingly rare. Then there was the scarcity of women with online access.
’ The Zumbro flows south of Minneapolis past Rochester, home of the Mayo Clinic. ’ Then he had another idea: what if he had a database of all the single women in the world?
It turned out that Kremen had once driven, or been driven, into the river. In Miami Kremen recounted the genesis of his ideas about internet dating to a room full of matchmakers. If he could create such a database and charge a fee to access it, he would most probably turn a profit.
By 1994 modems had got faster, so Kremen moved to take his company online.
He and four male partners formed Electric Classifieds Inc, a business premised on the idea of re-creating online the classifieds section of newspapers, beginning with the personals.
In more administrative fields, however, a growing number of women had email. He left his job, hired some programmers with his credit card, and created an email-based dating service.