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OkCupid Launching Roommate-Matching Service

Not satisfied with running the best dating site on the planet, OkCupid parent company Humor Rainbow appears to be launching a service to help match up potential roommates. If Humor Rainbow can pull it off, the process of searching, finding and vetting potential roommates is about to get a whole easier, fun and more interesting.

I’ve done market sizing and scenario analysis for several matching algorithm and background check/ID verification companies looking to penetrate other markets, there are probably 10 more that Humor Rainbow looked at before settling on roommate matching. The good news is that Roommate matching is dating on fast-forward.

On day one you are living together. Talk about a market rife with unknowns! You don’t have months of dates arguments, make-up sex, travel and holidays to figure out the other person. First “date” questions take a quantum leap right to toilet seat etiquette, splitting utility bills, properly dealing with drag-backs and keeping hair out of the bathtub drain.

The profiles are going to be entertaining, to say the least.

Reggaton-dancing part-time barrista snake charmer with tats seeks non-slob who can cook and pay rent on time. Bonus points if you own a hammock.

This is a no-brainer for Humor Rainbow. Buy up a couple hundred thousand monthly visitors (sorry, no data-driven blog is going to crack the rental market) and sell them things like background checks, subscriptions, VIP packages and advertising.

I bet they could crib most of their revenue generation strategy from LinkedIn. Charge users for better search, extended profiles and Realtors for VIP services like Background check lookups. Realtors could even be pro-active and offer up rentals based on prioritized search results and compatibility. Imagine a realtor reaching out to someone looking to rent a crappy 250 square foot studio in Manhattan that they have found a great 2-bed and a compatible roommate. Oh and don’t forget the geo-targeted ads. What about escrow accounts or getting in the middle of the deal and taking a percentage of the realtor fee depending on how long the roommates stick around? Lots of revenue streams there.

Who’s going to go to a cocktail party and complain about a roommate matching service? All the negative attention that plagues the online dating industry is avoided completely.

I’ve had three roommates in 20 years, so what do I know about matching, but it seems like its a lot simpler than romantic compatibility. Dating sites don’t seem to know much about romantic compatibility, but roommate compatibility is a slam dunk, based on a much more refined subset of data to work with. Taking sex out of the equation really makes it much easier, and even better if they travel a lot.

Throw in a handful of quirky and fun personality questions, super geek’d-out search engine (written in C++ of course),  and don’t forget the ever-present authenticity issue, testimonials from friends. Link up Facebook profiles and boom, either you are going to meet up with someone to check out your pad, or you aren’t. Easy-peasy.

This is great news for all of the background check providers that have been badgering the dating industry for years to no avail. Here’s your chance to get into a new market.

Read OkCupid is Now Matching Roommates, Regardless of Deep Emotional Feelings

Here are two other funny OKC images I came across this week.

Paul Ryan OkCupid profileokcupid posters

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