Match.com Attempts to 'Revolutionize' Online Dating by Setting People Up OfflineS

There are pros and cons to both online and offline dating: let's face it, most people are assholes, and it's hard to connect with even those who aren't in this crazy, fast-paced, ~~~digital~~~ world of ours. (I mean, did you read Gawker's "Passive-Aggressive Break-Up Text Messages From a Fedora-Wearing Lawyer"?) But what if we could enjoy the specificity that algorithm-friendly online dating allows while making the whole thing feel less nerdy by taking it offline?

Well! Match.com will start inviting singles to thousands of "live events," the company announced in a press release today. The new program will be called the "Stir," and will take place in more than 20 cities this summer — by the fall, they plan on hosting over 200 local events, ranging from happy hours to "intimate" cooking classes and dance lessons, each month. Does that not sound like barrels of fun to you? Well, there will also be some new "interactive components" for those who prefer to stay online "with games such as "Food Critic," "Gut Reaction" and "Best & Worst," designed to help people start conversations and find potential matches in new, natural ways."

Hmm, doesn't sound all that "natural," to me, although I really love playing Family Feud online, so.

From another press release sent to me via email:

A big part of meeting people is going out and being social, and the Stir improves that "going out" experience. When you go to a Stir event, everyone will be single, everyone will be looking to meet someone, and each event will be customized through our group matching algorithms in terms of age, gender and interests. In short, the Stir addresses some of the fundamental pitfalls of a typical night out for single people.

Members can learn about and sign up for these events via Match.com, and subscribers can even invite friends and bring them along as an added benefit. At each local event, attendees can leverage their mobile devices by checking in and receiving special offers from the venues on food and beverages. Over the coming months, Match.com plans to introduce other ways for online elements to enhance the event experience, such as the ability to invite other members to an event, create in-event engagement, and re-connect online afterward.

It'll be interesting to see how successful "Stir" is, as many people who use online dating sites do so because it's less anxiety-inducing than connecting with people in real time. (Also easier for lazy people, and flakes.) Will online daters want to cook spaghetti and tango with other single folk instead of virtually "winking" at them or what have you? We'll find out!

[Match.com Blog]

Image viaLasse Kristensen//Shutterstock.]