Online Dating Help
ODH Interviews HerSmile Founder
We caught up with Cosmo Currey, founder of HerSmile – the dating site and app built on three core principles: safety, information and intention…
What is HerSmile and what gave you the idea for it?
The idea originated when I was at university in Moscow but it was a few years later that I could really see it. I was at a bar in Tokyo. I saw a man look over at a women sat at the bar. Clearly interested he sensed her reciprocal intrigue. He walked over and offered to buy her a drink. His financial commitment by offering a drink let her know his want to meet her. She smiled, they talked and the idea for HerSmile was born.
What are your thoughts on the current online dating industry?
Online dating is huge. The industry is worth over 2 billion dollars, growing at 5% each year. They expect by 2040 70% of us will have met our partners online. Yet, for many users the results are no better than a lottery. Profiles can be misleading and intentions deceptive. With all the chaos of a cattle market, I felt there had to be a better way to improve this billion dollar industry.
How long have you been working on HerSmile and what kind of market research did you do?
Back in 2011 I started researching the market. Across all demographics, I asked people what they didn’t like about online dating. What wasn’t working for them? Gaps started appearing, but there was one specific barriers that kept recurring: intention.
For women it was quantified by a lack of commitment. With messages being sent out left, right and centre you have no idea if someone is genuinely interested in you or if you were the first to ‘take the bait!’
For men it was about feeling misled. Often guys felt their time and money was lost someone really more interested in the attention.
Over the next year and a half year I created HerSmile as a solution to these barriers. So it was never about trying to gamify love through extensive psychometrics or match people on their taste in fine Burgundy wines. We simply saw the problem and created the solution. Overall, it’s been about two and a half years from inception to completion
How affordable is HerSmile compared to competitors?
When putting together our business plan, I did a thorough analysis of our competitors and their charges. I was astounded at some of the exorbitant costs! I knew we could offer better service with a more effective model at a third of the price.
The initial feedback on our £18 membership is proving very popular. I believe currently we are the most competitive paid dating site for long-term relationship in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
With so many dating sites and apps around what makes HerSmile stand out from the crowd?
When I Incorporated HerSmile, Tinder hadn’t even been invented. Currently there are 80,000 apps/sites to choose from worldwide. Why on earth do we need another? It’s hard not to agree. With a new dating app launching each week offering matches from the known to obscure, why is finding love still more like alchemy than chemistry?
There are endless theories, but no consistent formula that leads to a golden outcome. If you want a successful formula you have to account for the evolutionary drives behind mating and many dating apps, although entertaining, simply do not fulfil the core purpose of why most people use online dating – to find a relationship.
HerSmile was made for relationships by addressing the fundamental issues people around the world face when trying to meet a suitable partner online. We haven’t created a clever algorithm to match people based on their taste in Burgundy wines or tried to gamify love through extensive psychometrics – we simply looked at the problems and created the solution.
Can you tell us a little more about HerSmile profiles?
We removed the stress of selling yourself, so rest assured you don’t need a degree in creative writing. We have five fun yet thought provoking questions that are inspiring to write and authentic to read. By removing the ‘sell yourself’ mentality often associated with online dating we can ensure refreshingly honest profiles.
Merged into the site we took inspiration from, what we felt, were the best aspects of social media: Facebook (Mutual Friends Search), YouTube (simple incorporation of Videos), Twitter (Keyword search, Twitter hashtag search), and Instagram (Favourites page).
Can you walk us through how contacting members works?
On HerSmile, women have a monthly subscription letting them initiate contact with a man at any time, receive messages from men and review the possibility of contact. Men, who have no subscription, simply buy credits.
He confirms his interest is genuine using one credit to send his first, introductory message. Her ‘Smile’ lets him know the interest is mutual and he can contact her further and if the feeling isn’t mutual we’ll give him back the credit to use again with someone who is interested.
Who is HerSmile meant for?
HerSmile is available throughout the UK and Ireland. Specifically resonating with the growing number of people that want substance and a long term relationship with someone who wants the same. Our members want assured intention they’re not looking for someone who simply likes the attention.
One client recently described HerSmile as: ‘traditional, timeless and classic. The place Audrey Hepburn would have felt at home’.
What steps have you taken to protect members from cyber-fraud and scams?
Online dating scams have made people less trusting of free dating products. Being a paid site brings its own form of verification as members have to input valid card details. One of the pros of being a predominately ‘by invitation’ site is that a) we know the people joining or at least have a mutual connection; b) we can take the time to ensure their suitability.
I also felt it was important to use the mutual connections available on Facebook. On the site and app you can filter by Facebook mutual friends (only showing profiles of your mutual friends) giving a comforting reassurance of a personal connection.
As an online dating expert, where do you see its future headed?
It really depends on the time frames. Initially, I expect the gamification of online dating to increase and then over the next five years I believe we’ll see a shift towards the more serious dating sites. I think the natural course for the industries evolution is to align with biotech and VR. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see DNA matching and holographic dates.
Personally, I hope technology won’t replace reality. There is nothing more electric than the feeling of meeting the person you want a future with.
Author: Aet Suvari has been reviewing the world of online dating since 2008. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the dating industry she champions sites that get it right while highlighting those holding back the industry.