OK Cupid is shit now

Image by the fabulous Stuart F Taylor

One of the things I’m finding hilarious about dating again, eleven years after the last time I was single, is that no matter how compatible or otherwise my date and I might be, there is one fact on which we always agree: OK Cupid is shit now. This isn’t a problem with an obvious, easy solution, I just think that when you realise something truly good is gone, it’s important to allow yourself time and space to mourn. OK Cupid sucks horrible arse these days, and I know I’m late to this revelation but I’m super fucking sad about it, and I wanted to have a little rant.

My email inbox tells me that I joined OK Cupid in August 2011, but that can’t possibly be right because I’m sure I met my ex before then, and OKC was our first point of contact.

Perhaps I should check the date with one of my good pals who has a head for them – I met him on OKC too, back in the day, and he has a decent knack for remembering how long it’s been since we last did what. Last time we went to an actual pub before Covid, for instance, or last time we drove the DLR.

Maybe I should ask another friend, a guy I still get pissed with and play board games sometimes: when did we meet mate? Can you date it?

Or another good friend, who spotted me on OKC two summers ago and very kindly offered to pick up some sex from where we’d left off before I hooked up with my ex.

The point I’m making is that back in the day, OK Cupid was a genuinely brilliant place to meet people, as evidenced by the brilliant people I met while I was on it. On the old OK Cupid, you answered a tonne of questions (the more, the better!) and matched with people not just on the basis of them ‘having the same answers’, but based on data which demonstrated compatibility.

To give you a simple example, if you’re lefty like I am you don’t want a site to match you with someone who’s fiercely right wing, so ideally you need them to have answered a question like ‘do you believe that poor people deserve to be poor, because they haven’t had the nous to be born to someone who works in banking?’ with ‘no’ and ‘do you hate Boris Johnson?’ with ‘yes, fucking obviously.’  But when we’re talking kink, the site needs to be clever enough to recognise that ‘submission’ should be put with ‘dominance’ or ‘switch’ and not just try to pair people who tick the exact same box. I don’t know the details of how the algorithm used to work, but I know that it definitely did. It certainly worked better than the current one, which has a question about whether, during sex, you’d rather be ‘tied up or doing the tying’ that I swear it’s using to match me with similarly subby little fucks. We could swap some fun stories, for sure, but I’m here to swap spit, goddamn you.

The old version of OK Cupid, if you used it right, was as close to a guaranteed hit as you’d ever get. I kick myself for not appreciating the miracle of it at the time. That foolish slip of a twenty-six-year-old used to be so blasé about her match percentages! So casual in assuming that this magic would never be lost! She never knew how lucky she was, having red-hot match after red-hot match hurled into her search results, toying with the idea of them but never understanding their worth – like a princess selecting which swan to eat for lunch! I HATE HER.

I have friends from OK Cupid today because of how it was a decade ago. If I matched with someone over 95% then – provided this match was based on a decent number of questions – we’d almost certainly get on. That is what matching is for. Naturally, no computer can ever tell you if you’re going to want to shag someone, or whether your shagging will turn into something long term, but if I matched with someone at 95 or over, I could guarantee that the pair of us would at least have a laugh over a pint and a plate of chips, and the fucky stuff would come later if we sparked. Sadly though…

OK Cupid sucks absolute massive, horrible, stressful, awkward arse now

I know I’m late to the party here – forgive me, I’ve been busy with monogamy. But my brief foray into OK Cupid last year was an ice-cold bucket of shock. No sooner had I set up my profile than I’d be getting intros from men who matched at 99% but had barely answered any fucking questions! Men who were so clearly unsuited to me that I wanted to write angry letters to the website on their behalf, berating it for cockteasing this poor 60-year-old crystal-loving yoga instructor into ever thinking that he and I might work. Even when people have answered loads of questions, that’s still no guarantee that a high match percentage will make for a decent date, for the simple reason that the current OK Cupid matching algorithm is demonstrably either evil or actually drunk.

Example: I have answered the question ‘do you smoke?’ with ‘yes, frequently’ because – pay attention now, see if you can absorb this better than the stack-of-Raspberry-Pis-and-gaffer-tape that apparently powers OK Cupid – I smoke frequently. I have also answered the question ‘is smoking disgusting?’ with ‘no’, because even though I know it is disgusting really, it’s important that any dude I meet be OK with me nipping out for nicotine occasionally. You have the option in OK Cupid to say what your ideal partner would answer, so I’ve ticked ‘no’ for that, and marked it as extremely important. I’m a masochist, sure, but I don’t want a man who actually thinks I am gross. AND YET. So many of my matches answered yes to that question! So! Many! I wouldn’t normally talk smoking on here (except that time when I wrote erotica about the hot guy in the impotence warnings on the back of fag packets – I miss him), because I do feel genuinely disgusted and ashamed by that aspect of my behaviour, but it’s such a perfect example of how shit the site is now.

“I want to meet a man please!”

“Here are a hundred.”

“Will they like me?”

“Lol no, they literally think you’re disgusting!”

I can spot these answers fairly easily if I scroll down, because I’ve marked my own as ‘important.’ It’s disconcerting and offputting to have to do that though, because I don’t have time to fine-toothcomb everything, double-checking work that computers used to do.

This is what gets me about the new OK Cupid. It doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t actually have to ruin something that works purely to keep up with the Joneses over on other dating sites, like Tinder – The Land Where Looks Are King. If you want to make money, you capitalist fucks, I’m telling you now that I – an actual cheapskate/horny slag who has never paid for dating in my life – would genuinely open my wallet if you’d dust off your old codebase and reignite The Site That Was Good. Naturally you then run into the problem that paid dating sites only attract people with cash, so you miss out on broke hotties and cheapskate horny slags when you’re getting your matches. This isn’t a massive problem for me, though, because the people I am most frequently matched with tend to be nerdy techbro types, and they’re often grotesquely overpaid. So I’ll be fine. Just do it for me. Go on, you cuntblocking pricks.


Pretty please?

Tinder is Tinder: don’t be Tinder

The weird Tinder-esque swiping system means that the thing OK Cupid used to be brilliant for (searching, filtering, getting into the nerdy/funny detail of how people summed up their lives) was suddenly replaced by a big neon sign telling users “LOOKS ARE IMPORTANT”. As far as I’m aware (though please, experienced New OK Cupid users, guide me if I’m wrong) there isn’t a neat way to filter people who fit specific criteria. So I couldn’t laser-target my search to dudes who were into kink, within a 5k radius, had cats and owned their own vans… right? I can’t remember if you could get that level of detail on the old OK Cupid, but you sure as shit got more than you get right now, which is barely more detailed than ‘age/location/in possession of camera and face.’

If you’re the sort of person (me) who doesn’t find ‘listlessly scrolling through photos’ to be a particularly good way to meet matches, you can of course click through to someone’s full profile (one click more effort than I’d like to make, you fuckers) but only if you haven’t already accidentally swiped left in an effort to at least pay cursory attention to their image gallery. I know I’m in the minority in how I feel about visual appeal: if I’m looking to fuck someone, I’m checking for funny/kind/kinky (in roughly that order), and somewhere at the bottom of the list is ‘show me a glimpse of their face’. So I know I’m not ‘normal’, but even people who do care about looks have expressed frustration to me at the Tinder-fication of this once-awesome haven for horny-yet-unphotogenic nerds.

The real damage

“Oh GOTN, you fucking twat, you’re basically just an old cunt ranting at the sky. You’re like those people who come into school for parents’ evening and lament the fact that it’s all laptops and smart boards these days. Except even those parents are probably thin on the ground because smartboards have been around for AGES – even your references-to-new-technology are hopelessly dated, you whining prick.”

YES I KNOW. Trust me, I’m as annoyed as you are. This isn’t who I want to be. But this isn’t purely a ‘modern life sucks’ rant: Old OK Cupid wasn’t good because it was old, or because it didn’t push you to a Fancy App instead of a good old-fashioned website. It was good because it worked. Because it knew its purpose. Because it’s primary goal was to help you meet people you actually liked. The part of me that would love to embrace conspiracies wants to hypothesise that New OK Cupid is actively trying to stop me from finding good men, so I stay on the site indefinitely – bait to catch yoga instructors who don’t stand a chance at shagging me, but reckon if they pay for the upgrade they might get a finger in someone.

For what it’s worth, as a straight woman, my ‘strategy’ when it comes to the absolute shitshow that is New OK Cupid is to increase my focus on contacting dudes first. I’ll do a lot of swiping, and a lot of research, and send maybe two or three messages, then close the fucking app and leave it a few days to see if my men take the bait. So far, I have met one guy on New OK Cupid who I would rate as a genuine match – funny, kind, kinky (not necessarily in that order) – and I caught him by messaging first. If in doubt: message first. It helps you sidestep the horrors of intro admin, and the kind of men who are worth your time will usually fucking love it.

OK Cupid is so shit it has definitely ruined lives

In the meantime, please join me in this howl of aching horror that OK Cupid is shit these days. It’s not just annoying because it’s new, there’s genuine sadness here that I feel it’s important to articulate. Think of all the damage that’s been done by taking a sledgehammer to what was once a priceless piece of dating architecture! All the people who would have banged, but never get the chance, because they’re busy fielding bullshit messages from 90% matches who are not compatible in the slightest. All the relationships that never got the chance to blossom because the people who might have planted the seeds of them got pissed off with being shown photo after photo of grinning teetotallers when they’d made it expressly clear that they drink like a fish! Think, if you will, of the children left unborn, because the clumsy fumbles that Old OK Cupid would have facilitated never got the chance to occur in the first place. The countless thousands of snogs that haven’t happened, the tits that have gone un-fondled, the dick that’s not been sucked!

So come, my friends! You, the unloved lovers! You, the horny and unfucked! The nerds who don’t care about photos but who’d really like to have sex where someone else does the tying for once! Those of you who remember what life was like when OK Cupid was more about matching than edging you: join me. Share this post on your social media, send it to your online dating friends. Email it to the people who run the site and ask them to hit the button in the server room that says ‘REVERT ALL CHANGES: WE’VE MADE A HORRIBLE MISTAKE.’

And perhaps if you agree, you could also add a link from your OKC profile. Just pop it in there as a nod to the obvious: ‘FYI, comrade: it’s hard now this site’s gone to shit. Maybe we’ll be two of the lucky few who hook up despite the new algorithm’s baffling and nefarious work.’ It’d be cool, wouldn’t it? Stick a link on your profile, start a conversation, meet a likeminded soul. After all, no matter how bizarre and unsuitable your matches might otherwise be, there’s one thing every user will agree upon: New OK Cupid is cockblockingly shit.

Oh no wait! Sorry! You can’t even hotlink articles from your profile any more! Everything about it is terrible and wrong and the people who destroyed it should hang their heads in shame!

Take me back in time and give me power, I’d have made the old OK Cupid – the good one, the one that worked – a special case website to be protected at all costs. Dating architecture – no, infrastructure – that deserved to be preserved. I’d have made that shit a listed fucking building.

I can’t say that what’s been done to OK Cupid is actually a ‘crime’ in case that’s libel, but I won’t refrain from wailing that it’s clearly a fucking tragedy.



  • molly says:

    Yes to all of this. I have battled with it on and off for 2 years now and even summer 2020 to summer 2021 it got worse. In 2020 you were allowed to see one person a day who had liked you. Now you can’t see any unless you pay.

    I was constantly matched with Brexit folks and Boris Johnson lovers. Also people who say they are non mono but then answer the open relationship question, no. That one always confused me.

    Also location… so important but oh no, here, check out this guy who is in Brighton. What?

    Deactivating OKC was the best start to 2022. I shall probably be unfucked for ever but I can’t deal with that experience and how anxious and unhappy it made me any more


  • EuphemiseThis says:

    OMG, yes to all of this! I reactivated my profile last September and was horrified. I met so many good friends and great fuck buddies on that site, but now? The constant swiping (goddamit I want to READ about these people!!!) and the bad matching is just so frustrating. Plus, all needy “upgrade so you don’t miss a match” too. I deactivated my profile again after three days.

  • Starcross says:

    Yes! It HAS become shit and that IS a tragedy. I, too, now have high match ratings with inappropriate people and have witnessed this decline having also had a longish break from OKC. In fact, I have now seemingly swiped left on every lass in London and the new, shit algorithm has decided to show me people in Paris, Rotterdam, Bruges etc (which is giving me an interesting insight into how different nationalities present themselves). Thankfully, though, I recently matched with one absolute – and geographically appropriate – gem, and so I guess it’s worth persisting!

  • Vad says:

    Oh, this sucks. I met my fiance on OKC, and my initial interest was sparked because although our percentage was relatively low, her answers spoke a lot to me about her attitude to dating vs long term relationships, and I thought her whole “vibe” was hilarious. The system clearly worked! I would still have swiped “yes” either way because she’s fit as, but the “extra” stuff was just as important to me, and my life would be pretty different now if this new system was there back in 2012.

  • Kathy says:

    I am very much feeling this! Almost all of my friends of a certain age range are people I met on okcupid, because it was _so_ good at finding great personality matches. I was also in a long-term relationship for a good chunk of time between when it was good and now, and I rather wish I’d stayed on it just to make more friends.

  • Jacob says:

    It’s a tragedy, I made so many friends there… It’s owned by the same company as Tinder (and Hinge and Bumble and Match and PoF etc etc) so my theory is they drove it into the ground to direct people to their flagship… But also maybe to cut costs, base it all on a similar code base / mechanism.

    I was infuriatingly banned from all their sites at the same time (no reason was given, maybe I was falsely reported by some bro or terf who didn’t like a non binary person appearing on their feed, or maybe an ex friend who just doesn’t like me) so I assume they share a ban-list. I found that you can’t appeal, you can’t make a new account, because it’s tied to your phone number, and then you’re pretty much fucked (or rather, will not be fucked) no more participating in THE MAIN WAY PEOPLE DATE.

    Hinge, was an exception whose smallprint says you can appeal but after writing them a long and extremely vulnerable letter there was just no reply.

    I have been using Lex and Feeld since then which have been nice, despite the far smaller dating pool. I imagine lots of the people there would have been highly matched with me on OkC back in the day.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Well, damn. I’d been meaning to set up an account on OKC based on so many people saying how they met their partners there. But everyone I ask says something similar to this, ‘don’t bother, it’s shit now’.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a good, preferably free site to use that actually works and isn’t totally looks-focused? Maybe I’ll try the two mentioned in the comment above…

  • Switchington Bear says:

    I haven’t actually used any online dating sites before, but it is feeling increasingly likely that I will be looking at this before too long. To be honest, it concerns me greatly the way things are going here, totally agree with the whole sentiment of this article. Surely things should be getting better at matching as tech advances and with better AI tools (and what have you) not stepping backwards like this.

  • Brian says:

    It went to hell c2016 when the swiping started and they made messages invisible to the recipient unless they had separately swiped and liked the sender. It literally stopped working for many people. It used to be a dating site for smart literate people and got dumbed down to every other digital meat market.

  • pir says:

    I knew it was dying when they let you get high matches after only answering a small number of questions. Can’t tell if someone matches if they answered 12 questions and got bored. Still on there but it hasn’t done anything useful for me in years.

    Finding non-monogamous women who are significantly less than 15 years younger than me wasn’t easy even when it didn’t suck, in covid times it seems to be like unicorn hunting.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I feel you. It’s an absolute shitshow. If it helps, I know a lot of people who rate Feeld these days. I’ve not tried it myself yet but a fair few people I know have met good matches on there.

  • pir says:

    Thanks. I did see the earlier comment suggesting Lex and Feeld, another data point is good… I’ll have to take a look at Feeld.

  • thanks for the advance warning so we did not waste our time resurrecting our profile

  • Paul says:

    After getting more pointless recommendations in my email just now, I typed ”O.K. Cupid is fucking shit now” into Google and couldn’t believe your site came up, seeing as how often I use it and never saw this post before!! The site was wonderful back in 2013-2015. After having a diabolical time on POF I left that crappy site, dateless. It was the McDonald’s of dating websites. After realizing it was full of fake profiles I tried OKC and it was wonderful. I went on 13 dates almost as soon as I signed up. Then I met my next girlfriend, who I stayed with for the next 6 years. I loved the search box where I could find people with the same interests as me, which made finding a talking point instant. The keywords were fantastic. I quit the site in early 2016 and it was still great when I left. Now, in 2022 that is all gone, gone, gone. Since I’ve been back there I get no matches whatsoever in my area. I live near Brighton, but all my matches come from London or further – 100 miles away or more. I’ve had no dates at all, and I’ve only matched with one girl, who I’ve been talking to – in the US, which is utterly pointless. It was the best dating site I’ve ever used. I recommended it to a bunch of my friends and one of them even met his wife on there. It sounds like a funeral speech, but I made long-lasting friendships, had one-night stands, good dates, bad dates and finally relationships – and out of all of them, there was never a boring one!! It was a place that was so brilliantly set up by people, it seemed, that wanted you to succeed and find love. Now I really don’t know where they’re coming from. Like most things though, they definitely following the crowd.

    Even the ”Boost your profile”, which I’ve paid for three times since coming back, is useless AF this time, so I’m not wasting any more money on it. I never actually fully understood how this site worked, but it’s very interesting to hear you explain. All I cared about at the time was the fact that it was brilliant and I made some wonderful friends on there – and have some fantastic stories to share if I ever write an autobiography :) One such story involved me looking at a girl on the site on my iPhone. Then the actual girl walked into the bar later that evening. 100% true!! I never approached anyone in a bar – However, this time I HAD to ;)

    All I have left now is all those cringey, squirmy, excruciating love songs that I wrote for girls I met there.

    I did email them to tell them to put the site back as it was and how it was the best site in the world, etc, etc. But they responded with the usual ”We’ve juts made a few changes as we believe they’re improving the site, yada yada yada.

    Your rant, sorry OUR rant is completely acceptable. Why is it wrong to want things to stay how they are when they worked so perfectly? I mean, the whole idea of a dating site is that we can meet people and fucking go dating ffs!!

    Anyway, rant over.

  • S. Ingle says:

    Jesus tapdancing Christ on a unicycle *ALL OF THIS*

    Look OKC, I get that you need money to run your show. Do you know why I didn’t give you money in 2012? It’s cos I was a broke ass student. But you actually -worked- and I got dates and made lifelong friends because of you. And that established a level of trust.

    Now here I am 11 years later and I’m single and, get this, I have money. Money I would happily pay for ONE god damn dating site that wasn’t a heap of superficial trash.

    And you are still here. Tempting me with the memory of how good you once were. And so like the pathetic slug that I am, I cave and look through my matches (and watch the tumbleweeds roll through the ghost town that you’ve become). And maybe even some days I find a woman who’s hot and in to cool stuff. So I look closer.

    “Smokes: regularly”

    God DAMN you OKC you absolute traitor.

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