Wink: If Zynga and Match.com Had a Baby… [INTERVIEW]

June 25, 2012

9:11 am

Bio: Aaron Zeitner has started or assisted in a variety of startups in industries such as mobile, television, advertising, and finance.

Tech Cocktail: What is Wink and who is it for?

Aaron Zeitner: Wink is different than the dating sites currently in the marketplace. Wink steps away from the highly criticized matching algorithms and reverts back to “The Game” of dating. Wink “gamifies the connection process” to let people play to connect with each other, as a fun, stimulating, and addictive game, while enhancing the connection process. And it’s stacked with features to keep them coming back for more.

Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Wink? What do you enjoy most about working on it? 

Zeitner: Interestingly, according to one of the nation’s experts on social psychology at Northwestern University, “Unless 80 years of psychological research is false, math can not find a match for a human being.” It’s just not that simple. A computer can’t gauge where you are with your personal development, past experiences, determine who your parents are, were, or predict who can meet your needs, both intrinsically and extrinsically – much of which will determine the success of a couple. Beyond that, there are cultural influences, attraction, etc.

Online dating has been around for roughly 10 years, which has allowed for it to develop and become mainstream and acceptable. With mainstream comes opportunity to enhance and improve. It just so happens that online social gaming is addictive, fun, competitive, and also quickly becoming mainstream. The two need to be together and match perfectly (pun intended). We stay away from the serious stuff and make the process more fun, exciting, and more effective….

It works like this: a user launches a custom game as the Host and Players join the game to compete to match better with the Host than the competition. Wink allows the Players who join a game an equal opportunity for success with the connections, while putting the Host in the driver’s seat…. For example, if a woman receives 15 messages from different people, she can launch a game and let the 15 guys compete to determine who is the best match for her. Of course, the role can be switched and men can play as the Host anytime and vice versa.

Currently, men send most of the messages on dating sites and most are seemingly sent into cyberspace, many times never receiving feedback from the woman unless she is immediately attracted to him and responds. Wink takes the issue head-on by giving users an equal opportunity for success within a competitive platform with instant feedback.  It tests their game and can improve it through the feedback of the scoring model, and users can use it to build their confidence to take to any real-world experience.

Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?

Zeitner: We are not competing directly with any dating site currently on the market.  Wink actually fits very well as an add-on to any dating site, to allow their members a more exciting, effective, and stimulating online dating experience. There are no rejections on Wink, just connections.

Wink was a featured startup at Tech Cocktail’s TechWeek mixer in Chicago last night.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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