Kikini, which launched last month, restricts online dating to the college crowd.
For those who are tired of the pre-game, go-to-a-party and try-to-hook-up-with-someone routine, or those who are still trying desperately to date their lab partner or that person who lives down the hall, there’s always online dating. Kikini, a new, free online dating site just for college students can deliver the dating scene right to students’ laptops.
Founded by former Microsoft employee Jon Vincent, Kikini, which is based out of San Diego, launched in late September. Vincent – along with four other Microsoft developers and his sister Rachel, who acts as a marketing director to work to make sure all the proper privacy settings are in place – came up with the idea in 2007 but only started working on it last year.
Vincent said the major difference between Kikini and other dating websites like OKCupid, Match.com and eHarmony is that it makes the actual process of finding people enjoyable and that the site is just as much about the end result as it is about the journey to get there. The other major difference is that users must use a “.edu” e-mail address to join.
More similar to Facebook than its dating site contemporaries, the site automatically introduces visitors to other users in the area they’re from.
The website is straightforward, and users aren’t required to create an extensive profile. Each user page consists of a photograph, some of the user’s tagged interests and three polls. The polls, such as “What kind of ice cream is this person?,” are meant to be a fun, no-pressure and flirty way to initiate conversation, Vincent said.
“The polls make it much more casual and fun,” he said. “We’re able to recognize pattern algorithms to match people up [based on what they answer in the polls].”
The site bases its appeal on its fresh, simple innovation. Vincent said the site is only for college students because he believes that one’s four years in college represent the best time to date.
“It’s at time when you just want to meet people,” he said. “Everyone is interested, but it’s also one of the hardest times to do so because students are busy with class and extracurricular activities.”
Matt Flocco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.