An MIT student turned a prank dating app for Harvard students into an actual matchmaking service after successful sign ups.. When an MIT freshman made a prank dating app for Harvard students, he never imagined he would later revive it into a functioning matchmaking algorithm.
Liam Kronman told Insider that about a month ago, he had the idea of creating the “Harvard Marriage Pact,” to see how many students signed up.
“There wasn’t much thought to it. It just kind of came to me. It seemed very organic just like pranking Harvard students as well as also getting to test my computer science skills by making a fake dating app,” Kronman told Insider.
“I just wanted to see if I could do it in an afternoon and see where things turned out. So, wasn’t really thinking about how people would respond but was just hoping to have some fun and hopefully make some fun of Harvard students while at it.”
Kronman said while he was interested in the algorithms that go into dating sites, he didn’t have any at the beginning. He just wanted to see if he could create the form and see how many people would respond.
The site circulated across the Cambridge campus before it was eventually shut down in mid-October after another site called Marriage Pact, a matchmaking service that launched at Stanford and expanded to 64 campuses.
Kronman said the site got “an overwhelming number of responses.”
“We tried to reach out, all kinds of different ways,” Liam J. McGregor, who runs Marriage Pact, told the Harvard Crimson. “We told them, ‘Hey, we love the enthusiasm, but this is not okay.'”
The Crimson reported that after the site was shut down in mid-October students who filled out the form and provided personal information like their sexual orientation were concerned they were scammed.
On October 31, Kronman relaunched an app named ExExEx, a dating site with an actual matching algorithm. He said the site was relaunched because he and his unnamed partner noticed that the prank was “anti-climactic,” adding that at that point no one really knew it was a prank, and people were concerned they were scammed.
He said the new algorithm worked around an idea that someone would be compatible with their ex’s ex’s ex.
“It was just the idea that your dating preferences mirror your ex’s ex’s dating preferences. So the idea is that you’ll probably find your ex’s ex’s ex very compatible. I mean, it’s not a guarantee, but it’s an interesting concept,” he said.
Kronman said he used the results from the prank app to get this one started and has had some new sign-ups as well.
He hopes to expand the idea and right now the algorithm only works when someone and their ex’s sign up for the site, adding that there’s a feature to anonymously invite your ex to join.
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