Online dating sites have remained technologically stagnant. Well that’s according to Mirror.co co-founders Daniel Mattio and Froilan Mendoza. The duo propelled their social discovery platform in hopes to restructure how online singles discover each other – especially while dating. Below Mattio explains while everyone should give their fresh new site a chance.
What inspired Mirror? What’s your story?
Mirror was inspired through a steady realization that the online dating industry has not structurally changed in over a decade. Despite the advances in social media led by Facebook and LinkedIn, the online dating industry is still comprised of closed networks of self-constructed, anonymous profiles. At best, this leads to less trust and less meaningful connections between people looking for relationships. At worst, it leads to vast networks of fake or stale profiles and a downright fraudulent user experience. It is ripe for disruption.
Mirror was developed with a singular mission; to make connecting with those you don’t already know easier and more meaningful. Mirror is not an online dating site, but a social discovery platform that can be used very effectively for dating.
How does the site work?
The Mirror platform consists of two primary functions: 1) the profile and reputation building function and 2) the search and connection function.
First, the profile construction process:
A Mirror profile (we call it a frame) is the centerpiece of the reputation building process on Mirror. A frame is a short, fun and verified profile which a user completes; a snapshot of who that person is and why he or she is using Mirror. It’s one part LinkedIn and one part Craigslist. It includes the user’s real name, location, photos, as well as some of his or her interests, personality traits and wants. All Mirror users are verified by email and SMS. The internet has enough fake/inactive profiles on it, we don’t want to add more. After completing a frame, a user then invites their friends to give their takes and endorsements. These are designed to promote that user’s unique personality and interests through endorsements and fun adlibs. Want to be known as the funniest guy in your college? The most attractive, intelligent single man in your city? The more endorsements and takes you get, the more your reputation will be enhanced.
Second, the search and connection process:
After Mirror users have built up their mosaic through their friends’ takes and endorsements, they then use that mosaic to connect with others. Imagine being able to search for and connect with all of the attractive, intelligent and loyal men, talented DJs, or hard-working and creative recent grads in your area, not as told by them in an anonymous profile, but by the people in their life who know them best. Want to reach out to loyal, compassionate and generous men in your town? Use Mirror. Want to find funny, laid back single girls in your city? Use Mirror. Mirror users connect through double-blind email or SMS. That is the power of Mirror.
What separates Mirror from traditional online dating sites?
Legacy online dating sites are closed networks of self-constructed anonymous profiles. Mirror is an open, social network of profiles enhanced through takes and endorsements by friends. We like to say that when Mirror users connect with others, they have their entourage behind them.
There are three primary ways in which Mirror differs from traditional online dating sites:
Anonymity and endorsements. There is no dignity in anonymity. Anonymity makes connecting with others, especially for dating, more difficult. When a user is anonymous, they are approaching other users, a potential date, from a position of weakness. First, they have to prove they are legitimate and not a serial killer. Then they have to go to extreme lengths to live up to their self-constructed profile. Mirror users reach out to others with their entourage of friends behind them. Imagine if you have 30 of your friends endorsing you as charming, intelligent and witty…you’d be getting a lot more connections! Similarly, if you had so many endorsements you were ranked as the most intelligent, witty bachelor in your city, you’d have lots of singles reaching out to you.
More powerful search. Most legacy online dating sites have a very similar set of search parameters; height, body type, ethnicity, age, etc. These parameters are important, but are superficial. Mirror gives users the ability to search by personality traits, interests and find other users who are endorsed by their friends as having these traits. This dramatically increases the power of people search.
Double-blind messaging. Mirror allows users to connect via double-blind SMS and email. Traditional online dating sites require the user to login and communicate via their own internal messaging system. This slows down user response times and limits the user experience. Mirror technology allows users to communicate using their own personal email accounts and mobile numbers without giving up their actual addresses or numbers. This enables users to communicate quickly and easily while still preserving their privacy and security.
Why is Mirror important to the dating industry?
Mirror transforms the online dating industry from a hodge-podge of closed networks of self-constructed anonymous profiles to an open network of verified users whose qualities are endorsed by those who know them best. The user experience is dramatically improved through less creepiness, better search and messaging functionality and, ultimately, more meaningful connections.
How long have you been around and how much has it grown?
Mirror launched in March 2012. Since then, we have gained 100,000 active, verified users across the United States.
What type of people are drawn to Mirror?
Since Mirror is not an online dating site, but a social discovery platform that can be used to find jobs, gigs, roommates, activity partners, as well as dates, it has broad appeal. Our most active users are Millennials and the younger, technology savvy social set. However, we also have a strong population of users over 30 years old, who have migrated to Mirror in lieu of traditional online dating sites.
Like any true start-up, we are doing a lot with a little! We are blessed to be in New York City, where companies, especially technology companies, have so much capital at their fingertips, human and financial.
Right now, we are finalizing a mobile application and a Facebook application. Both should be launched before year end.