Having been involved with the Dating world for over two years now, I’ve come to learn that the industry is both fun and exciting but also extremely challenging. When I started writing about dating and relationships it was due to its relevance to just about every single person on the planet, but it seemed everyone else had the same idea too. With growing popularity, came a raft of poor apps and dodgy websites all promising the same thing. At times it seemed impossible to know which sites you could actually trust, not just with your love life but with your bank details as well! With this in mind you’ll understand my excitement when I introduce you all to Queek’d, the UK’s first comparison website specifically for the Dating world. Queek’d it’s fair to say, have been making waves amongst industry experts in recent weeks, partly due to their commitment to promoting safer dating and partly because, well, it just works! I caught up with founder Elisa McLean to find out more.
Hi Elisa, so tell us a little more about Queek’d…
Well Queek’d stands for “Quick and easy kind of dating,” and our main focus is to help UK singles find long-term relationships. I guess we’re unique in that Queek’d is a portal, as opposed to a dating site itself. Call it the GoCompare of Dating if you like.
What was the inspiration for starting your business?
The idea for Queek’d came about when I found myself single and was keen to get myself back out there. I was familiar with online dating, but I wasn’t sure which sites specifically focused on long-term relationships and I found myself in need of some advice. I started searching Google for anything whatsoever that would help me compare the various dating platforms, but to no avail; that’s when I had my lightbulb moment and Queek’d was born.
The Dating industry is notoriously difficult to crack, what’s been your biggest challenge to date?
The biggest challenge has always been the technical development, but over the last few months things have actually gone rather smoothly. From the very start I wanted to dive in at the deep end with no tech knowledge, but I’ve now spread my plans over 2 years which is far more realistic for my ambitions. Finding dating sites and apps that advocate long-term relationships has also been a challenge as so many have begun to focus solely on casual encounters. However, we’re on the case and have worked exceptionally hard to whittle down our list to very credible sites. Overall, I’m passionate about helping singles date effectively and connect long term. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s become my life’s purpose. So although there have been difficult moments, the journey has been more than fulfilling.
As times change the popularity of online dating has grown stronger and stronger, but do you think we run the risk of losing some of the romance along the way?
I think we may find ourselves less romantic as a society further down the line, particularly if people continue to be oblivious to the effects of technology and dating. People are suffering from ‘cognitive burn out’ and think ‘bigger is better’ when online, which doesn’t seem like the best terminology for dating and romance.
I do joke with friends that one day men and women will connect through virtual reality the way Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock did in the film Demolition Man. I think it’s really important to raise awareness of the benefits of being online, which is one of the reasons I offer transformational dating advice through Queek’d. Technology in general is making everyone a little more introverted in all areas of life, but we can’t lose romance – romance is what dating is built on. If those who are serious about finding someone use online dating in the right way, everything will be fine.
Which Dating sites do you personally feel offers the most to its users?
The big players do a great job in offering useful and innovative features and have big databases which of course means more potential matches. eHarmony in particular are really passionate about creating long lasting marriages and I’m a huge fan of their ethos. Match, have an app which is really user-friendly which is always a plus, and of the newbies I like Bumble. Bumble offers both a dating and friendship service, which I think is pretty cool.
Do you think more traditional dating sites can still enjoy the same impact as before when up against the popularity of apps such as Tinder?
Definitely. I feel there’s huge growth potential for traditional sites within the industry. Tinder is great if you’re not looking for anything serious or you want to act out your desires online, but if you’re looking to settle down, the traditional sites offer so much more. We don’t aspire to have casual relationships, one day we all plan to settle down with that special someone and I feel it’s difficult to use the likes of Tinder to find a lasting relationship, the majority of people simply aren’t on there for that.
Tinder makes casual hook-ups really accessible but that’s not what traditional dating is all about. Any company that puts its users first and really focuses on creating happy couples, will be massively successful in my opinion. Online dating is an emotional industry and plays a massive part in real life interactions – singles are crying out for sites that really care.
Are there any ‘hidden gem’ sites that you would recommend to Queek’d users?
We’ve recently welcomed on board a new dating app called LINKD which is fantastic and DatePlay have an interesting concept too. I’ve recently heard of an app called JigTalk that hides profile pictures, revealing one jigsaw piece at a time when a match exchanges messages and I love that originality. There are quite a few new dating companies that I’m in talks with about featuring on Queek’d, but I won’t reveal the details just yet. However I am always on the lookout for sites and apps with a genuine ethos and innovative features who go above and beyond to keep users safe whilst online dating.
You’ve been praised by a number of industry experts for your commitment to promoting fun, long-lasting relationships and ‘safer’ dating, how important are these values to the Queek’d brand?
This is something that we feel really strongly about. People need help in these areas and many sites have strayed away from these values and so people really seem to find our efforts quite refreshing. We advocate long-term relationships and feature sites that fall in line with our ethos, we feel quite strongly that singles need a platform that separates serious from casual dating and aim to be the first port of call for singles who are genuinely trying to find something special. Although we’re now recognised for being the GoCompare of the dating world, we also share transformational dating advice through our website and social media pages. Ultimately this ensures singles get the absolute most from their online dating experience.
What are the top 3 mistakes you find people make when using online dating?
Besides all of the generic stuff, the biggest mistake has got to be people not being clear about what they want from their online journey. So many people hop online out of boredom or to get attention, flicking from one profile picture to the next and not really achieving anything – even I’ve been guilty of this in the past. The second is signing up to the wrong dating site. I suppose with over a thousand dating sites in the UK it can be a bit of a minefield, but so often I see people on casual sites looking for a long-term relationship and vice versa. It’s so important to join the right dating site as it saves time and will give better quality matches – our quiz is great for this. Lastly I’d say people pretending to be something they’re not. I see lots of profiles with women dressed way too sexy, pouting men or the inevitable dick pics which is so not cool. This isn’t the real them, it’s who they think they have to be to look attractive. I think people need to focus more on being themselves when online dating. Oh can I have a fourth? People lying on their profiles, this is a big no-no too. Always start a relationship with honesty is my motto.
You briefly mentioned Dateplay which is the brainchild of former Apprentice star Vana Koutsomitos. Dateplay last week overfunded on their Crowdfunding campaign raising in excess of £150,000, what impact do you think this will have on the industry? Do you think it will attract more entrepreneurs like yourself to the Dating world?
I think DatePlay is a great concept and overfunding on Crowdfunding is amazing news for them. I’m sure they’ll hit their target, there’s definitely room for gamification in dating. Making their platform that little bit different will be a big hit and I’m sure we’ll see a few more existing companies following suit. We do need to be mindful of any damaging effects that gamification and tech in general will have on dating and future connections, but I suppose the key is awareness and balance. I don’t think we’ve seen the half of it yet. Although the industry is saturated, more innovation is needed, so examples like this will definitely bring about more entrepreneurs and investors. It is hard work though, so how many will see it through is another question.
You can follow Queek’d on Twitter: @Queekd, and of course take the quiz at Queekd.com.