Earlier this week, a website called Amazon Dating took over my Twitter feed. It looks and smells like Amazon, only instead of delivering search results for Alexa-enabled microwaves, its homepage is populated with photos of "hot singles near me." With customizable specs in true Amazon fashion — including such physical and emotional characteristics as height and love language — each listed profile can be tailored and then Added To Cart in the expedient way of Amazon Prime. (Just...don't expect someone showing up on your doorstep tomorrow.)
"It started basically because I made a joke that I wished I could Postmates a girlfriend. And then I was like, wait, why can't I do that right now? Not actually, but you know — you can do that with everything else. So we made a mockup of Amazon Dating as a joke that I was going to post as an image on Twitter — like, haha, imagine if this were a thing. And then it went from being a mockup to meeting people who could actually help me make it a real product," says Acopian.
Acopian and Shinn partnered with animation studio Thinko and designer Morgan Gruer to flesh out the concept, the goal being to create a new kind of parody model for online dating — something as reliable, quick, and full of crowd-sourced reviews as Amazon without the swiping fatigue inherent to the current state of dating apps. Capitalism, it turns out, might have been Tinder's missing ingredient. And yet, a quick scan of Amazon Dating's menu bar reveals some...striking differences between the parody and its mothership. Click Prime Video, and you'll be directed to Chat Roulette. Legal links you to a Non-Ghosting Agreement. Your Last Relationship brings you to the aptly-selected "Toxic" music video. And the succinct FAQ section bluntly states that despite the site not being actually real, the creators are, in fact, single.
The listed onsite profiles are all friends of Shinn's and Acopian's — but since the time of launch, they have received over 10,000 applications to be featured on the site, which they'll continue to update with new profiles in small batches.
This isn't the first time Acopian has challenged traditional methods of online dating. A few weeks ago, looking to try his luck with online avenues different from the Tinder or Bumble status quo, he decided to go the self-promotional route on Twitter and Instagram in the form of a self-made dating ad (which, by the way, garnered 100 responses asking him out on a date).
"Over the past year I've been personally using Twitter to find people for jobs and just connect with creative communities as a whole. I'd go on Twitter and be like, 'Hey, my friend needs a photographer for a shoot, does anyone know anyone?' and I helped a lot of people connect that way. So I was like, why are we not using these extended networks for dating?" says Acopian. "So with this video, I wanted to make people realize the funny and weird blurred line between private and public forums. But also, like…I am single for real."
With thousands of retweets and media coverage in just two days, it's safe to say Amazon Dating has piqued the curiosity of a generation of online daters looking for a new frontier in the space — maybe even one that employs the same UX as Amazon. As for what's next with Amazon Dating, Shinn laughs: "A meeting with Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk. I'm just kidding...unless?"