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OkCupid insists on real names, and its users are not happy

okcupid real names
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Though it may evolve to include them, true love certainly doesn’t start with fake names. So naturally, a website dedicated to the discovery of true love can’t include pseudonyms and pen names. OkCupid agrees, and has decided that there is, in fact, a lot in a name. As such, the online dating website is removing OkCupid usernames, beginning with a test group, and then rolling out to all users.

However, this move hasn’t been without controversy, and the app’s most recent reviews reflect this. Tech Crunch reports that more than half of the reviews for the month of December gave the app a single star. Prior to the real name update, only a third of the app’s reviews were that low. The App Store no longer requires developers to reset their ratings upon releasing a new version of their apps, so OkCupid still retains its 4.2-star rating.

The goal, the site says, is to have users “update their profiles with what they want their dates to call them.” So unless you actually go by LittleBunnyFuFu, you’re going to have to change your name on OkCupid.

The rationale behind the decision, OkCupid notes in a blog post, is actually for users’ sakes. “We’ve discovered that [real names] actually work best — better than usernames — when it comes to connecting with people,” the dating site wrote. So even if you think that your username is particularly descriptive, or captures the essence of who you are, chances are it’s not nearly as effective as you think in finding your mate.

While this may seem like taking the fun out of online dating, we should point out that the vast majority of other digital dating tools, particularly those of the app variety, have never even had an option for a username. Tinder and Hinge, for example, are connected to users’ Facebook profiles, so unless your dedication to a false identity runs across all social media presences, you’re likely representing a truer version of yourself on these dating apps. OkCupid, then, should be no different.

After all, the site wrote, “[Usernames] are a pain to come up with and a pain to remember. And we hope that you can instead use your profile to give people an insight into your interests.”

Of course, this change does come with a host of privacy concerns. Due to OkCupid’s open messaging policy, users don’t have to be connected to begin inundating one another with messages. And once real names are brought into the mix, some are concerned that it could open the door further to harassment and digital stalking.

OkCupid assures users that it still won’t collect full names, but is rather encouraging members to put forth the name that they’d like to be called in a face-to-face meeting. And chances are, that’s not PrincessBananaHammock. And hey, you can always use a pseudonym!

Update: Added note about users’ displeasure with new naming format. 

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
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