Students use online dating service

Posters advertising for Datemyschool.com have been popping up in academic buildings, Starbucks and even online sites like Pandora.

Datemyschool.com is a free dating website for college students and alumni, and Butler University students are giving it a try.

The site advertises safety, security and convenience for students interested in online dating.

The site’s public relations manager, Melanie Wallner, said the site’s popularity spread from the East Coast to the Midwest recently.

There over 150,000 Datemyschool.com users across the nation.

While there are fewer than 100 Butler students on the site, schools like Indiana University and Ball State University have reached more than 500 users, Wallner said.

“We just launched a whole new platform,” Wallner said. “We redid the design, made it safer to use, and we’re on a huge hiring spree for more representatives.”

Datemyschool.com student representatives work off commission doing public relations work and hosting and promoting events.

PuLSE office Director Caroline Huck-Watson said she was unsure where the posters came from and who distributed them. The site’s advertisements did not receive PuLSE approval prior to their placement and were taken down on campus.

The site was founded two years ago by two college students, Jean Meyer and Balazs Alexa. They found difficulty meeting new people outside their area of study and traditional dating was not always efficient for busy college students.

“The guys wanted to create a private, efficient and safe site for college students,” Wallner said.

People who sign up for a Datemyschool.com account must first be verified through their school email and enrollment status. Profiles can be blocked for certain people based on location, school, department and age.

Users and profiles are never released to search engines, so profiles can only be seen by other users.

“You won’t have to worry about your mom or an employer googling you and your dating profile comes up,” Wallner said. “That’s just not cool.”

Freshman Zach Gay said in his time as a Datemyschool.com user he has never felt his safety was threatened.

“It seems to be pretty secure,” Gay said.

Gay said his initial interest in the site originated from an advertisement he saw for a job.

“To get the job you had to create an account,” Gay said. “But it turned out to be a job based on commission.”

A study by The Pew Internet & American Life Project indicated that one in 10 Internet users have tried online dating sites.

The site allows people to explicitly state whether they’re interested in long or short term dating, friendship, fun or networking.

The site also has a questions section, where users can compare their answers with those of other users that fit their criteria.

Junior Katie Keirn said she would consider online dating if her life situation were different.

“If I didn’t have a boyfriend, and I moved to a new city, I would consider online dating,” Keirn said.

Sophomore Molly Swigart said she wouldn’t consider online dating as an alternative to traditional dating.

“I think a relationship is something I want to kind of stumble into, not go out looking for it,” Swigart said. “I wouldn’t want to put all the time and effort into meeting someone online.”

Wallner said the site’s success along the East Coast has resulted in serious relationships and many “success stories.”

“Some of the stories I hear are so romantic,” Wallner said. “A lot of them have plans of marriage. At some East Coast schools, like Columbia University and New York University, more than half of the dates on campus were due in part to Datemyschool.com.”

A couple from Columbia was recently featured on CNN.com. The two met on Datemyschool.com as graduate students and were married 10 days and two dates after meeting on the site.

“I think Datemyschool.com is more beneficial for students than other dating sites,” Wallner said. “On other sites you won’t feel safe or confident that you’re actually talking to who you think you’re talking to. But students can definitely trust Datemyschool.com. We’re always manually monitoring the site. We’re always trying to become safer and more efficient for users.”

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