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Jonesians launch stripped-down appearance-based dating website

4/14/11 7:00pm

Stuck in the library all day but still want to check out cute girls/guys? The dating site pplscroll, launched by Jones College sophomores Gabriel David and Eirik Vaagenes on March 19, allows you to do just that. Still in its beta phase, pplscroll creates a simple way of meeting potential dates solely based on looks, a way David and Vaagenes believe more closely resembles real life.

"You're never going to go up to someone you're not attracted to and say, ‘Hey, you wanna go out?'" David said. "It always starts with looks, so basically we're just giving everyone the looks, and they can do what they want."

Vaagenes said that what distinguishes pplscroll from other social or dating websites are the users' ability to share a minimal amount of information and its ease of access. According to David, signing up for pplscroll only takes about 90 seconds.

When signing up, the only pieces of personal information required are an email address, a picture, gender, sexual orientation, college and state. Users can scroll through pictures of people, matched by sexual preference and geography, in a random order. If a user finds another user's picture attractive, he can click a button that says "yes" to the desired target.

This decision will remain confidential unless the desired target also says "yes" to the user, in which case they will be able to view each other's profile and send messages to each other on pplscroll. A number reflecting how many times a person has been said "yes" to is also displayed alongside his picture.

David said that viewing pictures should be enough to start connections among people. David and Vaagenes said that they believe most dating is started by looks.

"No matter how many forms you fill out and how many hours you spend on the web, your carefully selected partner's looks are going to matter," David said. "So why not do it like they do it in bars — start on the other end and go by looks first?"

In response to the concern of people uploading false pictures, Vaagenes said they are considering having users renew their pictures once every few weeks or upload animated pictures such as video clips.

Vaagenes said they have been advertising for pplscroll through existing social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, since he said they are effective, free and influential. David said they have received an overall positive response for the website, including suggestions and around 600 followers on Twitter. Over 1,300 viewers check out the website every day.

David said pplscroll has accumulated almost 1,500 members as of April 12th, with a 65-35 male-female ratio. They had to switch to a new server from a Houston-based company at a cost of about $200 a month because the last server they had could not handle the amount of data transfer on pplscroll, Vaagenes said.

David and Vaagenes currently fund the website themselves and are not yet considering putting up ads or making money from the site. Vaagenes said they currently want to focus on developing the website since it is only in its beta phase, and they do not want ads to become a distraction.

David said that any input or suggestion can be sent to Contact@pplscroll.com.

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