Of all the ways to communicate with prospective paramours
in the digital age, a Denver-based online dating service
recently deployed one of the most innovative yet: a
real live phone call. You remember - the kind where
one person speaks and the other listens, and vice versa.
Late last year, One2One Match introduced The Pickup
Line, a service that allows members to contact each
other via phone without either party knowing the other's
phone number. The "double-blind" call, as
service provider CallMe has dubbed the technology, is
designed to ease the introduction process and prevent
members from learning too much about each other too
soon. The service works thusly:
Members sign up by providing a list of phone numbers
where they can be contacted and at what hours they're
willing to accept calls.
One member clicks on another's "call" button,
which initiates an outbound call from CallMe's server.
If the call occurs during a time when the called member
is willing to accept calls, the server then initiates
another outbound call to the calling party. If not,
the calling party gets a message saying the called party
is not accepting calls.
If the called member answers, CallMe's server then
provides a short verbal introduction and connects the
two outbound calls.
One2One Match also offers other forms of anonymous
communication including double-blind e-mail and instant
messaging. But Mark Erickson, president and CIO of One2One
Match, said voice is a better fit for many of its subscribers.
"Everybody is comfortable with the telephone,"
Erickson said. "A significant percentage of our
users are an older demographic and they may not be comfortable
with instant messaging. We think a significant number
of our members will jump right from e-mail to the phone.
Plus there really is no substitute for getting on the
phone. You can detect so many things through the sound
of someone's voice."
Pickup Line users were unavailable for comment - funny,
but no one wanted to accept a call from a married telecom
editor. - Vince Vittore
Clash of interest
Over two decades before accounting scandals rocked
firms like WorldCom and Adelphia, punk band The Clash
released the album "Sandinista!," with frontman
Joe Strummer penning these lyrics for the song "Midnight
"Cooking up the books/A respected occupation/The
anchor and foundation/Of the multi-corporations/They
don't believe in crime/They know that it exists/To understand
what's right and wrong/The lawyers work in shifts..."
Strummer died Dec. 22, 2002. He was 50 years old.