ADVENTURES ON TASTEBUDS

It takes a certain type of person to really explore what dating sites have to offer. I call those people masochists. However, there seem to be a lot of people who enjoy the unique abuse of online dating, as there are a never-ending stream of ways to be blown off by the opposite (or same) sex from your computer.

Tastebuds, a dating site launched in 2010, looks to pair singles by taking participants’ “liked” bands from Facebook, Spotify, and Last.fm, and matching users to those with similar tastes. If you’re into music, you’re probably already familiar with it.

I joined Tastebuds about 18 months ago, and promptly forgot about it. Aside from a once-monthly email with matches, I hadn’t had much contact with the site until logging on recently to find about 50 unread messages from other users. I was surprised, as my profile was barely filled out, and my face was only (partially) visible in one of my photos. Scanning through the messages, I realized 99% of them were a result of the “Message Bomb” feature, which allows users to send a single question to 8 of their randomly-selected matches. Who came up with this? No one likes “form” messages. Because these messages are being sent to a random selection of users, the people writing them seem to feel like the messages should be both funny and general; one Message Bomb sent to me asked, “Would you rather be hairy all over or completely bald?” (Hint: I’m already one of those.).

Some cursory Googling also revealed that newer members of Tastebuds are now required to buy a membership or pay a fee just to respond to messages. The prices for membership range from $10 for one month to $30 for six months, and include additional features like removing ads, and the ability to view profiles anonymously. I understand that the company needs to make money, but charging people to respond to messages isn’t the way to do it.

I don’t mean to shit on Tastebuds. I think finding people with similar taste in music is a great idea. You can even set your search parameters to find matches in areas you may be vacationing in, so you have someone to go to shows with. Unfortunately, I think the whole thing is bogged down by questionable user experience and member abuse of the aforementioned features. I’m still going to hang on to my (free) membership – maybe that guy who shares my love of both Hanson and Placebo will finally pop up.