Are you having a hard time finding true love? Have you gone out on dates only to find out that the person was a complete nutcase and wasn’t even worth your time? Have traditional dating sites like eHarmony, OkCupid and Match.com failed you? Well, all hope is not lost. NextComesLove.com may be just what you’re looking for to find ‘the one.’
The newly-launched online dating site aims to help people in the Caribbean, specifically T&T, Jamaica and Barbados, find compatible partners.
The brainchild behind the project is Jamaican Monique Powell who says she got the idea for the site earlier this year after trying other popular dating sites but being continuously disappointed that people from similar backgrounds and cultures were so hard to find. The Kingston native says while the online dating market is booming with over 40 million people in the US alone having tried it, she felt disenchanted by the lack of diversity.
“When I browsed around, I realised that there weren’t many people from Jamaica or the region in general. I started thinking about it and wondered why there wasn’t a Caribbean version to facilitate this kind of thing for our people, for us to meet, connect and find love,” Powell tells WOW.
So, she decided to take matters into own hands. Her background in web development and digital marketing came in handy as she was familiar with building websites and conducting market research. Powell, who works in the financial sector in Jamaica, says she asked family, friends and strangers on social media, if they would welcome a dating site exclusively for Caribbean nationals. The answer was a resounding yes.
“All my friends thought it was a great idea. A male friend said he would be the first person to sign up. When I told my mother she was a bit skeptical but she’s from a different generation so that’s understandable,” she says, laughing.
Powell officially launched the site on September 16 and within the first week, it gained over 100 members. Fifty percent were Jamaican, close to 30 were from T&T and the rest were from Barbados. Roughly 60 percent of the members, she says, are men.
From her research, Powell says she discovered there were several questions which people preferred to know the answer to up front before even considering dating someone online. Among them were the person’s religion, education level, ethnicity, smoking habits and whether or not they had kids. These are among ten questions which potential members need to fill out before joining. And although the dating site focuses on the three islands, Powell is quick to point out that anyone who wants to join can.
“I chose Jamaica, T&T and Barbados based on the level of internet penetration in those markets as well as the population size. But it’s not to say that people from outside these areas are excluded. Depending on how it takes off and I think it will, there will most likely be some expansion but registration is open to everybody,” she explains.
Powell notes that she’s aware that some people may be apprehensive about “putting themselves out there” especially with the proliferation of catfishing (luring someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona). However, she seeks to address this problem by educating members about the do’s and don’ts of dating online via a starter guide video posted on the site. There, interested members will find important safety tips and guidelines on how to use dating websites responsibly. Powell has also launched an accompanying blog, called Cupidly Speaking, where articles on dating, love and relationships will be posted to the site.
But why does true love seem to be so hard to find these days? Powell believes there are several reasons – one being, people simply don’t have the time. That’s where she says online dating comes in.
“Today, people are so busy to go out and meet other people with the same frequency that they used to. Whether it’s because of work or other reasons, people just don’t have the time to go out and date. Some may be on the shy side and so initiating conversations online takes a lot of the pressure off as opposed to introducing yourself to somebody at a bar or a club. When you go to an online dating site you know that everyone is there for the same reason,” she asserts.
Powell hopes that in the near future NextComesLove.com will boast many success love stories and encourage more and more people, especially from the Caribbean, to sign up.
“You’ll never know unless you give it a try. What do you have to lose?” she says.
Source: Cherisse Moe