When I first created my Facebook profile, I spent literally hours trying to figure out which picture to use as my profile picture. I’ve changed my profile picture maybe 3 times in the last 7 years. Why? Because the last time I changed it, I spent hours trying to pick the “right” picture.

Specifically, profile pictures on dating websites

This problem (yes, I consider it a problem) is much more prevalent in the online dating space. There are a lot of reasons that I’ve never joined a dating website – pride, time commitment, the whole numbers game. But honestly, one of the big hurdles for me was the thought of picking the right profile pictures. The one picture that makes you look so awesome, that says enough about you, that piques someone’s interest enough to click on your profile and read on.

Most people, whether they admit or not, are at least a little superficial. If you don’t look good in your profile picture, you’re not going to get a lot of results. So you end up spending hours of digging through old Facebook pictures to find the three or four that make you look awesome. And, you know, cropping out your ex from those pictures.

But the worst part of the process is the lack of feedback. “I think I look good in this picture… But what will the hot blonde on the other end of the internet think? Which of these pictures is the one that’s going to convince her that I am awesome and she should click on me? (Or swipe right, for you Tinder users)”.

[If any of my relatives happen to stumble across this, of course by “dating website” I meant “shaadi.com”, and by “hot blonde” I mean “nice Indian girl from Tamil Nadu”. I was just trying to make this post relatable to all these white people.]

An online economy solution?

I wonder then if there is potential for an online service that would solve this problem… Imagine a website that I can go to, upload a few pictures that are candidates for my profile picture, and crowdsource this whole problem… Not like the old hotornot.com where your picture is compared against other users, but rather where your pictures are rated and ranked between your own candidate pictures.

You can imagine that this service could even provide additional functionality like letting me pick my target audience, so only people within my target audience see these pictures and rank/rate/comment on them.

The issue of course is how to incentivize or mobilize the “crowd” part of the equation… What would motivate someone to come to this website over and over, and help people pick the best profile picture for them to use? Monetary rewards aren’t scalable. Maybe partnering with an existing dating website as an added benefit to their users? Or maybe selling the data?

I don’t really have a good solution for this… But surely someone smarter than me can come up with a successful mobilization strategy for such a service and launch it? If you do, you can count on me as a customer. If it’s free, of course.


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