Cheek’d is an online dating app with an unusual twist, one that encourages people to at least connect briefly in person before using online dating as a tool. Users of Cheek’d first fill out an online dating profile much like they’d create on any other site. Then the user purchases some Cheek’d cards. The cards hold unique messages and a secret code which leads the recipient back to the user’s profile. The idea is that the user sees someone he or she likes: in a bar, bookstore, coffee shop, mall encounter, at the library or anywhere else, and then gives that person a Cheek’d card to pique their interest. If the interest is returned the recipient fills the code into the site, looks at the profile and has the option of sending a message so they can connect again: an answer to missed connections.Show more screenshots »
Cheek’d was founded in 2008 by Lori Cheek. It seems to be popular enough to survive, but the reception to Cheek'd has been mixed and spotty.
Cheek’d does have one major competitor: Flip Me, which has essentially the same concept as Cheek’d. They were founded in the same year, so it’s difficult to say who had the idea first. The FlipMe cards are less obscure and are not in all lowercase letters, the messages far less quirky and far more straightforward. Users of FlipMe can also choose between a “Sassy” set, a “Sexy” set, a “Sweet” set and a mixed set, so they get the cards that match their personalities. In fact, FlipMe seems to do the entire concept better overall save for the fact that they cards are aimed squarely at women, with no corresponding card sets for men to use. Cheek’d would seem to be the only option for men who want to use this kind of service, which is a shame because the Cheek’d messages and dating profiles are strange enough to perhaps scare many eligible ladies away unless they’re familiar with the service. Just look at the three Cheek'd categories: "Doggy," "Standard" and "Wall Street." One message: "bernanke has me on speed dial." What does that even mean?
The web page seems to scroll a little strangely, and at first the user might be forgiven for thinking that he or she is looking at a game of MadLibs instead of at a dating app. The black and red color scheme don’t actually put one in the mindset of sexy romance, either: it actually all looks vaguely sinister. The fact that nobody can see a profile until they’ve been handed a card is in fact a giant plus as it encourages real life interactions and puts the power in the hands of the profile owner.
The registration process is a real problem for Cheek’d. Users have two options: signing up with Facebook, or choosing a username and password after providing an e-mail address. Both options require the user to navigate a nearly unintelligible, touchy captcha program. Worse, the Facebook registration produces an error message. Users who finally manage to get the captcha to allow them into the hallowed halls of Cheek’d will then be allowed to fill out their profile, which consists of a photograph and 10 relatively easy questions which actually do have the potential to generate some talking points and circumvents a common dating site problem: trying to figure out what to say.
The application itself is free. Users can fill out profiles and send messages without paying a thing. The expense comes in buying the coded cards: $5 for 5 or $20 for a pack of 43.
Shy individuals who want to “put themselves out there” and who immediately “get” the quirky humor of the Cheek’d cards will benefit from the service, since they will be looking for partners who also “get it,” and the Cheek’d “personality” won’t be a problem for them.