“In person, it is uncomfortable to ask a lot of questions up front,” he says.
Giving your preferences to a faceless machine, on the other hand, is far less awkward.
The first users of were a motley bunch: all of them tentative; some optimistic, others outright weirdos.
I was about ready to give up, and then Bill came along.” Bill had been on seven dates by the time he got an email from Freddie.It was free to fill in and provided users with a report informing them how many of the men/women on his system matched their responses. Klien, a somewhat eccentric philanthropist whose interests include cryogenics and the Lifeboat Foundation (an NGO dedicated to the preservation of human life in the event of global disaster), now lives in Reno, Nevada.He has never spoken about the “Matchmaker”, and when I track him down he is brusque and to-the-point.In one corner is a cluster of Hallmark-red sofas; romantic slogans adorn a board above the photocopier.There are hearts everywhere – from the pendant on an employee’s necklace to the novelty fruit bowl.They messaged for a few days by fax and email before speaking on the phone, and then went on their first date to a Chinese restaurant in 1996.Freddie wasn’t technical enough to upload a picture, so Bill had no idea what she looked like - which was relatively common in the early days.Eric Klien, a Las Vegas-based entrepreneur, had spent six months pondering the dilemma of dating.“Traditional methods of courting and flirting are risky generally,” he wrote at the time.“Not only are they risky, but they are ineffective.” So he created a 170-point questionnaire, covering users’ horoscopes, their preferred mode of transport, taste in music, cleanliness, condition of their hair and how often they participated in dangerous sports.He called it the “Electronic Matchmaker” and uploaded to his private internet database (called a “usenet”) just after Christmas 1992.