Like Secret's co-founder Jesse Pollack thought about the fact that dating services primarily help connect you with strangers. "Why not flip that idea on its head and focus on the people you already know", he said. Co-founder Drew Blaisdell and Jesse think there is a lot of potential to build a romantic relationship with a friend in your current social circles.
I believe there is truth to that because friendship in a relationship is very important. It usually forms over time while dating and is what holds people together after the initial infatuation wears off. Although, it is much more difficult to start a relationship with a friendship. Like Secret wants to create a new way for relationships to form while removing the awkwardness of the "friend zone". Many potential relationships never begin because neither person wants to take the risk of damaging the friendship.
What if you knew the person felt the same way you did? How would you even know? The collegiate founders that met on Hacker News in January starting coding, as they have their entire lives, to create a platform that answers that question. Within a month Like Secret was born. The bootstrapped service softly opened to Jesse and Drew's colleges (Pomona and UW, respectively) and garnered positive comments.
Like Secret works by allowing you to anonymously choose who you are interested in with their Facebook application. When initially signing up with your Facebook account you will notice that no one will be able to see your activity; meaning that it will not show that you are using the app or website in anyway to anyone. Once active you choose a person you like and have the option of letting the service anonymously email or text them to say someone is interested in them, or you may do it without any notifications. The process can be done for up to fifteen friends. On the other side it works exactly the same and they would only see that someone is interested, but not who it is. Only when two people are interested in each other does it show who the friend is that likes you. I fully tested this using my wife's account with mine and it works as advertised.
I can envision this model working well for other awkward types of situations with friends and acquaintances. Think different cliques in school, people at work, or restarting old relationships. It could possible be expanded beyond your Facebook friends list to other social networks. Maybe different types of relationships can be conveyed and people would not be matched if they didn't feel the same way, such as one only wanting a physical encounter while the other person wishes for a long term monogamous relationship.
Jesse tells me there are two new features coming out as a result of the initial feedback. The ability for users to recommend matches for their friends should be coming out in a week or two. They also hope to implement the ability for people to flirt anonymously with each other by next month. The official public launch is set for Valentine's Day, but it is live now! As the user base expands new challenges will certainly come up, but if they keep the service free of abuse and maintain a serious professional image (not become a fun/joke app) they will do well. Dating is big business and they could easily monetize it by requiring payment to see a match. Of course monetizing and getting people to pay are two different things; staying free is the way to go for now.
Follow them on Facebook or Twitter and signup today to see if anyone wants a relationship with you. Do you think there is love to be found with a current Facebook friend?