“We noticed a lot of women just don't go places by themselves very often,” she says.
Since launching The Stir, there have been 1,500 events held in 80 markets.
“It takes the intimidation factor out.” Meeting a person who's seen your profile can occasionally backfire, Spira admits.
“They're not walking into a bar wondering who is single and who is not.
You don't have to guess people's intentions.” Julie Spira, online-dating expert and author of “The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online” (Morgan James Publishing, .95), says offline events are win-win for sites and users.
Sites are organizing group outings that let users get to know each other in casual settings and alleviate the pressure that can accompany one-on-one first dates.“The goal has always been to bridge the online dating with the offline world,” says Cayla Gebhardt, spokeswoman. The goal is to get out and see how singles interact in real life.” To that end, Match, the largest online dating site with 1.8 million active members, launched The Stir, a campaign aimed at getting singles together at group outings.Online dating sites are using everything from bowling nights to bourbon-tasting to book swaps to get singles out from behind their computers and into social situations.What seems like a return to the old days of singles mixers and blind dates is actually a move among companies to improve user experiences, industry insiders say.
In Pittsburgh, happy hours are held at popular restaurants such as Savoy and Bar Louie. Eighty percent say they'd go to another one, Gebhardt says.
“They can meet people with the same background,” she says.