March 08, 2006

Focus on Frumster

Susanne, Derek, Doree, me, and Ben at the Frumster focus group

I just got back from attending a Frumster focus group and dinner, hosted at Mr. Broadway in Manhattan. Not only am I a member of the service, but I also collaborated with Frumster on the "We Need A Mensch" cartoon campaign to celebrate their 500th marriage. So I was particularly interested in participating in their effort to improve the service.

The name Frumster.com itself was a topic of discussion. For some, the term frum connotes ultra-orthodoxy or piety, and Frumster staff were concerned that the name may be turning off non-Orthodox Jews from even visiting the site, (FYI, "Traditional" is a term that Frumster formerly used to describe Jews of non-Orthodox background). I personally like the name "Frumster", and don't think they should worry about it scaring potential clients. Frumster recently announced having opened its gates to us Traditional Jews, (though non-Orthodox members were welcomed into the fold over a year ago) and since then, signups have grown exponentially.

We also talked about the invisible rift between some Orthodox and Traditional Jews on Frumster.com. Many open-minded Jews are willing to date members of the "opposite stream", while others are flat out offended by the prospect. It sure is difficult to accommodate the needs of everyone in an online dating community of such varied philosophies. Frumster's Director of Marketing, Derek, explained that every time a new variable is added to the system, in an attempt to please some and protect others, it becomes a programming and logistical nightmare!

Focus group attendees, focusing

Doree and me, post-brainstorm

The neon lights are shining bright on Mr. Broadway

Frumster's Derek and me

Besides the brainstorming, we were also treated to a bountiful dinner, and it was fun to actually meet other members of the Frumster community ... which is a first for me, despite being a "PremActive®" member! It's true, I am a victim of Ortho-Traditional discrimination: Fear of no black hat. It was the catalyst that ignited my Shabot comic strip in the first place.

I'll just have to attend more focus groups.

6 comments:

Andrea Smurf said...

Thats interesting, thanks for sharing.
I don't see why denomination (do we Jews call it that?) should be such a huge nightmare. It seems like every dating service has a large number of variables that they offer and that is one of the staples of a dating service. I have not used Frumster, but Jdate seems to have that aspect down pretty well. You just check the box(es) for what kind of Jews you're interested in meeting. I'm sure its way more complicated than that, but anyways thats my input. :)

SusQHB said...

that was great dude. maybe the next focus group we do we'll be paid in more than hamburgers.

Doree said...

Is there something in my teeth in that picture?

Anonymous said...

Why not just marry Doree?

Anonymous said...

That Doree is pretty cute, you should definatly take her our on a date with just the 2 of you.

Beth Donenfeld said...

Thanks for showing me this post, Ben. I agree that Doree should just give in and meet you at the Chuppah for your next date, but that's the Machmir in the "Modern Orthodox: Machmir" in me talking.