Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

My Fake Breakup on WotWentWrong.com

Another day, another dating Web site. But this one doesn’t pair people up for dates — it tells their dates what they did wrong.

Freshly launched WotWentWrong.com offers a way to send email feedback — positive or negative — after a date pulls a “fadeaway” (also known as the “never-call-again move”).

That’s so … wrong, you might be thinking. I tend to agree; If you can sit across from someone for an hour or two and divulge details about your life, you’re likely capable of speaking the words, “I’m sorry, but I’m not super interested.”

But if both parties are seeking more details, WotWentWrong.com provides a template for filling in the blanks.

To determine whether WotWentWrong is harsh or helpful, I staged a breakup, with the help of an accomplice. It began, as these things so often do these days, with a text message: “Hey. I’m going to send you an email. The idea is that I dumped you or you dumped me, okay?”

Okay, so now we’re not speaking, for some reason. But — what went wrong? Ding!

I signed up for WotWentWrong.com and indicated that I wanted to request feedback from “Weston.” There are a variety of request templates, ranging from “Cool” to “Flippant” to “Sincere.” I went with “Philosophical.”

Because, what better way to show someone you’ve moved on and are high on life again than to begin your email with a killer Benjamin Franklin quote?

In addition to the Ben Franklin quote, the body of the email was autofilled with a couple of sentences, and one question: “What went wrong with us?” I had the option to make changes within the template, but I left the letter as it was.

My full name was auto-signed at the conclusion of the note (just in case someone forgets your last name … or first name?)

At the next step, I was asked to rate — on a scale of one to five, five being the highest — how attractive I found my dating partner, whether I thought he was a good dresser, and what his conversation skills were like. Then I sent the email.

While waiting, I decided to also give feedback:

This template is supposed to help people who have a hard time articulating what was so wrong with their date, though the company says an emphasis is placed on “being nice” here.

Was the opt-out related to the person’s lifestyle habits? Was it a physical mismatch? Did the person disrespect you in some way? Is he or she too intense? The dropdown options get pretty specific.

I selected a few, then elaborated on some made-up problems, such as “You make me laugh too hard.”

Then I sent my feedback — but before I sent it, I was asked whether I wanted to throw in a couple positive remarks for good measure.

In the meantime, I got a response to my request for feedback. My problems, as it turns out: I’ve got a great personality and I’m too punctual. And I’m too tall. Also, there was some quote in there from “Billy Madison” — which was almost as deep as my Benjamin Franklin quote.

So there you have it — a trial run on WotWentWrong.com. While this particular example didn’t cause any flesh wounds, the app has enough feedback options to certainly shatter someone’s confidence after an already-bad date.

At the same time, in the age of digital dialogue, a site like this offers another way for someone to express things that might not be all that bad, or might help someone out next time.

Of course, the recipient doesn’t have to respond to your request for feedback at all. Which means, then, you’re just that person who asked for it. Through a dating app. One that spells “What” incorrectly.

WotWentWrong.com was created by Audrey Melnik, a developer based in Melbourne, Australia. Melnick bootstrapped the site herself, which officially launched yesterday. Currently, WotWentWrong is only available online and not through mobile applications, though users can access the site through a mobile Web browser.

The site is free to use, but don’t let that fool you: Dating sites are excellent at getting very personal — and even valuable — data from users. WotWentWrong plans to create an anonymous stats page, so users can check out the most popular breakup reasons, as well as other potentially useful nuggets of dating data.

Also, there’s unique advertising potential for a site like this, and Melnik is seeking strategic partnerships with dating experts and products. Say, for example, a user gives their dumped date the feedback that they had bad breath. A “suggested products” recommendation of breath-freshener items could appear.

If direct feedback and breath-freshener ads don’t cripple someone’s confidence, then I don’t know what will!


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle