Are you an IITian looking for some quality time as a welcome break from the drudgery of studies? Or, let’s put it this way: Are you looking to date with none else but the brilliant IIT-types?
If the answers are yes, help is at hand – or, rather a mouse. Three IIT Kharagpur engineers have come up with a first-of-its-kind dating platform, called dateiitians.com. The brainchild of Layak Singh, Kinshuk Bairagi and Nikhil Kaushik, the website says it “attempts to connect IITians with non-IITians through a social networking medium”.
The objective of the website, however, is far more ambitious than just “connect”. But you need to be patient: the first stage is the "buddy" request; once that is accepted, comes the “flirt” request with facilities like sending virtual gifts and custom messages. Once the registered users cross that stage, you get access to “crush” request. If that is also confirmed by the intended recipient, you move on to the final stage – called “proposal”. There is nothing to worry if the “proposal” isn’t accepted – you can send similar proposals to another person after five days.
With a new version of the site coming up in August, users would also be able to avail of many “premium” services such as 3D chat on the portal.
The site, set up a few months ago has more than 10,000 registered users, 40 per cent of which are IIT and IIM students, both current as well as former. The rest are students from NITs, Medicals, BITs and other regional engineering colleges.
The website developers are now spreading the net wider. An international version of the site called cogxio.com, targeting global universities is expected to be launched in the next few weeks.
"IITians are considered the most techies, geeks and nerds in India, so our aim was to connect IITians to others, so that both can interact with each other," said Layak Singh, co-founder of the site. About 30-35 per cent users are females, according to him.
The first step, which is the registration process has various steps. After an email verification and a mobile number verification, the personal identity is also verified. To restrict creation of fake profiles, one needs to submit a scanned copy of the PAN card or school/office ID. Only after the details are verified, the account is activated in the next 24 hours.
Once registration is complete, the site works like a social networking site. One can upload pictures, put up status messages, write testimonials and send private messages. Chat options are also available. There is also an option to like, dislike and comment on status updates. The dislike option is unique to the site. One can also create albums and rate pictures of each other, which are visible to their contacts.
The portal has tie-ups with a few service providers, wherein one can buy real gifts. As one progresses from one stage to the other, a user can collect points which can later be exchanged for real gifts from the portal.
The portal generates revenue through its gifting services and advertising options on the site. "The present portal is only 20 per cent of what the final version in August will offer. The new version will have more interaction options. However, the process of verification will also get stricter," said Singh.
Singh added that the portal will look for funding after the new version is launched. "People in this country fear dating. If we are able to remove that fear, our job is done," he said.