Women have a habit of mainly talking about the bad stuff when gossiping about relationships with friends. We don’t need to analyze the good stuff, only the bad, and that’s where friends come in as counsel. So what if there was a way that friends could monitor an entire relationship and have the big picture when offering advice?
In comes WotWentWrong, a website started by Audrey Melnik, an Australian entrepreneur bootstrapping her business with money saved up from her work in IT consulting. This week she’s launching a new feature on the site, allowing users to track their relationships and crowdsource relationship advice.
Melnik started WotWentWrong last summer after a relationship ended, and she wanted to know why. She didn’t have the confidence to ask her ex-boyfriend directly, so she created a non-confrontational environment for getting relationship closure.
WotWentWrong allows men and women to send a request through the site, asking the ex what happened. It provides a multiple choice questionnaire that can be filled out simply and quickly. For example, was it physical? Were your emotional needs not met? Was it too much arguing? It basically offers an array of reasons why you wouldn’t date someone.
Let’s say Jack dumps Jill. Jill wants to know why. Jill answers a few questions about Jack before sending her request so that Jack receives a message reading, “Jill has answered a few questions about you. To see her responses, please fill out this feedback request.” Curiosity gets the best of Jack, and he fills out the feedback request in order to see what Jill may have said about him.
Melnik admits the site might be ahead of its time in terms of asking especially men what went wrong and getting them to respond. (Because men are typically so open with their feelings, right?) But little by little it’s picking up steam. The feedback requests now have a 30 percent response rate. But as of yet, it still hasn’t been fast enough for Melnik to attract funding.
To accelerate growth, Melnik has decided to expand the site’s offering, while still bootstrapping. Although still in beta with an invite-only user base, WotWentWrong now allows users to create anonymous profiles to track their relationships and crowdsource advice from other WotWentWrong users, who can access the entire relationship at a glance. With the click of the mouse, a user can document the day he or she met someone special, their first date, their first kiss, their (ahem) first time, and expand on any details in a blog, which also appears on their profile. They can make it public to allow others to follow them and weigh-in on their relationship. In the future they’ll alos have the option to keep it private and send updates to friends-only.
The online dating space is a crowded one. Match.com or eHarmony could easily allow their users to create relationship trackers and crowdsource advice. But since it’s already built, I almost see WotWentWrong as a potential acquisition target. Even Cosmopolitan magazine or Allure might find Melnik’s offerings as an attractive addition. Those popular publications do offer dating advice for women, though this is in the form of either generic advice or through advice columns, as in only for the selected few whose questions are chosen to be answered publicly. Meanwhile, WotWentWrong offers real-time feedback from its community.
“My hope is that everyone will learn from one another’s mistakes and ultimately improve their dating lives,” says Melnik.
Nikhil Kalghatgi, Venture Capitalist at Softbank is concerned about whether or not relationship tracking will catch on. He says, “The ‘whole picture’ of a meaningful and complex relationship isnt a list of milestones or a Facebook Timeline.”
Kalghati goes on to say, “In fact, accurately sharing details of your relationship, let alone with the world and in real-time, is very hard to do, and therefore the advice may not be good advice.”
But Melnik says this is only the first phase of her model. She plans to bring in the pros. Her goal now is to raise funding to build out the site to also provide real-time professional advice from counselors and psychologists, which would potentially serve as the revenue opportunity for the site.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]