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By Cherisse Moe
ARE YOU HAVING A HARD TIME finding true love? Have
you gone out on dates only to find out that the person
was a complete nutcase and wasn't even worth your
time? Have traditional dating sites like eHarmony, OkCu-
pid and Match.com failed you? Well, all hope is not lost.
NextComesLove.com may be just what you're looking for
to find "the one." The newly-launched online dating site
aims to help people in the Caribbean, specifically T&T, Ja-
maica and Barbados, find compatible partners.
The brain behind the project is Jamaican Monique Powell,
who got the idea for the site earlier this year after trying
other popular dating sites, but being continuously disap-
pointed that people from similar backgrounds and cul-
tures were so hard to find. The Kingston native says while
the online dating market is booming with over 40 million
people in the US alone having tried it, she felt disen-
chanted by the lack of diversity.
"When I browsed around, I realised that there weren't
many people from Jamaica or the region in general. I
started thinking about it and wondered why there wasn't
a Caribbean version to facilitate this kind of thing for our
people, for us to meet, connect and find love," Powell tells
WOW. So, she decided to take matters into own hands.
Her background in web development and digital marketing
came in handy, as she was familiar with building websites
and conducting market research. Powell, who works in the
financial sector in Jamaica, says she asked family, friends
and strangers on social media, if they would welcome a
dating site exclusively for Caribbean nationals. The answer
was a resounding yes.
"All my friends thought it was a great idea. A male friend
said he would be the first person to sign up. When I told
my mother she was a bit sceptical, but she's from a dif-
ferent generation, so that's understandable," she says,
laughing. Powell officially launched the site on September
16 and within the first week, it gained over 100 members.
Fifty percent were Jamaican, close to 30 were from T&T
and the rest were from Barbados. Roughly 60 per cent of
the members, she says, are men.
From her research, Powell says she discovered there were
several questions people preferred to know the answer to
up front before even considering dating someone online.
Among them were the person's religion, education level,
ethnicity, smoking habits and whether or not they had
kids. These are among ten questions which potential
members need to fill out before joining. And although the
dating site focuses on the three islands, Powell is quick to
point out that anyone who wants to join can.
"I chose Jamaica, T&T and Barbados based on the level of
internet penetration in those markets as well as the pop-
ulation size. But it's not to say that people from outside
these areas are excluded. Depending on how it takes off
--- and I think it will --- there will most likely be some ex-
pansion, but registration is open to everybody," she ex-
Powell notes that she's aware that some people may be
apprehensive about "putting themselves out there", espe-
cially with the proliferation of catfishing (luring someone
into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona).
However, she seeks to address this problem by educating
members about the do's and don'ts of dating online via a
starter guide video posted on the site. There, interested
members will find important safety tips and guidelines on
how to use dating websites responsibly. Powell has also
launched an accompanying blog, called Cupidly Speaking,
where articles on dating, love and relationships will be
posted to the site.
But why does true love seem to be so hard to find these
days? Powell believes there are several reasons --- one
being, people simply don't have the time. That's where she
says online dating comes in. "Today, people are too busy
to go out and meet other people with the same frequency
that they used to. Whether it's because of work or other
reasons, people just don't have the time to go out and
date. Some may be on the shy side, and so initiating con-
versations online takes a lot of the pressure off, as op-
posed to introducing yourself to somebody at a bar or a
club. When you go to an online dating site, you know that
everyone is there for the same reason," she asserts.
Powell hopes that in the near future NextComesLove.com
will boast many success love stories and encourage more
and more people, especially from the Caribbean, to sign
up. "You'll never know unless you give it a try. What do you
have to lose?" she says.
4 | WOW MAGAZINE
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