To solve the marriage problem of many single Christians in Chinese churches, Christian programmers decided to develop a dating website for single Christians.
Brother Song, a Christian programmer, analyzed that the main reasons for a large number of single people in churches were information asymmetry and narrow channels for making friends. Most single Christians had little contact with other Christians during the weekdays except that they come to church on Saturday and Sunday. Even in the church, they couldn’t possibly know each other that well.
Song said, “If one million single believers gather on the platform, single members from all over the world can meet and get to know each other through the platform, and it will be much easier for everyone to find the right one for them. Then the marriage problem among single believers will be greatly alleviated.”
With such a vision, the website “Glovem.com” (My Beloved & Lover) was launched in June 2019.
Song and his fellow workers originally planned to turn the dating website into a public welfare platform for singles, charging only 25 yuan for real-name authentication for registered members.
In the early days, Song and his workers came into contact with many single Christians from different places, most of whom were very pious and sensible. However, they also had to face a painful fact: there were many believers with low quality, low level of education, low cognitive level, and no manners...
“A brother with a junior high school degree on the platform said that the construction of this website cost no more than 100 yuan. He said this website should not charge fees,” said Song helplessly. “The logic goes something like this: Hotels and restaurants run by the believers should all be free.”
In fact, after several rounds of secondary development, the web development cost tens of thousands yuan, and the annual server and security expenses also reached more than 20,000 yuan, let alone the daily maintenance fee.
The low threshold for website registration caused many problems. For example, some heretics tried to recruit believers in the name of dating or marriage-seeking; some people tried to lure people to do direct selling or pyramid selling in the name of making friends; some members were married, but they claimed that they were divorced and tried to date single women; a number of so-called Christian men sent the nude photos of some women to them as a way of extorting money; some people were in multiple relationships at the same time, which caused the heartbreak of some others who were so furious that their personal profiles turned hidden.
Facing this situation, the website staff also experienced disappointment, pain, and helplessness. However, in May 2020, they decided to change their strategy: from then on, the website would no longer be a public welfare platform. Instead, they would make it a commercial platform and take a high-end route. They would only serve high-end groups in the church and those who sincerely seek spouses.
This means raising the threshold of registration, strictly checking the information of each member, their church information, faith background, and so on. Those that fail to pass the certification or falsify their data will be directly blacklisted and exposed. At the same time, while the real-name authentication fee of the website remains 25 yuan, the permissions of ordinary members are appropriately reduced (for example, the former 30 private messages can be sent every day, but now only 10 private messages instead), and the fees of various VIP levels are increased accordingly.
Since its launch about two years ago, more than 1,500 Christians, accounting for more than 10 percent of the total members, have found their partners (including those who have obtained marriage certificates, are planning to get married or are in a relationship) on the website.
The workers of the website also organize offline activities of single Christians from time to time.
Just on October 30, the in-person activity of single Christians born in the 1970s and 1980s was held in Beijing Olympic Forest Park, with more than 20 believers participating.
- Translated by Nicolas Gao