Unlike other dating sites, Grouper takes the matchmaking process completely out of your hands. Grouper reviews, however, indicate that users aren't always thrilled about relinquishing control. The model may be generating buzz and is certainly unique, but reviews at Venture Beat conclude it is inherently flawed. Grouper organizes blind dates between two groups of three friends, and expectations of chemistry between every participant -- especially in a group setting -- would seem to be an exercise in futility. One Grouper player asserts in a review that the six-person dates typically fizzle after the first round of drinks, although some participants have reported successful matches and the site generally garners an average rating from those daring enough to give it a whirl.
Each threesome is formed by a group leader who indicates when and in which city he or she would like to go out and then corrals two Facebook friends of the same gender to join the fun. Grouper matches two groups whose leaders seem compatible and dates and locations are in sync. There are no personality questions and user profiles contain only basic information, such as age, height, and preferred alcoholic drink, making the matching process somewhat of a mystery. Apparently, Grouper trolls through Facebook and attempts to match groups through distant connections and an algorithm that determines who has similar interests. The day before the date, Grouper emails logistical details to the leaders.
The general premise behind Grouper is that of a dating concierge service. It charges each participant $20, books a spot at a bar or restaurant, and buys the first round of drinks. Anyone with a serious interest in three-way blind dates can shell out $60 for a month and embark on four group dates. A free app is also available.
Grouper has little to offer beyond the blind date structure. It might hold interest for anyone looking to give non-traditional online dating a spin but is unlikely to be a source of matches for anyone actively seeking a strong one-on-one relationship through an online dating site.