In Writing

There are many reasons to like OKCupid, the dating site created by Harvard students of SparkNotes fame.  It’s a fun and clever way to meet new people and attracts a brainier crowd that the likes of Match and even eHarmony.  But today you can add one more reason to love it: its stand against Firefox’s choice of CEO.

Firefox is a browser that carries about a quarter of all internet traffic (down from its height of roughly 46% in 2010).  It’s fine as browsers go.  I once had a techie friend convince me to try it as an alternative to Internet Explorer back in 2003 by telling me, “All the cool kids are using it.”  Its problem isn’t its service, but its CEO.  Six years ago, Brendan Eich donated $1,000 to Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay-marriage law.

So, yesterday, OKCupid users trying to access the website from Firefox got this screen instead of OKCupid’s quirky blue one:

okcupid

A significant portion of OKCupid’s traffic comes from Firefox, so it’s a bold move to interrupt it this way with a political statement.  It’s corporate responsibility at its best, OKCupid putting its money where its mouth is, risking alienating users or confusing them into going away in order to make a point.  It’s refreshing.  For the decision-makers at OKCupid, it’s more important to stand by principles than by profit.  (Although, of course, one could argue that the attention they’re getting from this stance makes up for whatever losses they may suffer.  This is PR gold).  Still, whatever the calculations that led to this decision, I applaud it.  They single-handedly helped draw attention to the views of a CEO that will have a hand in shaping policy at one of the main internet browsers, views that are discriminatory and wrong.

Read the full text of OKCupid’s “interruption” statement and, if you’re a dating website type, consider supporting their bold move by using them more often.  If you’re not, just spread the word about this cool and brave company:

Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.

However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid: 

To see the message live yourself, switch to Mozilla Firefox then click here.

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