Cloud Girlfriend is an entertainment application in which users create idealized virtual versions of them and have “dates” with virtual versions of other users. They call themselves a “virtual fake dating” service, but this is more role-playing with fantasy characters. Future plans to monetize the site include offering virtual gifts to purchase for users’ virtual dates.
Cloud Girlfriend was founded by David Fuhriman and Kusno Mudiarto in 2011. The original idea for Cloud Girlfriend – as explained by the founders – was that the site would create a “perfect” fake girlfriend who would tweet and post on users’ Facebook walls. Possibly due to Twitter and Facebook Terms of Service, the application turned out to be quite a bit different.
Cloud Girlfriend is an anonymous virtual dating world. Participants are role-playing and can create whatever virtual “character” they wish to be.
Once connected, users must select a profile photo for their virtual self. There are a lot of choices- including some celebrity photos. Then the user must make some choices about both their character and their “Perfect Match”. These choices include: Books or Movies; Talkative or Shy; Sunday Church or Sunday Football; In-laws or Bar Buddies; and Don Juan or Don Quixote. Users create brief fantasy bios for themselves as well as their prospective dates, in 140 characters or less. Last, the user creates a fantasy name. After all of that, the user clicks “find a date”. During testing, a female virtual character that is bookish and likes technology was created. A modest photo was chosen with a girl peeking over a book. There was nothing flirtatious or suggestive in the profile or name.
The Find a Date page allows users to browse through images and profiles of other virtual users to request dates. Obviously, some users take the app more seriously than others – not that their answers aren’t amusing – but some have written random letters, etc. instead of completing a profile. When a user finds a date they want to meet, they click “request a date” and wait to see if the date is accepted.
Profiles may be edited at any time via the dashboard. Until a user either requests or accepts a date, there is nothing else to do on the site. During testing, a date was offered within an hour. This led to a chat room, but the user who requested the date appeared to be offline. There is a link to report inappropriate contact on the chat page. Two more dates were offered within minutes. None of these were people that dates had been requested from. These were all “dates” that had chosen the virtual test profile. Overnight, a total of 11 date invitations were received. Out of those, 3 were looking for someone “slutty” which was not in the virtual profile offered by our test. Those dates were declined.
None of the dates was immediately available for chat, so testing was suspended briefly. Even though one person appeared to be online, he did not respond to the chat greeting. This seemed to be the overall experience. During testing, 15 of 25 dates were accepted based on profiles that were not overtly sexual or objectionable. One flirt was accepted, just to see what kind of conversation would be by typical with this kind of user.
During use, the accepted “dates” were rarely online. Some (very few) left messages for conversation, but if both parties were not online, it felt more like leaving a message on a forum for someone than having a virtual “date”. It was impossible, over the two days of testing, to actually catch any of the “dates” online. Several more date requests were received, and users should beware of those with links in their profiles or those with vulgarity in their names or profiles.
Users must give Cloud Girlfriend access via Facebook. They ask permission to view basic data and send emails, but not to post on the users’ walls.
Cloud Girlfriend says that it will always be free.
Cloud Girlfriend would likely appeal to people who enjoy MMORPGs like Second Life because of the virtual characterizations and eHarmony for the dating aspect. There’s no action, only chatting in character, but everything is anonymous and users can pretend to be whomever they wish.