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Frequently Asked Questions


Who are you and why are you doing this?

We're a small company based in the greater Seattle area. We've been working hard on the site for a couple of years now and just launched the alpha release to get some feedback out of our users.

We want to build a safe and reliable way for people to make awesome new friends. We believe that there are people who would be great friends to each other but who will probably never meet: students who are cooped up studying all day or who can't find people who share their interests in their departments; new moms who barely have time to go out, let alone seek out new friends; couples who have moved to a new country and who don't know anybody there; people who have moved for work; and just normal people who have not made new long-lasting friends since high school or college, or who don't even have any great friends.


What does the word "Patook" mean, it sounds weird?

Our company founder heard his brother-in-law ask his kids for a "patook". After asking him what that means, he explained that it means "little hug" in Armenian, the kind you give to friends, family, or someone you're fond of. That's where the name is from and that's kind of the spirit of this site.


Is this an online dating site?

No - it is not. The basic expectation is for all interactions to be platonic (or professional). Of course, where it goes from there is up to you. However, we don't want anyone to feel any pressure. There are plenty of online dating websites out there - if you're on Patook it's primarily to make friends and to interact with the community of people around you. The only expectation we have of our users is to maintain a positive atmosphere and never intentionally make others feel bad.


So, what is Patook?

Patook.com is about making new friends by meeting the people who are near you and who share similar interests, as well as connecting local communities together.

It is foremost a friendship making service and nearly all interactions within the site are tailored towards making users get to know the people around them better while remaining safe.

It also introduces the concept of beacons, which are localized discussion groups meant to kickstart interaction between the users. Users create beacons and everyone within those beacons can interact with everyone else. Beacons can be as wide as cities (e.g. the Seattle beacon) or as narrow as a small library. That makes it easy to post discussions for everyone in your city to see and in the process meet new people.


Is it free?

Yes! Everything you see now will always be free to you. In the future, it's possible that new users won't have as many features as you and some of them will be made premium, but if you joined during the alpha or beta release you will always have them.


What is Patook's USP?

The point system is something we're particularly proud of. You assign points based on traits you're looking for and we go and find users for you and rank them based on how many points they got in your system. So if you're a new mom, you can assign 10 points to other moms. If you're an expat in Japan who's fluent in English, you could assign ten points to people who speak English. If you're a student in California who's into LoL or WOW you can add points. The result is that users are truly ranked based on your preference.

We're also pretty proud of our user ranking algorithm. We keep track of the ratings you give other users and try to find you great matches based on that. Sort of like what some websites do with movies: you rate a bunch of movies then they recommend other movies. We do that, but for friends. Your ratings are anonymous.

Our local beacon system allows you to talk to people who are within a certain area only. You can opt out of that of course but it is pretty cool if you're bored waiting at an airport, or you're looking for free food on campus.

We strive on having a community of really great people where users can feel happy and safe.


Explain to me the concept of beacon

A beacon is a local group. For example, a mall is a beacon. Whenever you are within a beacon's range, you can interact with everyone within it. Let's say you're at the beach and looking for volleyball players to join you - you can post onto the beacon asking for them.

Beacons have max-distances that vary. You can have a narrow beacon that's as small as a coffee shop, or you can have a much wider beacon that can reach all the way across your states (for example, all mothers in New York). Whenever you're within a beacon, you can see everyone else within them and see if there are people you'd like to interact with and/or meet in person.

Certain beacons have timers associated with them and disappear when they're done. Those are common for networking events and parties. You can post anything you want when you're within range of the beacon and all its contents will be deleted when it expires.


You said it's safe and secure on the homepage. What does that mean?

A couple of things. First, all the communications between you and the server happen through a highly encrypted connection. That's what the green box at the top left of your browser means.

Second, at no point are you required to provide your real name - you are asked for an e-mail address but you can use your non-primary one.

Third, you have very strict control over the kind of people who can see your profile. For example, you can only allow women to see you and be invisible to men if you want to (or vice versa). Or you can set up custom rules such as "only show my profile to women who have kids and who are over 50".

Fourth, you can join the site as a couple. This is actually a pretty common scenario with couples who moved somewhere new for work and just want to meet other similar couples.

Fifth, we take any reports very seriously and take action.

There's a lot more factors there but we are still in the alpha release so if you have any suggestions that will make you more comfortable, we'll do our best to make them happen.


Critiques? What's this? I hate it!

By default you are not signed up to receive critiques so don't worry. The people who you see are people who explicitly asked for others to review their profile. This is actually quite common - some people create their profile, upload their photos and then want opinions from other people about which photos they should keep and whether anything on their profile makes them sound bad. If you do want to get critiques for your profile, just tick the box at the top of the critique tab.


What's a mutual match?

A mutual match is triggered when two users rate each other highly. The hope is that you will start a conversation. If both of you are super shy, feel free to e-mail support and we'll introduce you :)


The translation of Patook into my language is wrong!

Thanks for reporting it! Please let us know what string is wrong and we'll have our translators look into it. Translations are usually a few weeks behind the website so if we developed a new feature in English, it will take a few weeks for it to be translated to the other languages.


What are badges?

Badges are awards given to our most involved users. They result in small ranking boosts as well as other rewards. The list can be found here.


Why does Patook ask for my location?

If you are moving around with your laptop or other device, Patook uses your location to figure out which beacons you are in. For example, if you just entered a coffee shop, Patook needs your location to update where you are and match you with other members in that same coffee shop. That said, you are free not to share your location, in which case Patook will assume you are always in a fixed location which is at the center of the city that you signed up in.


Why do I keep getting asked for my location?

This happens with some browsers. If you're asked for your location more than once, please click on the arrow next to the "Share" button and hit "Always share". If the always share button is not available, please right click on any page in Patook, and select "View Page Info". If you're on Mozilla, go to the "Permissions" tab, scroll down to "Access Your Location" and select "Allow". This should stop the repeated location queries.


What is the rating under the profile used for?

We don't share the rating under the users' profiles with them - rather we use it to try to figure out what kind of people you'd be most interested in meeting. Your sharing this information with us helps us improve our guesses.


Is any of this information public?

No - the information is only accessible to people who are logged in, and log in is done through an https secure portal (check the lock icon on your address bar). We also don't ask for or store your real name, phone number or real address. More information is available at the Privacy Policy at the link in the footer of the page.


What does everything do?

When you sign up, we send you an e-mail with a summary of what each of the tabs does. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions that you'd like to see answered on here.


I'd like you to implement this feature

We'd love to hear your suggestions about how to improve the site. Please use the "Send feedback" link on the left.


My question isn't here

Please use the link on the left to send us feedback about what kinds of questions you'd like to see answered here.


What's the point system?

The point system is a system of rules you define to give your target users points based on criteria they satisfy. It is unique to you. For example, you could choose to give people above a certain height 10 points, give people who play the violin another 5 points, or people whose interests include hiking 20 points. The points are summed up to give you the user's score and you can use that to better select your targets.


Is there a way to select who can view my profile?

Yes - you can set up the point system and make it so that only users whose profile gets a certain number of points can view your profile. Please use the General Settings ->Privacy Settings to do so.


What's the "our guess" rating?

We use sophisicated algorithms to predict how high we think you'd rate a certain user. The more actual ratings you give out, the more accurate our guesses become.


How can I delete my account?

Just click on the top right menu and select "General Settings". From there, scroll down to account deletion and click "Delete Account". A popup will show up explaining what it does and once you dismiss it, a "Confirm" button will be shown in the "Account deletion" section. Click on that and your account will be deleted.