CEOs, Listen Up: Why OkCupid's Publicity Stunt Is A Total Win

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Did OkCupid really come out to support gay rights or their business agenda? Can doing both be OK?

Since when has OkCupid been an advocate for LGBT rights? When it makes business sense is the correct answer.

Does being pro-LGBT make business sense? Definitely.

OkCupid was most recently in the news for a story about a guy who "broke" their algorithm to find his perfect match. Now instead of being the butt of a news story they had no control over, OkCupid's CEO went on a campaign to create goodwill with LGBT people and their supporters using what is now a familiar strategy with a decidedly brash and public move to discredit Mozilla's new (and now former) CEO, Brendan Eich.

The story goes that Brendan Eich made a $1000 donation to the California's Proposition 8 to repeal same-sex marriage referendum a few years ago.

Does that mean Eich really is a bigoted homophobe? From where I sit as a lesbian, I'd say yes he is. The stories of CEOs not liking gays has been popular of late.

There was the spaghetti guy, the storage guy, the outfitter guy, the pizza guy and of course the guy with the cows who want us to eat chicken. And now enter the tech guy who is also anti-gay rights as proven by his donation.

That small cohort of right wing gay-disapproving male CEOs (I've yet to see a woman CEO accused of this) may all be friends behind the scenes cheering each other on because they all won the starring contest. None of those CEOs, besides Eich, were asked to leave.

In this Eich stands out as unique, but reports state he'd already lost the support of the board at Mozilla with three of six board members resigning when he was nominated to become CEO. That's the real reason he's gone, not that measly $1000 donation. 

OkCupid, was started by fou math majors then acquired by InterActive Corporation which owns multiple dating sites including and OkCupid. Sam Yagan, the CEO at and OkCupid is one smart guy.

The online dating industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and the competition for online daters and their dollars is intense. 

Getting more free publicity worth millions of dollars is indeed a big win for Yagan. Getting millions of eyes on OkCupid as a favored dating site is another big win.

What this publicity campaign got for Yagan may not be known until the financial quarterly results are reported but it has definitely upped OkCupid's cache in the eyes of the LGBT community.

This move has also elevated the cache of OkCupid in the eyes of advertisers who place ads on OkCupid's free site. Sam Yagan will be able to show more traffic to his site which will result in more ads at higher rates and — tada!— another big win for OkCupid.

What does this mean for the LGBT community? Well a couple of things come to mind. First is that many LGBT individuals who previously wouldn't have used OkCupid will now start using it.

Secondly, is the sense that our advocacy efforts to obtain equal rights do make a difference. When someone like Sam Yagan, a brilliant CEO, looks at our community and says, hey we can use this to uplevel the OkCupid brand not just with LGBT people but with their straight allies, that's significant.

It is only with the support of our straight allies that LGBT rights are being extended. We need them much more than they need us. We need their votes to make change happen. Am I now a big Sam Yagan supporter? No.

He's made donations to equally conservative politicians that do not support LGBT rights, but the notoriety gained by this PR move to ask individuals to stop using Firefox browsers to access OkCupid is just one more way that our cause gets attention. I’ll take it, thank you Sam!

Equal rights for LGBT people in this country is serious business. And anything positive that helps us move our cause forward is a good thing. Even this less-than-noble move by OkCupid. It's already made a difference.

People learned they were using a service, Mozilla's Firefox browser, that was headed by a guy who actively wants to deny us equal rights. In this country, that should never be ok.

Now where are the rest of the CEOs that have a voice and can make a difference and if it means they grow their bottom line, get millions in free publicity, have at it. What are they waiting for?

It's all going to help LGBT people in the long run. And though many people don't realize it, it'll help every single human being to give all human beings equal rights.