We often solicit the advice of strangers online. Platforms like Answers.com aggregate millions of questions and answers on a whole host of topics. There are niche services like Yelp for restaurant reviews and Angie's List for local businesses.
Typically, however, there's an assumption that the people we're seeking insights from are somehow of like-mind. But sometimes we want to know what the polar opposite are thinking, particularly what the opposite gender might think about various topics. How much better does my face look with this amazing mustache (38 percent)? Are low-riding jeans still in (I hope not)? Should I call a girl 28 times in the span of three days after an event (most definitely)?
Founded in 2007 by Turkish-immigrant Tolga Tanriseven, he dreamt it up at a bar with a friend. Both had girlfriends, so they weren't making any, well, moves. Rather, they watched other girls and guys hit on each other.
"I kept seeing a lot of rejections from both sides," Tanriseven recently said. "It wasn't about who approached who. Instead the issue I kept seeing was guys were approaching girls the ways they thought was right or cool instead of figuring out how girls liked to be approached. Vice-versa was true as well in the rare cases where a girl approached a guy. "
After detoxing, GirlsAskGuys began its start, and the company has experienced exponential growth year-over-year, with more than 10 million monthly uniques to date. Although the company has had both English and Turkish sites, Tanriseven and his team recently launched a Spanish version, with a Portuguese version expected to launch soon. Sites in other languages are expected to roll out in the next year.
As of May, GirlsAskGuys had received more than 2 million questions and more than 35 million answers, helping to close the cross-gender gap. The questions come from all across the board. In the last minute alone while writing this, answers have been posted to questions including, "32 year old hitting on a 20 year old: creepy? Or not?," "Is it gay that I'm thinking of getting a pedicure," and even the risqué such as, "Do girls check out dick prints?"
Given the line of questioning, it's probably safe to say that the community is primarily comprised of the under-30 crowd. And don't let the name mislead you -- guys are also allowed to ask questions. In fact, only a small majority of the questions asked are from girls and answered by guys. The company is also moving beyond its roots as a place where strangers ask each other questions. A popular feature is the poll, where members can ask simple questions such as, "Which of these mustaches looks best?," and get answers from hundreds or even thousands of respondents. Plus, the platform is also now commonly bringing experts in to comment.
GirlsAskGuys appears well positioned to take the next steps. Jim McKelvey, co-founder of digital payments firm Square, is among the company's advisors. And after raising $1 million in the fall of 2013 - much of it from St. Louis-based private equity firm O'Brien Capital - Tanriseven has eyes on growth. He will soon embark on a fresh round of fundraising believing that, despite all the clutter taking place in the Web, GirlsAskGuys is a focused platform that allows people to seek a diverse range of opinions from people eager to help a stranger in need.
"In almost any topic, you want to hear from someone who has been there before and experienced whatever that situation may be," he said. "This is especially true for relationships and dating."