Chilean social network links up shy lovers

It’s Valentine’s Day but you haven’t plucked up the courage to tell that special someone how you feel…. if this sounds familiar, check out Chile’s latest online phenomenon.

Valentine’s Day is meant to be a celebration of romance, but for every candlelight dinner and clink of champagne glasses there’s a profession of love left unsaid and an empty bed.
So it’s no surprise that, only four months after its launch, a Chilean social network that lets users make discreet overtures toward their would-be lover has already attracted 30,000 members and claims 1,500 success stories.
But Sebastian Arteaga, the site’s co-founder, is adamant that Huntcha.com is not a dating site.
“This is a network for people who are romantically interested in someone and have not dared to say so, to do it in a safe place,” Arteaga told AFP. “We are not a dating site.”
So how does it work? Users put a list of people that they know and with whom they would like to start a relationship. The maximum number on the wish list is nine. If two people place one another on their lists, a message is sent to inform each party of their mutual admiration, and let them know that the time has come to buy flowers and push dirty laundry under the bed.
The site works through Facebook, to verify a user’s identity and, like the social networking giant, Huntcha membership is free.
And like all good matchmakers, the Chilean site maintains strict confidentiality. Using Facebook as a platform also makes sure that people already know each other, and are not just compiling a fantasy list.
“It works if you want to make known your special interest in friends, teachers, neighbors or your brothers’ and sisters’ friends, not with people like Angelina Jolie,” explains Arteaga.
Once you’ve made a Valentine’s Day connection, here’s a list of romantic Chilean activities to check out. Or, for a more academic history of love and lovers of Santiago, click here.