Category Archives: Online Dating

Hillary’s Campaign: Too Similar to Mature Dating Site’s?


Hillary Clinton formally announced her run for President over the weekend, via Twitter. Showing social media savvy may be a good way to connect with some her party’s younger voters who turned out in droves for her former campaign rival, Barack Obama, during the 2008 campaign.

Not the brand association Hillary wants.
Not the brand association Hillary wants.

Unfortunately, this opening move might be slightly negated by her team’s choice of campaign slogan, “It’s Your Time.” As The Daily Caller points out, such a slogan, in addition to sounding like a cheesy self-help webinar ad, also echoes the tagline of online dating site, which helps Americans in their 50s and 60s find love.

The similarity is especially unfortunate in this case, as Clinton’s age will likely be made a potential issue should she win the nomination. In fact, as the same article points out, Republican candidates have already started to highlight it in connecting the new Clinton campaign as a relic of a past better forgotten.

Clinton would be the second oldest President to win, after Ronald Reagan, if she were to win it this time around.

What do you think? Is this a non-story that will be the first in many to fill the gaps in what is likely to be a stroll for Hillary to her party’s nomination and potentially back to the White House? Or is the choice of slogan a sign of early sloppiness that may show she hasn’t learned all her lessons from 2008? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 See also: 10 Compelling Niche Online Dating Sites

Online Dating: Don’t “Happn” Upon the Wrong Person


With all the investment flowing into the online dating space at the moment, it’s understandable that increasingly outlandish ideas will find backers and then appear in your mobile phone’s app store almost as quickly as they were dreamt up.

Happn wants to create more spontaneous coffee dates.
Happn wants to create more spontaneous coffee dates.

The latest incarnation, aimed at those who don’t find Tinder risqué enough, is Happn, an app that takes instant matching to the next level. What level that is exactly, is “to be determined”… just like the backgrounds of the dates that Happn will set you up with. That’s because Happn connects you to people in your precise physical location. In other words, those right inside your neighborhood coffee shop, at your regular supermarket, or next door to your apartment. In short, whomever you happen to “cross paths with.”

In one way, Happn, a French company that has launched its app in New York and as of this week, San Francisco, is the closest to the experience of “real life” encounters that often lead to first dates that any online dating platform has yet achieved. Happn’s backers have compared it to Craigslist’s missed connections page, whereby now their users will be able to more effectively act on such experiences.

Similar to the aims of Coupleizer, Happn tries to dispense with the elaborate pre-game show of multiple messages, elaborate profiles and weeks-long beanplating that can occur before an often disappointing and abruptly ended first date. In this way, Happn is firmly in the Tinder camp of “date now, ask questions later.”

As we mentioned in our post on Coupleizer, this approach does have some advantages. For example, many con artists rely on building up an emotional connection online which can play out over many months of messaging before they seek money or otherwise cause problems for their vulnerable victims. An online dating platform that cuts to the chase, will obviously not appeal to such elements.

However, we have also voiced our concerns about the immediacy of Tinder-style dating apps, their geo-location features and the pressure of matching with someone near you. Happn’s approach takes these concerns and elevates them to a new level. As Fast Company reports in its profile of the app, Happn zooms in on your location, within 275 yards.

This brings up any number of concerns, especially for those who have been stalked or harassed in the past. Additionally, at a time when many are concerned about their privacy and digital footprint, offering anyone who happens to use the same app as you the ability to potentially track your movements, raises alarm bells.

Keeping in mind how quickly flirting in a first message or date can go to malicious harassment afterwards, we think there are enough concerns here for users to seriously consider the use case for this app before crossing paths with anyone who “happns” by.

Tinder Charges Older Users Extra For Premium Access


Question: What’s more difficult than kissing your carefree twenties goodbye?

Answer: The realization that with your 30th birthday, Tinder will charge you twice as much to access its Tinder Plus premium service.

Tinder 3-3-15
Your Tinder Plus dates will be more expensive if you’re 30 and up. Photo credit: Chris Goldberg

What will Tinder Plus offer?

For starters, the much coveted ability to “reverse swipe,” which allows users to reconsider potential dates they have rejected. This will be a clutch added feature for those particularly desperate nights when users find new matches unavailable or unwilling. Additionally, Tinder Plus features Passport, the ability to browse users in different locations.

Unfortunately, if you’re 30 and older and want to enjoy these amazing benefits, you’ll need to pony up $20 per month, compared to just $10 per month for those 29 and under.

A spokesperson for Tinder defended the pricing structure by pointing to the harsh economic realities facing younger users, who have less pocket money to spend despite the fact that they all share each other’s Netflix and HBO Go passwords.

While the bold pricing move may surprise some, those familiar with our coverage of Tinder before shouldn’t be too shocked. Tinder’s success and fame is largely down to its popularity with younger users and its success at inserting itself into youth pop culture has been impressive.

In fact, as we have previously noted, the fastest growing age segment on Tinder is aged 13-17, registering 7% of total users according to Tinder’s CEO earlier this year. Far from viewing this as a problem for a site known for encouraging promiscuous hookups, Tinder’s business strategy likely involves growing their younger user base.

As Snapchat’s recent valuation has demonstrated, capturing younger users’ attentions and holding them long enough for advertisers to inject their products into their consciousness is a golden ticket for many of the new school of social networking and dating apps.

Ironically, for those apps like Tinder that have built their infrastructure around Facebook, the latter’s aging demographics may be a hindrance to staying top of mind with college-aged kids and twenty-somethings.

Hence we have the first of what may be many moves like it to continue to prioritize and incentivize younger users at the expense of us old fogies.

Perhaps, though, this is a blessing in disguise for older, more serious online daters as the platform’s suitability for delivering high quality matches is questionable at best. When polled, 64% of Tinder users viewed the app as “a game to play with” rather than a serious dating site.

Combined with its growing number of younger teenage users, perhaps the mature crowd is better spending its money elsewhere.

“Coffee Meets Bagel” Meets Big Money

You might remember the three impressive sisters from a recent episode of Shark Tank who turned down what seemed like an amazing $30 million offer from Mark Cuban for their dating platform Coffee Meets Bagel. I must admit, I thought they were over-confident (OK, crazy!) to turn down such a deal, but today comes news that their independent vision has been at least partly validated by raising $7.8 million in a fresh round of funding.

Everyone likes coffee and bagels, right? Photo credit: John Watson
Everyone likes coffee and bagels, right? Photo credit: John Watson

At the time the sisters rejected Cuban’s offer, one retorted that they see their business growing “as big as” In fact, the sisters have already raised nearly $3 million from’s founder who clearly sees the promise in the approach.

Whether that’s possible is still an open question, considering that Coffee Meets Bagel’s online dating system is more than just a twist on current online dating models; it looks to totally modify online daters’ behaviors by limiting matches to just one per day.

How does Coffee Meet Bagel work in detail?

The site is betting big on its ability to make quality matches based on use of your own social network. Like we wrote of SparkStarter before it, Coffee Meets Bagel uses your social network as a means of validating matches, giving users tired of Tinder and OKCupid’s less filtered approach of allowing any user to contact any other user.

Here’s the kicker: Coffee Meets Bagel sends one match per 24 hour period and only allows contact between the two users if both signal mutual interest. Obviously, it’s a much more considered, and some would say, limiting, approach to online dating. The concept is designed to mimic a “flash sale” which has become popular with indie e-commerce shops.

While Coffee Meets Bagel’s early success looks promising for its future, it’s hard to see it becoming truly mainstream service except for those that burn out of the most popular dating sites. Tinder’s wild popularity is driven as much by its game-like properties than its ability to find a truly compatible match.

And as we’ve argued before, the perceived validation of a potential match coming from your social network is only that: a perception.

Until then we can only speculate if the sisters would have been better off with Mark’s millions.

You can read more about Coffee Meets Bagel and watch their original Shark Tank segment over at Entrepreneur.

SparkStarter Allows Your Married Friends to Set You Up


It seems like every day there is a new online dating app coming to market. Part of this has to do with the fact that so many people are now dating online these days. As the numbers grow, so does the demand for different methods to match up with unknown singles in your area.

SparkStarter relies on your friends to help you find love. Photo credit: Phil Kates
SparkStarter relies on your friends to help you find love. Photo credit: Phil Kates

The latest app to enter the online dating arena is SparkStarter, which utilizes Facebook profiles to help create matches.

Sound like Tinder? Well, not exactly.

While the mechanism of the dating app is similar, with users marking yes or no when a potential match’s Facebook profile photo comes up, what sets it apart is its reliance on a community of non-single people.

Why would a dating app want attached people using it?

No, before you ask, SparkStarter isn’t catering to the swingers market. The app is simply betting that a platform that encourages personal recommendations from people you actually know will be more effective than the current methods of taking a guess based on someone’s photo, location and a few shared interests.

While some sites like OKCupid have taken profile data to the next level, relying on algorithmic matching, most OKC users are likely to have had at least one bad date with a compatibility match of 90% or more. That is, of course, when OKCupid is not experimenting on their users by intentionally matching them with incompatible dates.

So it seems clear that a gap in the matchmaking process of online dating does exist, but how likely is SparkStarter to be successful in filling it?

The app will need to convince enough married and coupled people that it’s worth their time to play matchmaker with their single friends. And this could backfire in the awkward event that a recommended date turns bad. One negative experience is likely to turn a new matchmaker off permanently from such activities.

More importantly, SparkStarter users will need to weigh the trustworthiness endorsements of “friends” on their social networks closely.

While SparkStarter’s approach, like The Grade before it, seeks to elevate the often shallow and ill-considered methods of choosing a date online, in almost all cases your friends won’t have 100% of the information about a person they are recommending for a date.

Follow your common sense and the well-tested best practices for dating unknown people, whether online or off, to ensure your safety.

Read more about SparkStarter on VentureBeat and let us know if you think this idea will work in the comments.

New Dating App Says Less Is More


One common problem with online dating is what’s known as the paradox of choice. Most dating apps provide so many potential matches, so many witty profiles and attractive photos that it can often cause anxiety or even paralysis in terms of making a decision to pick one person out of the vast crowd to go on a real date with.

New app promises more dates in real life, like this one.
New app promises more dates in real life, like this one.

The feeling of unlimited choice may have peaked with the emergence of Tinder, Grindr and similar apps that let you scroll through endless profile photos of people in your area. In fact, as we’ve noted before, a plurality of Tinder users actually view the dating app as more of a game than a legitimate site for meeting a romantic partner.

Enter Coupleizer. This new dating app tries to solve for the paradox of choice found on most dating sites by taking a minimalist approach to their users’ profiles to encourage more actual dating and less time spent scrolling on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

The site asks for just one up-to-date photo (a selfie, at that), along with very basic personal information such as age, gender and sexual orientation. It also does away with OKCupid-style algorithmic matching, which Coupleizers’ founders suggest is mostly wishful thinking.

Coupleizer’s “get to the date” method may help ward off the type online dating scammers we have warned you of before, who rely on building up a long-term, false intimacy via streams of messages, before then hitting up their lonely victims for money without ever meeting in person.

However, users should also be sure to take advantage of the chat feature when receiving a date invite and find out more about their potential matches than the minimal details on his or her Coupleizer profile. We think full name and specific location are a good start, and you can ask for more telling details as your intuition or common sense suggests you should.

Remember that information is power, and cutting out some of the unnecessary back and forth that can be prevalent in online dating shouldn’t mean entering into an information vacuum, nor going on a date with someone before you feel you have a good sense of who they are (and the data to back that feeling up).

You can read more about Coupleizer’s approach to online dating on TechCrunch.

What do you think? Is less more when it comes to online dating? Or are there pieces of information you must have before going on a date?