Hinge is free, but you can pay for extra features — here’s what the dating app offers

An Android phone displaying the Hinge app, inside of someone's pocket.
A Hinge Preferred Membership isn’t free, but can enhance your dating app experience.

  • Hinge is free to download and use, but you can pay money for extra features.
  • Hinge’s “Preferred Membership” gives you unlimited likes, extra filters, and more for $30 per month.
  • You can also buy Roses and Boosts, which prioritize your profile for other users.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Like most dating apps, you can use Hinge forever without paying a cent. But also like other dating apps, you can pay to unlock extra features.

Hinge gives users three ways to pay: You can buy a Preferred Membership, Roses, or Boosts. Each of these features does different things, and costs a different price.

Here’s what you can get on Hinge if you pay.

Hinge is free, but has a paid membership version

You can download Hinge for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and you can make an account without providing any payment information.

But there are some limits on your account. For example, you can only give out 8 likes every day — after that, you can only browse profiles without interacting.

The solution to this is a Hinge Preferred Membership. The Preferred Membership gives you unlimited likes, meaning that you have a lot more chances to make a match. 

Along with that, it unlocks almost a dozen new filters, including height, political stance, drug use, and more. You also have the option to immediately match with anyone who likes you. If you want to find close matches quickly, this can really help.

All the filters that you can unlock on Hinge with a Preferred Membership.
All the filters that you can unlock on Hinge with a Preferred Membership.

Hinge’s Preferred Membership costs $29.99 for a month, $59.99 for three months, and $89.99 for six months.

The menu that lets you sign up for a Hinge Preferred Membership.
Hinge offers three types of Preferred Membership plan.

Alternatively, if you don’t want a monthly fee, you can buy Roses and Boosts.

Roses are similar to likes, but sending a Rose to someone bumps you to the front of their feed. They’re always seen before regular likes, and let the person know that you’re really interested.

You can buy Roses in a pack of three for $9.99, a pack of 12 for $29.88, and a pack of 50 for $124.50. You also get one Rose for free every Sunday.

The menu that lets you buy Roses on Hinge.
You can’t buy individual Roses — you have to get a bundle.

Boosts, meanwhile, make it so your profile appears on more users’ feeds for an hour. Hinge claims you’ll be seen by 11 times more people. You can also buy a “Superboost,” which boosts your profile for an entire day instead of one hour.

One Boost costs $9.99, a pack of three Boosts costs $26.97, and a pack of five Boosts costs $44.95. A Superboost costs $19.99.

The menu on Hinge that lets you buy Boosts.
Boosts work for an hour, but Superboosts work for a day.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Bumble is free, but you can pay for extra features — here’s what the dating app offers

Bumble dating app
You can use Bumble’s basic features for free.

  • Bumble is free to use, but you can pay to unlock new features like advanced filters and profile boosts.
  • The Bumble Boost plan costs $16.99 for a month, and gives unlimited likes and “rematches.”
  • Bumble’s more expensive Premium subscription costs $39.99 for a month, or $229.99 for a lifetime plan.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps on the market. And it can chalk up a lot of that success to being free to download and use.

But although you can use Bumble for years without paying a cent, if you want to become a Bumble power user, you might want to consider a subscription. Bumble offers two different subscription plans — Boost and Premium — along with Spotlight and SuperSwipe, two features you can buy separately.

Here’s everything to know about Bumble’s paid plans, and how they can spice up your dating app life.

Bumble is free, but lets you pay for extras

When you download and sign up for Bumble, you don’t need to provide any credit card information or billing addresses. You can use the app’s basic features — swiping, matching, chatting — for free.

But paying money can give your profile an edge over the competition. Head to your profile, and you’ll see options to buy a Spotlight or SuperSwipe.

Spotlights, which cost between $6.99 for one or $54.99 for a pack of 30, are boosts that make your profile appear on more users’ profiles for half-an-hour. Bumble claims that they can get you “Up to 10x more matches” than just swiping normally. 

Meanwhile, SuperSwipes are like Tinder’s Super Likes — when you give someone a SuperSwipe, it puts you at the front of their feed and shows that you’re really interested. SuperSwipes cost between $3.50 for two and $45.99 for a pack of 30.

The menu on Bumble where you can buy Spotlights or SuperSwipes.
Bumble claims that both Spotlights and SuperSwipes can help you meet more people.

And if you like these features but want more, consider Bumble’s paid membership tiers.

You can sign up for Bumble’s paid subscriptions

Although they’re more expensive, Bumble offers two subscription plans. These plans give you Spotlights and SuperSwipes, along with other features.

Bumble Boost

Bumble Boost is the cheaper of the two memberships. It gives you:

  • One Spotlight and five SuperSwipes each week
  • Unlimited likes
  • Unlimited “Extends,” which let you keep your matches even after they would normally expire
  • Unlimited “Rematches,” which let you reconnect with expired matches)
  • Unlimited “Backtracks,” which let you undo accidental left swipes

Boost costs $8.99 for a week, $16.99 for a month, $33.99 for three months paid upfront, or $54.99 for six months paid upfront.

A page showing what features you unlock with Bumble Boost.
Boost doesn’t have as many features as Premium, but they share a lot of perks.

Bumble Premium

Bumble Premium costs more, but gives almost twice as many features as Boost.

With Premium, you’ll get all the features of Boost, as well as:

  • The Beeline, which lets you see who’s already liked you
  • Advanced filters for your feed
  • Incognito mode, which hides your profile from users that you haven’t liked
  • Travel mode, which lets you change your location to see people in other states or countries

Bumble Premium costs $19.99 for a week, $39.99 for a month, $76.99 for three months paid upfront, or a one-time fee of $229.99 for a lifetime subscription that unlocks all the Premium features forever.

A page showing the features of Bumble Premium.
Bumble Premium offers more ways to find matches.

How to log into Bumble on your phone or computerHow to delete your entire Bumble account, or only erase your ‘Date Mode’ accountHow to cancel your Bumble Boost subscription on any deviceWhat is Bumble Bizz? How to use the dating app’s professional networking mode to make new connections

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get ‘verified’ on Tinder by taking selfies to prove you’re a real user

Man taking iphone video in cafe
You’ll need your phone’s camera to get verified on Tinder.

  • To get verified on Tinder, you’ll need to take pictures of yourself through the app in specific poses.
  • Getting verified on Tinder proves that “you’re the real you,” and aren’t a bot or catfisher.
  • Head to your Tinder profile and tap the gray checkmark next to your name to start the verification process.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Getting verified on Tinder isn’t like getting verified on Twitter or Facebook. On those sites, a blue checkmark shows that you’re an important public figure – on Tinder, a blue checkmark just proves that you’re a real person.

But that doesn’t make it any less important. Dating apps like Tinder can be filled with “catfishers,” users who use fake profiles and photos to trick potential dates. Getting verified proves to others that you are who you say you are, even if you are a regular Joe Schmoe.

Luckily, getting verified on Tinder only takes a few moments – although you should be prepared to take some selfies. Once you’re verified, the blue checkmark will appear next to your name whenever someone sees your profile.

How to get verified on Tinder

This process is about the same both in the Tinder app and on the Tinder website.

1. Open Tinder and log in, then head to your profile page by clicking or tapping your profile icon in the top-left corner.

2. Click or tap the gray checkmark next to your name, then select Next or Continue.

The Tinder profile of an unverified user. The gray checkmark next to their name is highlighted.
You’ll see a gray checkmark if you’re not verified yet.

3. You’ll be shown a series of pictures, showing models making weird facial expressions or poses. Using your phone or computer’s camera, take pictures of yourself making those poses or expressions.

The process to get verified on Tinder, with the user winking to match a model's pose.
The first picture will make you wink, and the second makes you hold your arm up.

Once you’ve submitted your photos, Tinder will tell you that your verification is “under review.”

It should only take a few minutes for your pictures to process. Once they’re done, you’ll get an email either telling you you’re verified, or asking you to retake the photos.

And if you’re accepted, that green clock will disappear and a blue checkmark will appear in its place. This same checkmark will appear next your name almost everywhere that it appears on the app.

A Tinder user's profile. The blue checkmark next to their name is highlighted.
The blue checkmark will show up when users find your profile in their feed, too.

Tinder is free, but you can pay for extra features – here’s what you can unlock from the dating appHow to cancel your Tinder Gold subscription on any deviceHow to delete your Tinder account when you’re done using the dating app, or hide your account temporarily‘Does Tinder notify users of screenshots?’: No, but here’s what you should know before you screenshot a conversation or profile

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to cancel your Tinder Gold subscription on any device

man sits in the lobby of a mall using his credit card to make a purchase on his phone
You should cancel Tinder Gold using the device you signed up for it on.

  • You can cancel Tinder Gold using the Tinder app, the website, your iPhone’s Settings app, or the Google Play Store.
  • The exact method you need to use to cancel Tinder Gold depends on how you signed up.
  • Once you cancel Tinder Gold, you’ll keep the features until your next billing date.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you’re a Tinder power-user, you’re probably familiar with Tinder Gold. As Tinder’s premium subscription tier, a Gold account lets you see who’s swiped right on you, lets you boost your account so more people can see it, and more.

But it’s also a bit pricey – a Tinder Gold subscription is $14.99 per month if you’re younger than 30 years old, and shoots up to $29.99 if you’re over 30. That’s more expensive than nearly any streaming service.

Luckily, cancelling a Tinder Gold subscription is simple. The exact way to do it just depends on how you signed up for Gold in the first place.

How to cancel Tinder Gold

If you signed up with the iPhone app

Like most subscriptions, signing up for Tinder Gold on an iPhone links your Tinder account to your Apple ID. This means that you’ll have to cancel Tinder Gold using your Apple ID, too.

1. Open your iPhone’s Settings app and tap your name at the top of the screen.

2. In the Apple ID menu, tap Subscriptions.

The Apple ID menu on an iPhone. The Subscriptions option is highlighted.
Open your Apple ID Subscriptions menu.

3. Tap Tinder Gold, and then select Cancel Subscription.

If you signed up with the Android app

1. Open the Tinder app and tap your profile picture in the top-left corner.

2. Select Settings, then scroll down to tap Manage Payment Account.

3. Tap Cancel Subscription.

The menus that let you cancel your Tinder Gold subscription in the Android app.
You can cancel Tinder Gold through the Android app’s settings menu.

If you signed up with the Google Play Store

Occasionally, signing up for Tinder Gold on an Android will link it to your Google Play account.

1. Open the Google Play Store app and tap your profile picture in the top-right corner.

2. Tap Payments & subscriptions, and then Subscriptions.

Showing how to find your Subscriptions in the Google Play Store.
You’ll find Tinder Gold in your Subscriptions menu.

3. Select your Tinder Gold subscription and tap Cancel Subscription.

If you signed up on the Tinder website

1. Log into the Tinder website and click your profile picture and name in the top-left corner.

2. Under Account Settings, click Manage Payment Account.

The account settings menu on the Tinder website.
You’ll have to open your account settings menu.

3. Scroll down to Cancel Subscription and click Cancel.

The menu where you can cancel your Tinder Gold account.
You can also turn off auto-renew if you don’t want to immediately cancel.

4. Confirm that you want to cancel your Gold account.

How to unmatch from someone on Tinder and prevent them from reappearing on your feedHow to use Tinder’s safety tools like the panic button and message screening to stay safe while matchingHow to block someone on the Tinder app by unmatching from them‘Does Tinder notify users of screenshots?’: No, but here’s what you should know before you screenshot a conversation or profile

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to unmatch from someone on Tinder and prevent them from reappearing on your feed

Tinder mobile app on background of Tinder profiles.
Unmatching from someone will permanently remove them from your Tinder feed.

  • You can unmatch from anyone on Tinder by opening a chat with them and using the Safety Toolkit.
  • The person you unmatch from won’t be notified, but you’ll disappear from each other’s Match lists.
  • Once you’ve unmatched from someone on Tinder, they won’t appear in your feed anymore.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Tinder has a pretty simple setup: Swipe left to reject someone, and swipe right to match with them. It’s great for browsing casually, but can also lead to some awkward moments if you accidentally make a wrong choice.

Luckily, Tinder lets you unmatch from anyone that you’ve matched with. You’ll just need to open a chat with them.

How to unmatch with someone on Tinder

If you’ve matched with someone – meaning that you’ve both swiped right on each other – you can unmatch on the chat page.

1. Open Tinder and tap the chat icon in the bottom toolbar.

2. Tap the picture of the person you want to unmatch with. If they don’t show up under Messages or New Matches, you can search for them.

The Tinder chat page, with its icon in the bottom toolbar highlighted.
Open the Chat page.

3. In the chat window that opens, tap the shield icon in the top-right corner.

4. Tap Unmatch From [Name], then confirm your choice.

The option that lets you unmatch from someone on Tinder.
You’ll find the “Unmatch” option in the Safety Toolkit menu.

Unmatching is permanent. Once you unmatch from someone, they’ll disappear from the Chat page and won’t show up in your feed again.

How to log into Tinder, the popular dating app, using a computer or mobile deviceHow to block someone on the Tinder app by unmatching from them‘Does Tinder notify users of screenshots?’: No, but here’s what you should know before you screenshot a conversation or profileWhat is Bumble? How the dating app differs from its competition, and what it offers women

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tried Alike, a new dating and friendship app for Asians and Pacific Islanders. It’s been incredible.

The writer, Sonah Lee-Lassiter, and a friend from Alike.
  • I tried Alike, a new dating and friendship app for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
  • I used the friendship feature to meet multiple people. We’ve bonded over shared hobbies and similar life experiences.
  • The app has helped me seek friendships with intention – and I know that my potential matches are doing the same.

I learned about Alike, a dating app for Asians and Pacific Islanders, through an Instagram post by “The May Lee Show” podcast. I’m already happily married and not looking to date, so I thought it was too bad the app wasn’t also for making friends.

But by mid-summer, Alike announced a feature for friendships. I immediately joined as a beta tester.

Alike has a minimalist approach. Other than demographic information and photos, you’re required to upload at least one video responding to different prompts, which takes the place of written bios. Some prompts shine a positive light on the Asian experience, like: “The first Asian film/TV character that I loved.” Others say “My Asian role model is…”

Alike is just growing out of beta phase, so the app is still free to use. Only users of the same gender (female, male, or nonbinary) can connect with one another in the friendship feature of Alike, and the distance can be set for all of North America or “near me” – an option that founder Hanmin Yang told Insider is “equal to about one end of Los Angeles to the other.”

Trying to find people within my region, I’ve connected to a woman in Toronto who grew up in the Netherlands and taught me some Dutch, another in Philadelphia who works in motion graphics, Sarah in Ohio, and a few other women in New York City.

The writer, Sonah Lee-Lassiter, and a friend from Alike.

When filtering for new friends on Alike, I had several major turn-offs:

  • Profile photos with face filters.
  • Profile videos that are not of themselves or don’t include them talking.
  • Any content that purposely uses Asian stereotypes as self-deprecating humor, like using an Asian-mocking voice in a video, perhaps trying to be funny in an ironic way.

I was able to meet up with a new friend, Anke, in Brooklyn weeks ago for lunch. We started off getting bubble tea in Sunset Park (home to Brooklyn’s Chinatown), which I had been meaning to explore. We ended up talking for hours in the tea shop about our families, mental health, and how we grew up.

Anke is from Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she says her high-school class was an unexpected mix of affluence (old money connected to the Hershey chocolate empire) plus rural working-class culture (think souped-up pickup trucks).

“Our high school had days off just for hunting season,” Anke said.

I felt an easy connection in knowing we both came of age in very white and rural-adjacent suburban areas where there are few people of Asian descent. Although our experiences growing up weren’t completely similar, I felt an unspoken understanding that this upbringing also meant we’d both faced our fair share of racism in our childhoods.

Even though we are almost a decade apart in age, I felt I could relate easily to Anke in many ways. Her struggle with anxiety, depression, and how she has coped with ADHD all resonated personally with me.

We spent another couple of hours at a hot-pot lunch spot where we both stared at a large paper menu with open circles that resemble a standardized test’s fill-in sheet, unsure how to order until we asked a server for help. Having grown up with Chinese parents, Anke had some understanding of the menu’s options, so I relied on her to give me thumbs up for what new things to try. I appreciated her candor, openness and enthusiasm to talk about everything and anything during our first meet up. We’ve gone rock climbing together and I’ve met some of her friends since then.

Chatting with Sarah, who is from Ohio, we quickly realized an uncommon commonality – she’s also experienced the loss of both parents, albeit in uniquely different ways and circumstances than I have.

The writer, Sonah Lee-Lassiter, and a friend from Alike.

Sarah and I recently followed our app-based chat with a FaceTime call. Finding it hard to make friends in her current town outside of Cleveland, she tried BumbleBFF but eventually gave up. (I’m a longtime BumbleBFF user and found the experience helpful in knowing how to navigate friendships on Alike.)

She’d also joined a rec soccer league to meet new friends, but found it hard to make any deep connections.

“If you don’t go to a bar or church here, there’s nowhere else to really be around people,” Sarah said.

I asked about her work as a firefighter and UX/UI designer and her thoughts on policing (her spouse is a police officer). We found we were both snowboarders and former rugby players and it was surprising to see how many random things we seemed to agree on, like our distaste for horror films or how we’d never buy a fancy expensive car if we won $1 million in the lottery. I look forward to our next time catching up.

Soon I hope to meet Emily, a Korean adoptee who grew up in Nebraska with Chinese and white parents. I found out she studied fashion in a past life and asked if she’s up for a visit to the Brooklyn Museum’s new Dior Exhibit. Plans are in the making.

Using Alike has felt really meaningful to me, because I can seek out friends within the API community with intentionality, knowing that others on the app are doing the same. The diversity of connections here has also been a beautiful and eye-opening experience. There are more people out there like me, but in all different ways than I thought.

Read the original article on Business Insider

This new dating and friendship app wants to help Asians and Pacific Islanders ‘find community and belonging’

Screenshots of profiles and chats from the Alike dating app.
  • Alike is a new dating and friendship app for the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
  • The app was created by Hanmin Yang, a Korean-Canadian entrepreneur living in Toronto.
  • With Alike, Yang wants to “celebrate the Asian experience” by creating connections and a sense of community.

Hanmin Yang, a Korean-Canadian entrepreneur living in Toronto, experienced a lot of racism as a kid growing up in Canada. Without many childhood friends, he spent a lot of time consuming popular films and TV, and he internalized racism because of how Asians were portrayed.

Decades later, following a divorce and multiple career pivots, he got the idea to create an app where users could connect and heal from past racial traumas together.

That led to Alike, a dating and friendship app for the Asian and Pacific Islander community that recently launched in Canada and the US. The video-based platform aims to “celebrate the Asian experience” by fostering meaningful connections between its users to build a sense of community, according to its website.

Alike founder Hanmin Yang.

Yang started developing Alike in 2019 as a dating app meant to be a safe space for Asian and Pacific Islanders. In his research, Yang saw an app targeting East Asians that deeply disturbed him.

“It was so disgusting for the female Asian fetish,” Yang said. “For one example, the women used the app for free, but the men would pay.”

He wanted to create an app that fights the hypersexualization of Asian women and the emasculation of Asian men, both phenomena rooted in historical xenophobic propaganda, anti-immigration sentiment, and depictions by old Hollywood films – phenomena still reinforced today by our current TV shows and movies.

At the same time, Yang said Alike is meant to be complementary to the mainstream dating apps we all know.

“We’re not saying only date other Asians,” Yang said. “Users typically are using three to four dating apps simultaneously, so we’re just providing another option.”

Preferences can be for dating can be set for seeking a man, woman, or nonbinary person in any combo. When female users began requesting a feature for making friends, Yang expanded Alike, and only users of the same gender can connect with one another in the friendship feature of Alike so it’s not abused.

Alike reinforces finding meaningful connections by designing a few things differently than mainstream apps.

A profile on dating and friendship app Alike.

Instead of written bios, the app requires at least one video recording to be uploaded. Using prompts like “I knew when I was Asian when…” or “My love languages are…”, the video clips allow users to get a first impression of the other person by seeing and hearing them talk, which several users told Insider they loved.

One user in Brooklyn told Insider the video portion “offers something new and acts as a gate to keep out people who aren’t willing to put in effort,” while another user said it “gives further legitimacy to profiles here.”

While people of non-Asian Pacific Islander descent can join the app, there’s an option to match with everyone or only users of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, making it easier to navigate the vast spectrum of diversity within the group. Any users who join who aren’t of Asian Pacific Islander descent are expected to be respectful of the community.

To “like” a user, you have to attach a message in response to a video or photo in that person’s profile, initiating a conversation.

A chat on dating and friendship app Alike.

There’s also no classic dating app swipe feature.

“I didn’t want the simplified approach where it’s designed to swipe through based all on how someone looks,” Yang said. “This forces you to watch their videos and get a good sense of whether this is someone you’d actually like to connect to.”

Many early users told Insider it has been easy to find commonalities with matches on Alike.

Abigail Asuncion, an Alike friendship user in Toronto, said she connected to other users about common interests that were brought up from the video prompts, like gaming and food.

“I connected to one girl about ‘Vita Lemon Drink,'” Asuncion said. “Growing up, only Asians know and have had this drink because it’s typically sold in Asian grocery stores. It was one of the pictures on her profile and right away we clicked!”

A profile on dating and friendship app Alike.

One user, who grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, appreciates how the design of Alike does some of the groundwork in finding connections through prompts.

“A lot of responses are similar to how I feel about topics, and it makes me feel less isolated,” they said. “Especially as someone who grew up in an area without many Asians to interact with, it’s nice to see that some of the quirks I have aren’t unique to me.”

A new user said he looks forward to how Alike may be different from other apps.

“I appreciate that [Alike] provides preferences to Asians as a filtering method,” he said. “For me it’s a big plus, but by no means a necessity. It helps if a potential match can resonate with you culturally to some degree or at least can empathize with how that culture shapes and affects your relationship dynamics.”

Jude Santos, based in southern California, was a beta user who started using Alike for dating. Most of the people he connected with were far away, so he’s preferred to make friends for now, but remains optimistic about Alike.

“Unlike other apps, I know with Alike there’s [an element of] shared experience, knowing my potential partner is of Asian descent,” Santos said.

Dating and friendship app Alike.

Yang hopes users on Alike find a stronger sense of belonging and become more open after sharing life experiences. This may be especially timely as Alike’s launch is in the midst of a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, too reminiscent of the hate and Islamophobia that South Asians had to endure 20 years ago post-9/11.

Alike was started pre-pandemic, so Yang said its development was not influenced by it directly. But he has noticed the community becoming more aware of an undercurrent of anti-Asian racism, more interested in their heritage, and taking notice of Alike’s mission.

“What I really want users to take away from their experience is finding self-love in the process of connecting with others,” Yang said. “We’re trying to heal our community and through loving yourself you can find healing,”

Right now, healing and finding a way to move forward as a community may be more important than ever.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Insiders reveal how celebrities are responding to recent dating app profile leaks

Ben Affleck (left) and Matthew Perry (right)
Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry (are two celebrities whose purported interactions were leaked online by people they matched with on dating apps.

  • Videos that appeared to show Matthew Perry and Ben Affleck matching with dating app users recently went viral.
  • Dating apps and celebrity advisors are dealing with increased concern over privacy and security.
  • Insider spoke to experts, celebrities, and influencers who explained how online dating is changing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A string of videos that appear to show celebrities like Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry connecting with dating app users are sending chills through both the entertainment and dating app industries.

Since its launch in 2015, invite-only dating app Raya has advertised itself as an elite platform catering to the needs of celebrities. But in early May 2021, Nivine Jay, an actor and model, posted an explosive TikTok of a video purportedly sent to her by Ben Affleck after she says she unmatched with the actor on Raya. A few days later, Kate Haralson, a TikToker who is a personal assistant for reality TV stars Spencer and Heidi Pratt, similarly went viral by uploading a purported recording of a FaceTime session she said she had with Matthew Perry after matching with him on Raya in May 2020.

These incidents haven’t just happened on Raya. In early June, Twitter user @Stardewlegend posted purported screenshots of “iCarly” actor Jerry Taylor’s verified Bumble profile along with a tweet, “I did not expect dating in LA to be like this.”

These videos have made headlines and received millions of views on social media, shattering any assumption of privacy on dating apps. As dating apps adjust to the reality of leaking, the features and innovations they implement may have a broader impact not only on their most high-profile users, but also everyday people looking for the perfect match.

Insider talked to publicists, dating apps, matchmakers, and influencers to explore how these recent exposures could transform online dating.

Celebrity insiders and experts are more involved in their clients’ dating lives than they may seem

Kelly Cutrone standing with microphone
Publicist Kelly Cutrone.

Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, a public relations agency, told Insider that celebrities using dating apps is a “bat—- crazy idea.” She said that publicists should generally stay out of their clients’ love lives, but that by using dating apps, celebrities were not just opening themselves up to potentially embarrassing scandals, but they were also making themselves vulnerable to people with bad intentions.

Don Aviv, the president of Interfor International, a security consulting service that works with celebrities, echoed Cultrone’s stance and said he advises high-profile people to avoid these apps altogether. He cited concerns over hacks, fraud, and scams, and argued that regardless of how the app advertises itself, online platforms come with too many risks.

Other experts signaled that they were adjusting to stars seeking love in the digital realm. Howard Bragman, a Hollywood crisis manager, told Insider he believes celebrities are drawn to these platforms because they offer the chance to meet people outside of the entertainment industry. Since stars can’t go to bars and nightclubs anonymously like civilians, they may relish the opportunity to find someone from the comfort of their home, he said.

“Celebrities are actual human beings who have feelings and would like to go out on dates and meet a loved one, so I don’t see any reason they should be denied that,” he said.

Bragman said his celebrity clients have told him about their dating app usage, so he’s prepared for the media fallout in the event of a leak. Matt Yanofsky, a PR and brand specialist, told Insider that in the past, he and other publicists have assisted with curating clients’ dating app profile pictures and interests and that in numerous cases, it’s become an extension of their job of managing a client’s public image.

Influencers and celebrities are moving away from dating apps and using social media to meet people instead

Some influencers have found ways to navigate public-facing apps. Kazzy, a YouTuber with almost 470,000 subscribers, told Insider he refuses to give out his phone number and personal address.

Similarly, Gwen Singer, an Instagram influencer, told Insider that on Bumble and Hinge she goes by an entirely different name, doesn’t link to her social media, and uses non-model photographs because of privacy concerns and to see if she can find a genuine connection without the anxiety that people are treating her differently.

A post shared by GWEN ⚡️ (@gwensinger)

“Let’s see if you’re really interested in talking to me and getting to know who I am,” she said.

Others are moving away from traditional dating apps entirely.

Comedian Ashwin Jacob said he used to prefer Raya when it was more “curated,” but that now, with more chats about networking and fears of being secretly recorded, Instagram is becoming the preferred dating app for many of his influencer friends.

TikToker Gene Park, who has over 460,000 followers, echoed Jacob’s sentiment that Raya has started to lose its allure. He said that for many influencers, Instagram’s direct messaging platform works as a dating app, although he’s dealt with catfishing and scamming attempts on it “multiple times.” He said he hoped ther was “another Raya that comes out soon, that is a lot more exclusive,” with a better filtering process.

According to reporting from The New York Times, in 2018 Raya had an 8% acceptance rate and there were 100,000 people still on the waiting list.

Raya did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Security concerns on apps are changing the face of online dating

Regarding celebrities’ concerns over privacy, a Bumble spokesperson highlighted the app’s Incognito Mode. Included in Bumble Premium, a subscription service that comes with a myriad of features and costs $32.99 a month, Incognito Mode allows users to only be visible to other users whom they swiped right on.

While this may make the app feel more exclusive and curated, it doesn’t account for user behavior and hypothetically, Incognito matches are able to leak celebrity profiles to social media under the company’s current privacy policy.

Some apps are trying to solve this problem. Founded in late 2020, Lox Club, a members-only dating platform for Jewish people, has drawn some buzz and celebrity investors like Bhad Bhabie and Lil Yachty.

According to co-founder Alex Lorraine, there are “around 50,000 people” on the app’s waitlist. He cited his Lox Club’s security measures, such as suspending users who screenshot too many times, and making it easy for people to contact his app to report abusive behavior. Lorraine told Insider there haven’t been instances of leaks and believes that is thanks to the Lox Club’s highly selective curation process which maintains its culture of privacy.

“If you curate your community from the start, you get people that aren’t as willing to leak celebrity profiles,” he said.

Lizz Warner, the founder and CEO of Gleam, a video-chat dating app that is currently only available in Los Angeles and New York City, told Insider that she had discussed the possibility of celebrity leaks with her team of developers. On Gleam, users can only communicate via scheduled video chat dates that solely exist within the app, and later, if there’s compatibility, texts.

According to Warner, since the video chats live on the app and automatically turn off if someone starts a screen recording, it can potentially be helpful for celebrities who are concerned with privacy. She told Insider that in Los Angeles, a number of influencers have already joined.

Haralson, who leaked the purported video of Matthew Perry, said that while some people accused her of being the catalyst for Perry’s split with his then-fiance, which she refutes, others responded positively, telling her she was highlighting the dating dynamic of how “easy it is for young girls to be wooed by these older men with money.”

Multiple sources told Insider that they noticed that celebrities became more drawn to dating apps during the COVID-19 lockdown. As restrictions are lifted, dating will potentially go back offline, with people returning to mingling in dimly lit bars and parties. But these concerns of safety and privacy will surely persist, leaving an opening for the next crop of members-only apps to continue to sell the elusive promise of digital exclusivity.

To read more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital culture coverage here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Founders of Canadian relationship app Couply talk gaining traction after winning Collision 2021 pitch competition

Couply founders Denesh Raymond (left) and Tim Johnson (right).

  • The Canadian relationship app Couply won the 2021 pitch competition hosted by Collision, a Toronto-based technology conference attended by thousands of industry giants.
  • Insider spoke to its founders, Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond, to learn more about their vision for Couply and the events leading up to its inception.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Imagine this. You finally met that special someone-whether it be on a dating app or in real life-and everything is going great until you hit that post-honeymoon-phase slump. Naturally, you turn to the app store for some guidance, only to find that the selection of relationship apps is rather slim in comparison to dating apps.

That was the ideation process behind Canadian startup Couply, founded by Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond. It’s a free relationship app designed to inspire couples to deepen their connection with fun features like personality quizzes, which then help aid the process of planning dates that are mutually enjoyable.

An example of a date idea proposed by Couply.

Couply’s vision was so successful that it won Collision 2021’s startup competition, PITCH, this past April. The bootstrapped company was one of 50 up-and-coming startups to pitch in front of a panel of judges, consisting of venture capitalists from B Capital Group, Salesforce Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners, to name a few.

The two founders crossed paths when they both worked at Wattpad, an online storytelling platform for writers. Johnson stills works on the business development side of Wattpad and is a published author with a strong background in the nonprofit sector. Raymond was a software engineer at Wattpad, where he specialized in iOS and Android development and was a member of the Wattpad Monetization team.

When Johnson came to Raymond with the idea for the app, Raymond was working as a tech lead at a product development company, building apps for companies like Bose and Peloton.

At first, Raymond had his doubts.

“I’m sort of taking it with a grain of salt because, being in the tech space, I’ve worked with different apps like this before,” Raymond told Insider.

Once Raymond came home that day and did his research, he realized that there weren’t any big players to compete with, aside from the Bumbles and Tinders in the dating space. From that point on, the duo “just got into a room and started cracking at it,” Raymond said.

Since its launch in December of 2020, Couply has grown from a few downloads a day to 1,000 downloads a week, with its daily download rate doubling each month as a result of word of mouth, Johnson told Insider. He and Raymond hope to grow their user base from their current total of 10,000+ to an audience of one million in a year from now.

Despite being developed in Canada, the app sees its biggest opportunity in the U.S. market, and this is where Johnson and Raymond plan to focus their efforts. Couply is also available for download globally and will eventually be accessible in different languages.

The foundation of Couply is rooted in its creators’ belief in the power of technology when used for good. Through research-based quizzes that are linked across both partners’ accounts, couples can better understand each other’s similarities and differences, as well as their own way of looking at the world.

Couply’s in-app personality quizzes.

This information guides Couply in providing personalized date ideas, gift suggestions, and relationship advice. In addition, the app’s integrated calendar allows users to set reminders for important relationship milestones and book thoughtful dates, which is Couply’s ultimate end goal for its users.

“This kind of drills into that core sentiment of Couply, which is to get out there and do things with your partner in the real world,” Johnson told Insider.

Even in the heat of the pandemic, Couply has fared well among its users with the help of the in-app feedback system. Through this feature, the creators are able to directly communicate with their audience and gauge the kinds of dates they’re interested in at a given time-not surprisingly, innovative ideas for a romantic night in have been highly requested.

The app also boasts a daily conversation starter tool, which is designed to help the flow of meaningful interaction beyond simple check-ins.

“You can use it as a fun thing at lunch or dinner,” Johnson said. “Or even just text it to your partner during the day to keep that journey going, so that you’re not only doing transactional conversations, you’re actually learning about each other and your internal maps of the world.”

Johnson added that he and Raymond were lucky to be able to tap into a diverse set of perspectives in Toronto’s tech community for feedback on their user experience and its accessibility for all members.

Read the original article on Business Insider