The mobile age has brought us many innovations and changes, some great, some questionable, and none more signficant than those which seems to signficantly alter elements of our culture.
One of those big changes is now the subject of many articles across the web – dating. Yes mobile apps and online dating have, like it or not, changed the way we date. For better or worse – it’s still open to debate, and the answer may be a bit of both really.
It’s easier than ever to “meet” people thanks to our mobiles nowadays. There’s a smorgasbord of dating apps out there offering an array of different people and dating experiences – everything from true love to no strings sex, and unlike going up to someone in the real world, these dating apps also give us an added layer of protection from a bruised ego (or face).
You can like someone without them knowing unless you’ve liked them back. You can contact someone without, truthfully, putting much effort into it. And you can even completely falsify an entire identity to make you look more attractive or be more cool than you are without your interests being any the wiser (at least until you actually have to meet).
There are plenty of other viable alternatives now as well, such as Coffee Meets Bagel and the AWESOME Bumble, which is very similar to Tinder, save for the fact that only ladies can instigate conversations. Bumble was set up by one of Tinder’s co-founders and is designed as a rebuttal to the often creepy and sinister world of Tinder.
By putting women in charge, weirdo men (because there’s plenty on Tinder) are left pretty much powerless, which is always a good thing. Bumble is only available on iPhone at present. An Android app is in the works, apparently, but we’ve yet to see any developments in recent months.
But as is often the case online, not everything is as it may first appear –– there’s plenty of spam artists and male/female catfish.
“More than four in ten people who use the dating app are already in a relationship. One in ten are going out with another person, whilst three in ten are supposedly so committed that they have stood up in front of their friends and taken vows,” reports The Daily Mail. “Even so, they have signed up to the dating app, which allows people to scan for other users nearby, and decide whether they like the look of them based on their photographs.”
Happn does things a little differently than both Tinder and OKCupid, however, and is all about proximity. And this approach kind of makes sense too: you’re more likely to have something in common with somebody at a similar gig, pub or night venue than you are with a complete stranger you just happened across during a 10 minute swipe-break at work.
More than a quarter-of-a-million of French users subscribed to the app within months of the app launch, and 10,000 Londoners quickly followed, according to The Guardian.
Around 38% of Tinder’s users are aged between 16 and 24, according to research conducted by GlobalWebIndex, while 45% fall in the 25 to 34 bracket. Just 4% are over the age of 45.
Tinder is more popular in towns and cities compared to rural areas and has, globally, been downloaded more than 50million times since 2012.
Here’s A Bunch of Tinder Facts (via)
- There are 150,000 Tinder users in Ireland. 
- Men swipe “like” on a woman’s profile on average 46% of the time. Women swipe “like” on a man’s profile on average only 14% of the time. 
- Tinder is the winner of the 2014 Editor’s Choice Top Pick – Innovative Award. 
- Women will swipe right 74% of the time when showen a man with well groomed facial hair. These men also recieve 37% more matches than men without facial hair. 
- Activity from users on Valentine’s Day surpassed any day since Tinder launched in 2012. 
- On Valentine’s Day this year Tinder users who logged in experienced a 60% increase in matches. 
- Tinder projects to have 40 million active monthly users by April 2015. 
- Tinder Plus is launching in the United States in March. 
- Tinder Plus is designed to help reduce spammers by limiting the number of swipes a non paying member can do everyday. 
- Tinder partnered with Telesign to help combat fraudulent accounts on the dating service. According to the CTO spam traffic is down by about 90%. 
- A Tinder account can now be connected with an Instagram account. If done so, other members can view the last 34 pictures the Tinder member posted on Instagram. 
- Hilary Duff confirms she has a profile on Tinder and has been out on one date with another member. 
By some counts dating apps are the most popular downloads among the 20s crowd –– even more popular than games and messaging apps. When people think of dating apps, their first thought is probably of Tinder, specifically because the app first found traction with college-aged kids. But there are other popular dating apps that are up and coming, such as Happn as well as tried and true dating apps like OKCupid, and premium services like E-Harmony.
We take a look at all three to see which is best for your love life.
Cost of app: free
Cost of premium service: Tinder Plus £3.99 or £14.99 a month
Ah, Tinder. We all know thee well. Despite the “hookup” reputation Tinder has there is no denying it’s a brilliantly simple app. Tinder works by showing you pics of people in your area. Swipe left to reject them, swipe right to like them. If you like someone who likes you you’ll be notified of a match. You can then send them a in-app message to start chatting. When Tinder first came out its photo stack swipe navigation was the most brilliant UI a dating app had ever seen (and now one much copied).
The good thing about Tinder is that it has a ton of users. The bad thing about Tinder is that it’s so superficial (only showing photos of a person by default) that many times people just try to game the system by swiping right on everyone to get the most matches possible and then just start chatting to the ones they only really find attractive. To combat this Tinder has now limited the amount of swipes you can make and introduced Tinder Plus, a subscription service that gives you back the ability for unlimited swipes and also allows you to search through photos of people in other areas and take back a swipe if you accidentally swiped the wrong way.
Tinder Plus is a good thing, but some people will hate the fee structure. If you’re under 28 Tinder Plus is £3.99 a month–but over 28? The service then costs you £14.99 a month.
Cost of app: free
Cost of premium service: Coins range from £1.49 for 10 to £23.49 for 300
Happn has a better mode of matching people than Tinder. The idea behind Happn is that it shows you people with similar interests who you’ve “crossed paths” with in the real world. Happn uses your phone’s GPS location to search within a 250 meter radius of where you are and will show you other Happn users in the same area. It doesn’t show you profiles of anyone you haven’t crossed paths with.
Of the profiles it does show you, you can read more about the person, see additional pics, and, if you want, like them secretly. However, if you like them secretly they won’t know. You’re basically bookmarking them. If you want to contact them you need to send them a charm–and charms cost money. You can buy 10 charms for £1.49 or up to 300 charms for £23.49.
I love the idea of Happn. It’s nice seeing people who work in your area or hang out near a pub you frequent. The problem with Happn is the radius: 250 meters is too large. If you’re in an office building on a busy city block, that doesn’t really help you narrow down the person much. And if you’re zipping through London on the overground, Happn will pick up any people whose flat is within 250 meter of the train tracks–not really “crossing paths” eh?
If Happn would shrink its radius–say to 50 meters–it would be much more useful. At 250 meters, it’s not much better than other dating apps’ geolocation features.
Cost of app: free
Cost of premium service: £9.99 for one month up to £39.99 for 12 months
OkCupid is the grandaddy of dating apps. The service has existed in website form since 2004, before coming out with its app about five years ago. OkCupid is widely regarded as one of the best online dating platforms thanks to its breadth of users and its advanced algorithms that are generally considered the best in the industry.
When you create a profile in the app you’re asked to answer 21 questions, which OkCupid’s algorithms will then crunch to show you your best matches. Tap on a match to view their full profile.
OkCupid doesn’t offer the hip factor of Tinder or the focused location feature of Happn, but it does offer a true social network feel, which lends itself to people spending more time looking at profiles than simply swiping or scrolling through them in microseconds.The app also allows you to really specify the type of person you are looking for, so you are more likely to get accurate matches.
If Tinder is the Instagram of dating, and Happn is the Google+, then OkCupid is the Facebook of dating. Tinder is great because so many people use it and it’s fun to flick through pics, but it’s mostly superficial eye candy. Happn is a very interesting concept, that is crippled by its own self-imposed limitations–and no one uses it.
But OkCupid is a mature, full-featured dating app that has an active user base of people serious about dating. These people put their money where their mouth (and images) are. They are financially invested in using the service thanks to its relatively high monthly and yearly rates, which means they are more likely to put effort into it and not waste time by simply browsing their options–they’re more likely to actually contact you back.
There are other options out there as well like Match and Coffee Meets Bagel but Tinder, Happn and OK Cupid, for the most part, are the big three of mobile dating.
Coffee Meets Bagel is the newest addition to the space and is designed to be a big different and no way near as fast-paced as the aforementioned applications. How it works is simple: you create a profile and everyday at 12pm you’re sent a potential match, which you either pass or like on. To be honest, I found the app a little tedious and I never met up with anyone — but your experience might be different.
If you’re looking for a quick ego boost or (if you’re lucky) a hookup, Tinder or Happn might be the way to go. But if you’re looking for a dating app with myriad features, a social network feel, and an invested user base, go for OkCupid.