Following the revolution in dating apps sparked by the emergence of Tinder, the ease at which we get to meet people virtually has been central to the dating app industry.
And yet, as is regularly reported and as I commented on here, there is a significant difference between meeting someone online and meeting someone in reality. There’s an even bigger difference between meeting someone on line and meeting someone suitable or that you actually like.
It seems some bright start up types are finally taking notice with a plethora of new apps emerging that focus on meeting rather than the game like swipe fun we’re currently inundated with.
So here’s my pitch for up and coming game changers in the dating app world.
The bright people at Happn are enjoying growing success at the moment and if you haven’t jumped on board you really should.
Happn relies on geolocation technology to give you matches with whom you’ve crossed paths. Its genius lies in the apps ability to tell you how many times you pass someone and where – to within 250m – the crossover occurred.
To avoid awkwardness, the app only informs you once you’re out of range but gives you a good indicator of those you have regular geography in common with, thus increasing the chance of actually being able to meet, which is the whole point right.
You can then ‘like’ this person and if they like you back you can message each other. The beauty is that this prevents the age old problem of guys sending hundreds of messages in the vain hope of a ‘hit’ meaning the power of a match is firmly in the woman's hands.
Howaboutwe is an odd beast. It’s not new having been in existence for around five years. However, it’s their updates that keep them interesting.
The latest is ‘Tonight’. With ‘Tonight’ users put themselves forward for a date at a particular time the same day. The app then searches through suitable matches who have also chosen to date that day. Push notifications then tell you who is available and you can match and organise from there.
Similarly, Couplelizer focusses on a time limited date share. However, in order to ensure a genuine clarity in who you’ll be meeting – in other no photos of you as a buff 20 year old – users are asked to take a picture there and then, provide a post code and a brief profile in which people are encouraged to include a potential date venue.
Other users do the same and those looking in a similar area are matched.
There is also a chat feature to allow you to get to know each other although for my money, more options generally result in less immediacy and a more scatter gun approach. We’ll see.
Rendevoo is a UK based app that really focusses on the ‘meeting’ side of things.
Soft launched in April 2014 it’s still relatively small but if its current trajectory is maintained it could be something of a game-changer.
Profiles are verified through Facebook and users are then asked for payment details. It’s all free so don’t worry. This is where the real innovation occurs.
Once you find someone you like, you then select a time and place to meet and payment is taken for your first drink. If your potential date also pays for a drink, away you go. Turn up at the venue, meet your date, grab your prepaid drink and the rest is up to you. No payment is taken until date is confirmed.
This is seen by many as a form of guarantee and relies heavily on spontaneity rather than the tricky negotiations, general no shows and downright fake profiles that plague most apps.
Venues are selected on the basis of site visits and they ‘buy in’ by paying the app a commission.
At the moment the app works in a handful of venues in East London but the user base is growing and I think it’s fair to say its relatively small application is all part of the testing process. Rumour has it that a major launch is in the planning with expansion across Europe currently being discussed.
There are of course plenty more dating apps out there, but it’s refreshing to know that what traditionally has been an industry slow to embrace significant change – despite its technological foundations – dating times really do seem to be ‘a changin’.
And if you simply prefer the idea of meeting people in real life why don't you sign up for one of our upcoming dating events in London?
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS