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A Northwestern University study found that men viewed more than three times as many profiles as women and were about forty per cent more likely than women to send a message or chat after viewing a profile.“The most desirable partners, especially the most desirable women, are likely to find the process of sifting through so many first-contact e-mails aversive, perhaps causing them to disengage from the process altogether,” the researchers write.After my initial session, I only opened the app to show it to friends, scrolling through pages and pages of unappealing men in what resembled a masochistic digital-age performance-art piece titled “Why I’m Single.”In truth, though, I tried Blendr not to find love, but at the behest of a bevy of Web developers.
Sure, they can try to focus-group their way out of the problem, but if an app for “straight” people is to get anywhere close to Grindr’s level of success, women have to not just join out of curiosity. Men are slightly overrepresented among dating-service users, according to a 2010 Duke University study, and when it comes to apps, men tend to be more willing to use location-based dating features.
On either platform, they’re far more likely to use the services aggressively.
We prefer to meet someone in person, not just browse pics of his pecs.
We respond to emotional cues and pheromones and all sorts of subtle factors. What if women are just as open to spontaneously meeting a man for a drink—and maybe more?
This might not seem like a big deal, until you consider one read on why Grindr has been so successful: the app has a “for us by us” appeal to gay men.
But when it comes to heterosexual-dating technology, all-male co-founders represent the wants and needs of only half of their target audience.
After all, in a survey of a hundred thousand Ok Cupid users, over half the women said they’ve had casual sex.
Women may initiate contact less frequently, but they are comfortable reaching out first if they see a profile that appeals to them.
I argued that it didn’t take seriously the concerns of women—safety, proximity, control—even though the founder Joel Simkhai told , “As a gay man, I probably understand straight women more than straight guys do.” Yeah, but probably not enough.
Since airing my skepticism, I’ve received an e-mail or Facebook message every couple of months from a male entrepreneur who wants to pick my brain about how to make a location-based dating app appeal to women.
“Blendr is generally useless, and there is a huge, untapped market for a hookup app for straights (or everyone other than gay men, really),” one of them wrote to me.