Home Tech ‘A lot of effort to get a date’: Bumble app makes the first step easier for women

‘A lot of effort to get a date’: Bumble app makes the first step easier for women

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'A lot of effort to get a date': Bumble app makes the first step easier for women

“YOIn the end, it was the data that killed me,” Penny* says of her decision to leave the dating app Bumble. If you opened the app, you might get 100 likes, of which 25% might interest you. I would look at their profiles and write individualized messages; some would respond, maybe one would result in a quote.

“It’s a lot of effort to get an appointment,” he says. “It is exhausting.”

Bumble, considered the feminist Tinder when it launched in 2014, announced this week that it was taking steps to ease the administrative burden on its users. She has given potential dates the option to send a short pre-written question, rather than a carefully worded missive, after 70% of her users said they were burning out.

While it doesn’t eliminate the requirement that women make the first move, its users can now submit a template question like “What book or movie changed the way you think?” using the site’s Opening Moves feature.

“We’ve always believed that when you make dating better for women, you make it better for everyone,” said Bumble’s new CEO Lidiane Jones. “Listening to our community, many have shared their exhaustion with the current online dating experience, and for some, that includes taking the first step.”

Empowerment “isn’t just about control, it’s also about agency,” she added, which is why Bumble was giving “more choice in how women make the first move.” In a press release, the company noted that during the testing phase, the feature generated higher response rates and longer conversations.

Research has shown that women spend much more time and effort than men spotting potential matches before swiping right, says Dr Rachel Katz, a digital media sociologist at the University of Salford.

“Given all this extra effort women are putting in on dating apps in terms of time and energy invested, it’s an extra expenditure of energy to have to make the first move,” she says. “I think this adds to the experience of burnout that people sometimes describe having on dating apps, especially women.”

This fits with Penny’s experience. “I wouldn’t just send general messages to people,” she says. “I would make an effort to show that I have read her profile, that I am interested, and that I am fun. You would then receive a “Hello” in response. And I would work hard at it!

But while billed as a move to help ease the burden on female users, the move is likely also a reaction to market forces that have led the biggest players in the dating app world to face significant challenges. in recent months.

Bumble, which replaced its founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, with Jones in January, has seen a 86% drop in its share price since 2021. The Match group, which owns Tinder, OK Cupid and Hinge, has had similar precipitous falls, after it emerged in November last year that the number of people paying for Tinder had increased. fell 6% in 12 months.

“If you look at stock prices, you can see in a nutshell what this move is about,” said one industry expert, who pointed to market saturation and the difficult economic climate. “These are huge corporate machines, they make decisions based on numbers.”

Bumble also announced it was introducing new “dating intentions” badges, including “no-strings-attached intimacy,” “life partner,” and “ethical non-monogamy,” after two-thirds of women surveyed said they struggled with people they didn’t. They were sincere about what they did. they wanted.

“I think dating apps are starting to catch up with what’s happening offline,” says Emma Sayle, founder of exclusive sex party organizer Killing Kittens, which recently launched its online community and dating site for people of “open mind”, WeAreX. “We’ve been doing this for 19 years and we’ve seen the explosion of sexuality and gender from day one.”

Other dating apps are also increasingly trying to diversify, offering matchmaking services for friendships and events for singles. Figures from Eventbrite show that the number of dating or singles events in the UK has doubled since before the start of the pandemic.

But despite warnings about dating app fatigue, the apps’ popularity appears to be holding strong, at least for now. According to the Pew Research Centerthe 30% share of Americans who report using any type of dating site or app has not changed since 2020. For those under 30, that figure is 53%.

For now, Penny is in no rush to get back to the minimum date, even if the work involved is less onerous. “I’m looking for a place where it’s the other person who is making all the effort to get my attention,” she says. “I haven’t found it yet.”

*The name has been changed.

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