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Unrelated, but I'm thinking about using one or more dating sites. Which ones do people here use, and what are your thoughts/observations?

Short answer? They are all trash and the space is ripe for disruption. The best of the bunch is probably Hinge, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel.

But like I said, getting a date off these apps is like pulling teeth. I've reverted to asking girls out in person at coffee shops, social gatherings, etc. Even if you get rejected, it at least makes for a good story.

Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel are trash outside of extremely large metro areas. Bumble is ok, it's more user friendly than Tinder. OkCupid has a terrible user interface but in terms of pulling dates it's been the best for me.

Good on you for talking to girls directly, that really is the way to go. Super hot women don't tend to bother with online dating, and if you can approach confidently you'll be able to land much hotter women in person than online anyhow.

OKC wasn't useless back when usernames were unique and persistent; you could save the URLs for review later.

What would you change if you were to build a new dating app to disrupt the market?

I have a lot of thoughts on this, so excuse the long post (maybe I'll write a blog post on it at some point):

First, there's a clear (and artificial) skewing of supply-demand curves. There are probably like 30 (active) guys for every 1 (active) girl on these apps (looking at you, Tinder). This creates an imbalance where women are incredibly selective while men end up being incredibly non-selective (e.g. swipe right on everything). Clearly, this needs to be addressed -- this "marketplace" is a sham.

Second of all, a lot of women (but also men) use dating apps to increase their social following (be it Snapchat or Instagram). This probably only pertains to people in their 20s or 30s, but it's a huge problem when trying to seriously find someone to date.

Third -- the botpocalypse. About 70% of my matches on Tinder this past year (I actually quit all dating apps around 4 months ago) have been bots. Not sure if this is a tractable problem, but after a while, it just gets old. At this point, matching with bots is a meme on /r/Tinder, for example.

Fourth, there needs to be an in-app incentive to meet in real life. I feel that my generation (millennials) are kind of broken. I blow people's minds when I tell them that I work remotely at a coffee shop and started making friends with people there, hanging out, etc. In other words, we absolutely suck at real-life social interaction. So we need these apps to "nudge" in the right direction. A potential solution would be a cross between a meetup and a date.

Fifth, I think hookup culture really is starting to show its dark side. Tinder was very popular as a hookup app a few years ago, but nowadays it's more or less abandoned. People actually want deep and long-lasting connections. None of the apps out there really attempt to solve this. It's a tough problem to solve because building a relationship (like building a friendship) takes time.

Anyway, these are some issues I have with dating apps off the top of my head. I will say that it also probably doesn't help that I live in LA, which is a pretty superficial city to begin with. But the women are gorgeous, so I probably shouldn't complain :)

> First, there's a clear (and artificial) skewing of supply-demand curves.

What makes it artificial?

Also, there's strong evidence that roughly twice as many women have reproduced than men across human history [0], so if we're reducing it to a number game women have always had the ability to be more picky than guys.

What's different today is Tinder/OLD let's them access a much larger area, whereas in the past they would have to find a partner within their local community. Dating apps may look unfair on paper but they're just a more efficient dating market than in times past.

So to sum up my point, I'm struggling to see a solution here. Human nature can't be rewritten, no matter how hard we try.

[0] https://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/the-missing-...

Even if this were true (the research is speculative at best), the dating app pool is skewed far worse than a 1:2 F:M ratio.

> ... they're just a more efficient dating market than in times past.

This might be true if women were actually going on dates and starting relationships. Except that no one is. We are a lonely bunch[1].

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2019/05/03/millennials...

Disappointing tbh..

> So to sum up my point, I'm struggling to see a solution here. Human nature can't be rewritten, no matter how hard we try.

You could write an algorithm that subtly punishes women for being too picky and at the same time punishes men for being unselective (only swiping right, then filtering later). Of course, as soon as it comes out that you are rebalancing the market that way no one will use your app anymore, but it would be a theoretical way to bring the numbers closer together.

> You could write an algorithm that subtly punishes women for being too picky and at the same time punishes men for being unselective (only swiping right, then filtering later).'

Sounds like the dating rules of most Patriarch societies.

Women who aren't married at age X gets a social penalty. Men who marry are rewarded by social rewards.

The USA has thankfully left the shackles of Patriarchy and has enabled the liberation of women and women's desires. In this world of female first, women get to choose freely from the entire pool of men, and can dispose of them by a swipe of their finger. Should the woman like a child, there is plenty of DNA to choose from, even to be pregnant by insemination or IVF if she so desires.

You are experiencing Matriarchy in the 21th century. Welcome to the future.

Ah yes, social engineering for the modern age. I'm not sure which path is worse, your suggestion or the status quo.

Something will have to give at some point.

I remember someone at HN posting a graph that showed that for something like 40 years the amount of singles reporting 'no sex within the last year' had been relatively equal (both men and women around 18%), but since the rise of Tinder et al men had shot up to 30% whereas women were still at 18%.

On an individual level I won't pass judgment on women for doing whatever they want, but on a societal level such a sea change in behavior and it's attached consequences does not seem healthy or stable.

> Something will have to give at some point.

Care to place any bets on what will happen?

Obviously I can't prove this but I'd bet the inability to get into an emotionally stable (or any) relationship is one of the contributing factors to soaring youth crime across the world. It's not the only one (economy, political divide) but it's a biggie.

> Obviously I can't prove this but I'd bet the inability to get into an emotionally stable (or any) relationship is one of the contributing factors to soaring youth crime across the world.

I can do you one better: if you look at history, whenever a society had large contingents of single, young men with little chance of entering into a relationship, that society invariably eventually went to war. Since most big players in the world have become so economically intertwined this is not really viable anymore, so yes, I'd say it is very possibly a factor.

> Care to place any bets on what will happen?

On the short-to-mid term? Nothing. Tech is vastly outpacing our ability as society to adapt. You see this with issues of privacy as well.

Long term? The pendulum probably swings in the other direction hard. Maybe men everywhere decide to adopt the Japanese way: with the insane pressure on young men there to perform in all aspects of life, a lot of them simply opt out of dating (which ultimately leaves women without relationships). Or maybe realistic, AI-driven sexbots become a thing: if you don't want kids and don't need a relationship, why deal with all the extraneous stuff? This again leaves women out in the cold.

To be clear: I wouldn't celebrate such a thing. We'd lose something very essential about ourselves if our whole dance of courtship and sex is permanently reduced to dating apps and sexbots.

But to continue, we're in a weird state of flux vis-à-vis male/female interaction. For example, most women prefer to date 'up' (having a good job on your dating profile leads to something like 85% more right swipes), but at the same time most universities are 40/60 men/women, plus women below 30 outearn their male peers. Obviously those two things are fairly at odds with each other.

You can also ask questions like: why are high schools still plastered in posters encouraging women to attend university when the numbers are already skewed? Surely, if back in the 90s 60/40 men/women was bad, the reverse should also be bad? Where is the promotional material to get more men into universities? Where are the special men-only scholarships? Or the effort to combat the male pay gap below 30?

Apologies for the long response- the overarching subject is something I take quite to heart.

> For example, most women prefer to date 'up'.

So my hunch was sorta correct? We've gone from most people marrying somebody they meet organically to "here's a list of candidates within N and their job title" which has massively magnified that particular behaviour.

> Apologies for the long response- the overarching subject is something I take quite to heart.

No problem! I was hoping for a response this interesting.

I believe incentivizing meeting IRL is the lynch pin to disrupting the existing market.

My idea is that at some point after the initial match, both users put in $5. Doing so gets them a coupon/something worth $15 at an app-chosen local restaurant or bar. If one person does not show up, the other person gets $7.

(The important part is those prices relative to each other rather than those specific values.)

The way this would make money is to make deals with the local restaurant/bar so it doesn't cost the company running the app $15 to send the potential couple to a venue (restaurants might pay to have the customers).

There used to be a "dating" site like this for groups of 3 caleld Grouper[1]. Your group and their group each put in enough for the first round of drinks at the bar and it was up to everyone to see how the night went. Not as a group sex or swingers pitch, just you-and-two-mates meet someone-and-their-two-mates for a drink and see what happens. I always really liked the idea.

Amusingly, venues took issue with people shagging in the loos and one wondered if it was actually a front for prostitution.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grouper_social_club

You could do it without money. You could have both users "check in" at the location of the date. If a user is continually bailing on dates, the app could show them less.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. In fact, I think there was a dating app a while ago that had a similar feature.

Either way, I've thought many (many) times of making a dating app and running a pilot/MVP on UCLA's campus. But I think dating apps have been (justifiably) getting such a bad rap lately, it'll be too hard to get initial traction.

There's some group out in New York as I recall that has a curated singles mingling thing. Tell the organizers a little about yourself and what you're looking for, and when they have a group of people that might click they host a nice evening where the whole group shows up and mingles.

Of course, there's still plenty of potential for abuse or simply misuse, but not really any more than any personal relationship. This strikes me as being basically that meetup/date cross you suggested.

Interesting insights, thanks. You stated:

>"First, there's a clear (and artificial) skewing of supply-demand curves. There are probably like 30 (active) guys for every 1 (active) girl on these apps (looking at you, Tinder)"

Are there sources you could share that support this?


There are a lot more, this is one of the first that popped up on Google. I don't think the article even accounts for account activity, or the numbers would look much worse.

Disincentivise shallow profiles. Women Tinder profiles are a very good example of antithesis: there are a few carefully selected pictures. The more involved profiles may feature link to an Instagram (with more carefully-picked pictures) and a few lines that rarely offer anything to construct a personal introductory message.

Turn that around completely. Have users put in effort in being found.

I doubt that would get much attention to "disrupt" the market

Arguably that's already the case for men. Poor pictures and a terrible profile pic is not going to get you many matches. To do well on Tinder, have a photog friend shoot some semi-professional SLR-shot profile pics, have someone help you write the text in your profile, and you'll do much better. FWIW, the same goes for any woman who's less-than-model-hot, (for mainstream, culture-centric definitions of beauty).

Thing is, for the beautiful people, all they need is one really good picture, and a pizza emoji as their profile text, and they're all set. Unless you hide profile pictures (which tbf, okcupid tried for a brief second) I don't see a way to change that.

Human nature.

I can vouch for Bumble and making an arse for yourself in public. They both have worked for me with varying success. My significant other was entrapped on Bumble (/s)

Met current long term GF (~1.5 yrs) on CMB. It didn't have a ton of matches/users in my area but those it did have were more into dating with an eye towards finding a long term relationship.

Besides that I found it pretty easy to consistently get a date or two a week with Tinder, but it was a chore in terms of time spent to do so. It also resulted in a lot of not quite right matches that I felt mixed about, like people who were amazing but didn't really have compatible (with me) life directions/goals.

Bumble was the most useless dating site I tried. Everything seemed to be more about image and posturing than actually dating.

At the time okCupid was in the midst of changing from a decent site for people who still used desktops and web browsers and liked longform text to a bad version of tinder, which I assume it is now.

Assume things have changed a bit by now so of course YMMV.

It really depends on what flavor of spam you’re trying to date.

I've had great luck with Scruff, and have had friends who have done well with bumble

A bit presumptuous to assume the OP is a gay male, no?

It's no more presumptuous to assume OP is a straight male.

In the absence of other evidence, gay male is about two to four bits of entropy more presumptuous than straight male.

That doesn't make it okay to assume everybody is straight. Some people really are gay.

Right. If someone asks what a good dating app is then the better thing to do is to not assume sexual orientation or gender and recommend an app for all e.g. Tinder/Coffee Meets Bagel/Hinge?

I mean, just thought it was weird for a complete stranger to recommend to another complete stranger a gay hookup app for men...

I just recommended Scruff first because that's where I met my partner, it's way more than just a sex app! They have events and a tinder like mode where you can only match with other people looking for a relationship.

how does giving an anecdote about a dating app experience presume anything about the OP?

Scruff is a gay dating app, and those are very different from their straight counterparts. Any anecdote about them is basically irrelevant to straight folks.

The OP was asking for dating app recommendations...I thought it was strange for someone to reply back with a positive review of a gay hookup app for men without knowing the gender or sexual orientation of the person asking for the recommendation when there are plenty of dating apps that cater to all people. shrug

If you're looking for hookup, and you're attractive, Tinder works well.

If you're looking for dating, OKCupid works well, but you need to work fast. Arrange a meetup/coffee date within 3-4 messages. If you talk to someone for weeks without meeting, it's unlikely you'll get anywhere.

Every country has a different combination of dating apps that people end up using. Hell if you're in the middle east, different subsections of the population use different dating apps...

I met my current partner on Tinder but I just didn't bother to look in my current place of residence.

I wouldn't recommend Tinder to anyone though.

I met my wife on Tinder 6 years ago, but YMMV

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