Finally — a dating app(Bumble) without all that sleaze.
That’s the promise from Bumble, an 8-month-old app that’s adding a new algorithm to grade users on metrics like engagement and, well, whether they’re demanding to see you naked.
To earn a “VIBee” badge on Bumble, male and female users alike must establish a track record of having real conversations with other users, says Whitney Wolfe, Bumble’s founder and CEO.
Already, Bumble has established itself as an unworkable venue for guys accustomed to carpet-bombing women with “Hey baby” and “Nice (body part)” messages.
That’s because Wolfe — a co-founder of Tinder, a notorious haven for such annoyances — has insisted that on Bumble only women can initiate male-female conversations.
“Tinder’s a great platform, a great product — I hope it continues to be successful,” says Wolfe, who last year settled a sex-harassment suit, reportedly for $1 million, against Tinder and its parent IAC/InterActiveCorp after being ousted from the company.
“This is not some revenge against any other platform,” said the 26-year-old CEO, who as part of her harassment case had published provocative texts from Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen.
Bumble, which also uses Tinder’s swipe feature to browse profiles, is rather “a means to emulate real life,” in which people can’t hide behind user names to spam or harass others, Wolfe says.
Likewise, the women-first messaging rule seeks to address a backward social convention that Wolfe believes has only gotten worse with the advent of online dating and texting.
“I personally can tell you that all my girlfriends — and many women I’ve spoken to — have this fear of being perceived as desperate or forward when they want to approach a man,” Wolfe said. “It was always, ‘He must text you first’ — but why?”
A Bumble user can win a VIBee badge in as little as a day or as long as a month, depending on usage, she said.
Wolfe said Bumble’s women-first messaging policy has acted like a pressure valve, releasing a flood 5 million unique chats initiated by women thus far on top of 1 billion swipes by men and women alike.
Bumble isn’t releasing figures on its active user base, but after passing the 500,000 mark two or three months ago, it has been growing at a week-over-week clip of as much as 15 percent.