The thought of online dating never occurred to me until I was asked to review apps in this category. Call me old school, but the idea of meeting strangers online and discussing things with them just doesn’t click me. However, looking at the popularity of these online dating websites in India, I decided to experience the ‘never before experienced’ arena myself.
So I plunged into the world of dating apps, swiping men I liked right and those I didn’t like to the left — most apps have the same operating mechanism. Needless to say, they are different from social networking platforms because of the fact that they have been specifically designed for dating people.
It is unlikely that you missed the ‘boy browsing’ ad of TrulyMadly on TV or the Woo ad that says ‘Find magic, Find love’. I liked the ads, but are the apps as appealing? I used four top dating apps over a week and based on my experience, here’s what I have to say:
Since you have already made up your mind to date online, why not do it the most ‘fun’ way. TrulyMadly truly ensures that you have fun while chatting to people you have liked. I am saying this because the app offers a number of games like ‘Foodie Funda’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Styletastic’ etc. It even offers vivacious stickers to express things you might or might not be able to ‘describe in words’.
One needs to obviously create a profile on the app first. You can either log in with your Facebook profile or an e-mail id. You are required to fill in a few mandatory fields such as your date of birth, height, state, city, occupation and highest educational qualification. Additionally, it also asks you to choose your hobbies (at least three) from a series of hashtags such as #TravelBuff, #Artsy, #Foodie or you can add your own.
The verification process may sound tedious, but there’s more to it. The app won’t allow you to start dating unless you have at least a 30 per cent verification score. Wondering how to achieve your 30 per cent? Well, here’s how.
TrulyMadly assigns percentage to different mediums you log in with. For example, I tried to create my account with Gmail id, which gave me only 10 per cent score and I could not log in. Logging in with your Facebook profile or Photo Id however gives the required 30 per cent score. Similarly, logging in with LinkedIn or with references only gives you a 15 per cent score. Percentage earned from adding your phone number is 10 per cent.
So, finally when you log in to the app, it will provide you with people based on proximity as well as number of mutual friends in your Facebook profiles. You can view pictures, read about their hobbies, job description, age etc and choose ‘tick’ or ‘cross’ to accept or reject. You can edit age range, height, state or city and the app will stick to your preferences by showing people from only that city or state and of that age, height that you choose.
The app is designed in such a way that you can only see the names of those you choose to select and for the rest, only ‘xxx’ appears instead of name. The app works on a ‘Trust Score’ system, which lets people rate you on the basis of your interactions with them. Keeping in mind the safety concerns, it also gives you an option to switch on your profile visibility only to people who you choose to talk to.
Let us come back to the cool games that we talked about above. These games ask you a series (a short series) of questions related to the game you choose and displays your answers next to answers that your match chose. Styletastic quiz asks you questions like ‘what would you wear on a date’ or ‘how do you like your hair’ and gives you options like cool and casual or picture perfect etc.
Think online dating and Tinder is among the first few apps that come to mind. Tinder therefore could not stay far behind in our list. It isn’t entirely similar to TrulyMadly as it gives you a number of settings through which you can date ‘differently’.
First up, to log in, you need to have a Facebook account. It banks on the Facebook verification process, which can be used to create a profile on Tinder as well. Tinder shows you the name, age, picture and short description of people and you can swipe right to choose or left. Additionally, there’s an option of ‘Superlike’.
Now, what Tinder does differently is that it offers varied options to personalise your dating experience. For example, one can just switch off the discovery of their profile and only keep chatting to the people one has liked. It shows you both men and women to choose from in its settings. Apart from these, Tinder also offers general settings like limiting the search distance or age.
Worry not, if you do not want to disclose your location, for there’s Tinder Plus for that. It allows you to enter your location manually. Tinder Plus is not a free service like Tinder. It comes with a monthly subscription of Rs 612.89 and a yearly subscription at Rs 290.82. Also, if you mistakenly swiped someone you like, left, then you can undo that with Tinder Plus.
Then again, there’s an option to ‘Unmatch’ with people or discontinue talking to them if you realise mid-way that you don’t like them. TrulyMadly also offers a similar option.
I, however, encountered a little problem while using Tinder, which could have been a technical glitch or maybe the app has been designed that way. It logged me out on several occasions where there was no net connectivity. This is a problem for me because I use my smartphone to remain logged in to various social networking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc and that is the whole purpose of a personalised phone, that you don’t need to log out every time you are not using a particular app.
To sum up, the profiles on Tinder are verified; it shows your mutual friends from Facebook and lets you choose people from various town/cities.
Next up we have Woo. It’s called the ‘Matchmaking app for singles’ and largely works on matching people based on their interests. Unlike the dating apps that we talked about previously, you don’t necessarily need to reject people, you can like them using the ‘heart’ icon; message them to find out more about them or simply move on to another person by swiping right.
The app also prompts you to ask questions from its customised list or you can even type a question of your own before connecting with someone. The list includes questions like, ‘What does success mean to you?’, ‘Which are the best trip you have ever taken’ and more similar questions. But the problem with it is that it really pushes you to ask questions. It only shows you a couple of matchmaking options and prompts you to ask at least three questions in order to move further. And then it asks you to invite friends on the app, which is really annoying.
The USP of the app is that it allows you to select a particular interest tag of a person and the search engine in turn lists all of those people who have that similar interest. For example, a person has put ‘Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’ as one of the tags in his/her ‘like’ section, then you can click on it to get a list of all those people who have ‘Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’ as their likes.
If you are the kind of person for whom, the other person’s voice is a major deciding factor but you don’t want to share your number; the app has got you covered there too. It allows people to record a 7-second voice message (optional), which displays on their profile. The profile also has a slot to fill in your religion.
Woo app too requires you to log in with your Facebook account but the issue with this method is that your Facebook profile is exposed also to those people whom you liked, chatted but unmatched later out of certain problems.
It does not compromise on safety especially for girls as it only displays the initials and not the full name of girls. The app settings are more or less same for Woo too as one can choose to see people based on distance, age and sex.
Well, to start with, let me tell you that OkCupid caters to a much larger mass of different sexual orientations. It asked me if I was straight, gay or bisexual in the beginning and of course my gender.
OkCupid more or less relies on a search algorithm based on distance. It is, however, likely to make your dating experience better if you fill in your profile summary relating to your interests and hobbies. The app prompts you to answer questions like, ‘What I’m doing with my life’, ‘The six things I could never do without’, ‘On a typical Friday night I am’ etc. You can also mention you age preferences, area preferences and whether you are interested in new friends or dating.
My first impression of the app is that it needs you to fill in too much information (optional). Apart from a few mentioned above, it also attempts to peek into your smoking and drinking habits, religion, body type, relationship type etc. It is good for people who are looking for serious relationships and want to be sure of the match before liking or messaging a person. It shows you your match percentage with the profiles displayed based on interests and proximity.
OkCupid by far has the most elaborate search filter. It does not just allow you to browse matches based on location, age, relationship status etc but also on ethnicity, religion, drinks, income, job and even diet. So this is why it gets so important to fill out your whole profile properly, so as to appear in searches with common interests.
Just like Tinder Plus, OkCupid has a paid version of the app called ‘A-list’. With A-list, you can view all your profile visitors and those who liked you; search by many more filters such as body type and attractiveness; browse other people in the incognito mode etc. The paid version comes for one, three and six month’s subscription options.
The good thing about OkCupid, something that Woo also offers is that you can browse through numerous profiles without the option of either liking or rejecting a particular profile in order to move to the next one.