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Free Dating Apps: A Brief Overview And Competitive Analysis

I'm single and I want love to be sent directly to my cell phone. Thanks.

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Hinge

Hinge.co / Via hinge.co

Here’s the deal: Here’s one we’ve heard before: “I met my [insert significant other title here] through friends.” Hinge banks on that tactic to introduce singles to one another by linking your Facebook to the app and then matching you up with the friends of your Facebook pals. It gives you a selection of potentials every day and you either favorite them or dismiss them. If you like each other, the message channel opens up and Hinge provides with a neat little personalized intro to one another — just like if you were really being introduced by your friends.

It gets awkward when: That mutual friend of yours happens to be the asshole you dated last month.

The takeaway: A damn good idea. Except, how uncomfortable do you feel knowing that dude you dated last month is getting matched with your friends too?

OkCupid

OkCupid / Via okcupid.com

What’s the deal: The godfather of free dating sites amongst the twenty-to-thirty-something crowd in metropolitan areas. There should probably be a spot on your birth certificate for your OkCupid profile handle, because if you were born after 1973, was single at some point after the invention of the Internet, and live in a city, you probably have been/are currently on OkCupid.

It gets awkward when: You’ve been on OkCupid so long, people start saying things like, “Heyyyyyy, I remember you.” I’m actually invisible, goddammit.

The takeaway: The general consensus is that if you want a serious dating site, pay for it, otherwise, be resigned for people propositioning you on the reg. However, we’ve all heard a fair share of OkCupid success stories — and probably about a kajillion more not-so-awesome stories.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel / Via coffeemeetsbagel.com

Here’s the deal: This one is a little like Hinge where it links to your Facebook account, but it requires a good deal more patience. You get one “bagel” (that’s what they call matches) every 24-hours and oftentimes, it’s a friend of a Facebook friend (though that part is kept secret until you pay with “coffee beans” — accumulated through active CMB-ing — to unblur those friends ORRR you could resort to some light Facebook stalking. The nifty thing is that if the two of you like each other, CMB will send a group text to you both, allowing you to communicate via text message while still keeping your respective phone numbers private. The text message channel expires in two weeks.

It gets awkward when: Your phone is blowing up in class/the office/a puppy store (indulge me) because you’re essentially having a chatty convo with your “bagel “— their term, not mine.

The takeaway: Twenty-four hours is a long time to wait in an ADHD-prone — hey, what’s that shiny thing over there?

Grouper

Grouper / Via joingrouper.com

Here’s the deal: A little online dating shy? Well, what do you have to fear when you have your two best (single, readily available) friends by your side? Your sweet little group of three gets paired with another sweet little group of three, and you’re all set up to go on a sweet little group date.

It gets awkward when: You AND your wing girl/guy like the same girl/guy, that’s if going halfsies isn’t really your thing. Or, worse still, if the dynamic between your friends and those other people is just off. Ever been to a really dry party where none of the people really knew or jived with each other? It’s kinda like that.

The takeaway: Grouper has an ultra long wait-list right now. Maybe it has something to do with finding six people who are all free at the same time?

Tinder

Tinder / Via tinder.com

Here’s the deal: Swiping left and swiping right has new meaning thanks to Tinder. It’s an entirely novel idea to dating: let’s decide if we like someone or not based ENTIRELY on how they LOOK. Tinder’s gained some notoriety for its easy street reputation, but it’s not entirely unheard of that meaningful relationships have been forged via this app. You see, you swipe, and then either that person whose photo you swiped left on disappears into the Tinder ether forever (not really, they come back all the time) or you actually might have to communicate with them?

It gets awkward when: You’re swiping up a storm and there’s your little sister/stepbrother/football coach — is it just me, or are so many people online dating these days, you are constantly running into people you know in real life and forced for an uncomfortable millisecond to think about them in a totally repulsive way?

The takeaway: From my entirely unofficial survey of people I know, many people on Tinder are also sitting on a toilet somewhere. So, chew on that.

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