New Dating Apps Hit the Market

How many more ways do we need to digitally date?

Every time I assume that we’ve reached a dating app saturation point, that there can’t possibly be another one introduced into this crazy marketplace, that there’s no other version that can ever be dreamed up, I’m proven wrong.

Another app makes it debut.

Usually it’s a slight riff on another product that’s out there. Some subtlely tweaked niche is the focus. Maybe farmers in the Midwest desperately need their own app for finding love. Or blonde, blind one-legged people don’t feel included enough in the rest of the dating app world. For whatever reason, these dating applications and sites are STILL showing no sign of stopping.

So imagine my non-surprise when, this week, I heard about two more: Wyldfire and LinkedUp!

Wyldfire, as featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, isn’t out yet. But, as of my writing this post, it’s being reviewed and is expected to be out — and free to download — very soon. Off the bat, Wyldfire has quite a deal in common with Tinder. This is a trend I’m seeing more and more. The swiping aspect (whereby a user goes left to say no and right to say yes) based mostly off of a photo or series of photos seems to be here to say. It’s the vehicle of choice for daters to view other daters on Wyldfire as well.

Syncing with Facebook and using the social platform as an identity verifier also appears to be the way du jour. Hinge has done it, as has Tinder. Wyldfire is going this route as well. The advantage is a built-in ability to see interests—based on what someone has “liked” on Facebook—and to see friends in common.

What sets Wyldfire apart is a nod to Native American culture, traditions and symbols. You don’t invite someone to the app; you send them a feather. Also, there’s the initial sign-up. With Tinder, everyone and their mother (in some cases, literally) can sign up, whether male or female. From that point on, it’s a field day of members of the opposite sex linking up. Wyldfire is billing itself as more selective, especially for the benefit of the ladies. If you’re a woman, you may sign up with no restrictions or caveats. But if you’re a man, a woman has to send you a feather and allow you to be in her Wyldfire space. I guess that means getting in the app is a feather in your cap. (Surely they must have planned for that pun.)

I digress. Each woman gets three feathers to dole out. Men—even ones to which she isn’t acquainted, it sounds like—can petition and solicit her feather. Ultimately it’s her call though. Like life, I guess?

I’m not so sure about this app. The sole advantage is selectivity. I’d be curious to see what sorts of gatekeepers the first women to sign up will prove to be.

The second new dating app that has caught my attention lately is LinkedUp! Unlike the aforementioned apps relying on Facebook for signup and identity checking, LinkedUp!is going with LinkedIn. You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking: LinkedIn is a professional network. It’s where I search for jobs and create a virtual resume and, after an industry event where others in my field enjoy free wine and pass around business cards, I come home and find people on the site like a career-enabling treasure hunt. It’s not my Chuck Woolery.

LinkedUp!, however, disagrees with us. The rationale provided in a New York Post article about the application points to career-obsessed singles who wouldn’t dream of taking a chance on Match.com, OkCupid or Tinder but are more than willing to give LinkedUp! a go. They see security in a professional network over a social one, I suppose. Who are these people?

Certainly personal and professional worlds are colliding. George Costanza would be appalled at the lack of separation. We spend so much time in offices and working on work that we’re bound to you-know-what where we eat. Does that mean we should just blend a dating and a job-searching site into one, however?!

I say nah. For me, I don’t love the idea of wondering whether a message is about my credentials or my physical assets, so to speak. I’d like to keep the searches for love and career a bit on their own.

Only time, though,—and downloads—will tell how these apps fare in an ever-increasingly crowded dating-technology space.

-Dena

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