Do you relish the idea of your phone buzzing with potential suitors?
If you need a dozen options for a date tonight — and live in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles — a new app called Let’s Date is launching today. Forget the extended courtship period — this app cuts to the chase, no back-and-forth messages or planning required.
It claims to be the first mobile-only dating product, although OkCupid just launched a free smartphone app for blind dates (I would know — for our in-depth review, I actually went on one of these dates.)
In an interview with VentureBeat, Let’s Date founder Sean Suhl said they designed the app to replicate those jittery feelings of catching a stranger’s eye in a bar. “You go to a bar or show or party … you strike up a conversation and maybe set up a date. This was the experience we wanted people to have on their phone.”
Let’s Date spun out of Science Inc. a Los Angeles-based technology studio that creates and acquires applications. Its founding team previously developed SuicideGirls, the popular community for fans of “alternative beauty.” SuicideGirls is still going strong under new management; the founders told TechCrunch that their years of experience building an online community will come in handy.
Suhl designed the app to appeal to urban and professional women, so I decided to give it a whirl.
Download the app for free and log in with Facebook Connect (it didn’t show up in my news feed — phew), and it prompts you to answer a series of questions to help the app find you a match. Whoever created the survey likely has a dodgy dating history — on the topic of “drug use,” I’m asked whether I’m a “drug free,” “down the hatch,” “up the nose” or “in the veins” girl. For booze, those who enjoy a 2 p.m. tipple can select “Don Draper train wreck.”
Once you’ve filled out the necessary steps, the app automatically creates a dating card. You then may browse singles’ dating cards or sit idly by until you request a Let’s Date request, which you can accept or decline with a simple “no thanks.”
The company claims it set up 25,000 people on dates in January alone.
Let’s Date also uses a recommendations engine to improve its date suggestions and find a venue for you to meet. In testing, the user experience team discovered that female daters were more likely to tap “Let’s Date” on a match if they were presented a couple less optimal options first.
So don’t be surprised if your first few suggested dates are total duds. The algorithm meant to do that.
The app is a step ahead of OkCupid’s Crazy Blind Date — I would feel more comfortable going on a date with a stranger if I could peruse their interests and profile pics.
However, it shares many of the same flaws — tech nerds tend to be early adopters of new dating apps. It’s not ideal if you’re looking to meet people in other industries. Case in point: My first match’s status? “A lot of people seemed surprised that someone interested in computers would also be interested in painting.”
Single readers, would you give Let’s Date a shot? If you’ve already taken the plunge, I’d love to hear from you!