In the past year, guys and gals have turned to their smartphones to meet new dates and rate the old ones.
• Since January, more than 180 million guys have been rated on Lulu, the popular new “for girls-only” app that reviews exes and crushes.
• Via the Tinder app, which is available for both genders, some 150 million “matches” have been made since the app launched nearly a year ago.
Both apps make use of Facebook profiles to provide information and put people together.
Lulu, which has more than 1 million registered users, is an attempt to bring “girl talk” to social networking, says Deborah Singer, director of the marketing for the U.K.-based app.
Young women love it.
“I like to see reviews of people I know,” says Kristina Lang, from Vancouver, British Columbia, who’s used Lulu. “It’s funny.”
Only women can sign in to the app, via their Facebook profiles. So many guys want to be included — some 500,000 have requested access to their reviews, says Singer, that they tweet often asking girls to review them.
“I’m on Lulu,” says Mike Hardy, from Los Angeles, a rare guy who’s been shown his profile by female friends. “8.9, baby!”
So what’s to keep Lulu from turning into a trash-talk app, where really mean things are said about guys in reviews?
“We designed Lulu to be a positive place,” says Singer. Lulu reviews are like Cosmo quizzes, where guys are rated on their sense of humor, commitment level and ambition to develop a score. Gals can’t write in comments, nor can they use their names. It’s all done anonymously.
While the average score tends to be a “7,” a guy could theoretically get a “1” or “2,” which wouldn’t be positive at all, admits Singer.
The app is available for free for the Apple and Android platforms, and can also be accessed online at onlulu.com.
Tinder, which is based in L.A., won’t release download or registered user numbers.
How the app works: The GPS on an Android or Apple device finds women or men in your area, and shows their pictures to you. Click the heart on the screen to show you “like” her or him, based on appearance, and that information goes back to the person whom you liked. If they agree with the like, you are matched, and can start a conversation within the app.
Sound shallow? Not according to co-founder Justin Mateen.
“Tinder is how the real world works,” he says. “It you walk into a coffee shop, the first thing you notice is someone’s physical appearance. Once you talk, you begin comparing similar interests and discussing mutual friends.”
Beyond dating, Tinder hopes to expand next year to basic friendships and business relationships as well, Mateen says.
The company looks to make money with in-app purchases, which are also targeted for next year.