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A Northwestern University study found that men viewed more than three times as many profiles as women and were about forty per cent more likely than women to send a message or chat after viewing a profile.“The most desirable partners, especially the most desirable women, are likely to find the process of sifting through so many first-contact e-mails aversive, perhaps causing them to disengage from the process altogether,” the researchers write.I argued that it didn’t take seriously the concerns of women—safety, proximity, control—even though the founder Joel Simkhai told , “As a gay man, I probably understand straight women more than straight guys do.” Yeah, but probably not enough.Since airing my skepticism, I’ve received an e-mail or Facebook message every couple of months from a male entrepreneur who wants to pick my brain about how to make a location-based dating app appeal to women.Blendr is the most high-profile of a series of new location-based dating apps for straight people.It was created by the same folks who made Grindr, the hookup app that’s become ubiquitous in the gay community.After all, in a survey of a hundred thousand Ok Cupid users, over half the women said they’ve had casual sex.Women may initiate contact less frequently, but they are comfortable reaching out first if they see a profile that appeals to them.
We respond to emotional cues and pheromones and all sorts of subtle factors. What if women are just as open to spontaneously meeting a man for a drink—and maybe more?“The main problem was women, especially attractive women, busy women, would stop using a dating Web site after their first experience, because it was a disaster.They got creeped out by thousands of e-mails with sometimes harsh messages,” Rolland told me.Sure, they can try to focus-group their way out of the problem, but if an app for “straight” people is to get anywhere close to Grindr’s level of success, women have to not just join out of curiosity. Men are slightly overrepresented among dating-service users, according to a 2010 Duke University study, and when it comes to apps, men tend to be more willing to use location-based dating features.
On either platform, they’re far more likely to use the services aggressively.
“Blendr is generally useless, and there is a huge, untapped market for a hookup app for straights (or everyone other than gay men, really),” one of them wrote to me.