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Description: The idea of meeting someone on the fly through a mobile app based solely on proximity may seem, at first, like a risky proposition.

Source: New York Times .com

Date: Nov 2, 2011

On the apps, which use smartphone location technology, users post a simple profile and then broadcast their availability, or scan a list of others who have done so.

They can immediately exchange messages and, if there is mutual interest, decide where to meet.

Some of the apps are stand-alone, while others are new features of established dating sites; there are fewer than a dozen so far, including Blendr, OkCupid Locals and HowAboutWe. They tend to be free, making money by selling ads or charging for extra features.

OkCupid Locals is part of OkCupid, a larger dating site, which says a tenth of its 2.5 million active members use the location features in the mobile app. HowAboutWe began a little over a year ago as a Web site where people post suggestions for dates they would like to have.  Read the Rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. Are these dating service a good idea? Why?

2.  What are the revenue models for these dating apps and services?

8 Responses to “With an App, Your Next Date Could Be Just Around the Corner”

  1. Erin

    The revenue model these dating services use is a combination of the advertising and merchant models. Though the majority of their revenue comes from vendors advertising, some still charge for extra services, which fall into the merchant model. The advertising model is a good way to reach out to many consumers, because they are getting the service free of charge.
    I don’t think these dating services are a good idea. It is slightly intimidating how much information about each one of us is out there already, and this is giving even more personal information, to complete strangers. The internet is already used by far too many people with intent to harm, and these sites seem to be giving them one easy app to download. Giving away your location to strangers on the internet does not seem like a good idea, because once they know where you are from; they only have to do a bit more work to find you. If they know that they are in the same area as you are, they can start hanging out at local spots in order to see you. In all odds, you will run into them again, or they will be able to find you. Consumers do not always consider the risks of giving out private information until it is too late, even when warning signs pop up on computers – most people click yes without reading.

  2. Ivette

    I think these services can be considered convenient, it all depends on the market and clearly, the people who use them know what they want and what they are looking for. A single person in a mature stage of life has little or nothing to lose by meeting up with other people and maybe even finding their right match. There will always be safety issues not only with these services but with everything we do, and dating companies are aware of this concerns, that’s why they try to make their sites more appealing by giving users the opportunity to limit the amount of information they share. The level of exposure depends on the person who is posting the information and it should be a safe practice if it is used wisely, just like everything else. I also think that this trend will become more popular in the future with the increase in sales of Smartphones and the increased use of apps. People are always in the look for convenience and convenience is what they are getting. Also, I think that safety and information sharing will become less of an issue as technology develops and internet security increases.

  3. Helen

    Yes I believe that these dating sites are a good idea. Increasingly people are spending more and more online and relying on online services. This is an easy and convenient way to meet people. Even if two people decide not to date, it is still a fun way to meet people in your area, perhaps leading to lasting friendships. There are privacy and safety concerns but those exist with traditional dating as well. I think there are parallels between this service and Facebook. It offers a lot of great things but needs to be used with care. The companies providing these services recognize the concerns and allow users to limit the information they’re sharing with the public. As the use of smartphones becomes more integrated into our daily lives I think it is only natural that we see a growing trend toward meeting people online. More and more people seek convenience and that is exactly what users of these services are getting. The use of “Apps” has infiltrated our lives in numerous aspects from grocery shopping, to school and work. Why not dating too? There definitely is concern that people might view the service as an easy way to obtain a “companion” for the evening, but I think overall people will use it for it’s original intent.

  4. Meagan

    These dating services could be good or bad depending on how you look at them. First of all it is a good idea because of the fact that you’re not just going to see the same four guys every time you look, because you are always in a different location you find a lot more matches than you would with online dating. This can help you meet that person right away and like they said just catch a quick drink to see what they are like. It is hard to tell what someone is really like when you are on line. You also don’t know if you are talking with someone your age or if they are really a creepy 60 year old. When you meet them in person you automatically know what they look like and if they are what they really say they are. With online dating users don’t have to put up a picture but if they are “just around the corner” you can see them. It can also be a bad idea because there can be some people who could hurt you or find where you are at all times and follow you and never leave you alone. It could become dangerous having people know that you are somewhere near them and if you don’t want to meet them they could easily find you and that isn’t always what people want, whereas online you just don’t answer their email and it’s done and they leave you alone. So there are both good and bad reasons for these services.

  5. Antonio Raho

    I think that as long as the user understands the risks of using a service such as this it could be an okay idea. However, as the article states, safety can sometimes be an issue, as well as what peoples intents are while using a service like this. Many individuals are looking for a serious, long term relationship while using a dating service and aren’t just looking for a one night deal. In this regards, I believe that using a dating site on your mobile device that uses location services may be a negative service, as when you’re in close proximity meeting to just “hook up” is easier than say using a dating service which matches individuals based on live stages, goals, intents and personality traits. I don’t think that using a dating service based on proximity is necessarily matching people to the best of its ability. The other side of this argument, however, is that as long as the service markets properly, the individuals using this (who are mainly in their 20 and 30s) likely know what they’re looking for and will use their best judgement when doing so, one would hope at least. I also believe that this could be dangerous because if you have a negative encounter with someone, they are able to know your location, this could cause legal issues if the individual were to decide not to leave you alone. In summary, I believe that the idea of a dating site based on location is a bad idea.

  6. Jillian K

    These dating applications function mostly using the advertising revenue model, not charging users sign up fees but simply charging other companies to buy ad space so that the users can see it. They also charge for added features but there is no basic subscription price. I think this is a very important part of that applications success because at this point, proximity dating is a very new concept. To be honest I’m not sure if it is one that I am quite comfortable with yet. Users probably wouldn’t be willing to pay for this service initially because they would be unsure of its security and functionality.

    My opinion on these applications is that those who choose to use them are severely giving up their right to privacy. Allowing people to see a profile that includes their exact location is very risky. Sure, it is is convenient if somebody wants to go for a quick drink after work but it is also a pretty convenient way to acquire a stalker. What I don’t understand is the need for aps like this, has the internet made us so socially inept that we are now unable to meet people on our own terms? People used to date and get married all the time without having their mobile phone constantly tracking and broadcasting their current location.

  7. Destiny S

    This article discusses individuals using dating applications on their cell phones. These applications find people in the users’ local area by utilizing the built-in GPS systems in the cellular phone. These dating applications allow the user to control how much information is published on the application. These mobile applications are essentially the same as their online counterparts. However, we must question just how safe users information really is, especially on the mobile network, never mind on the word wide web. Furthermore, the article suggests that these mobile dating applications are successful, a very subjective term, and the criteria defining ‘success’ is not mentioned. These ads, like many paid and unpaid applications available on mobile cellular phones, feature advertisements as a form of revenue generation. Most applications are free for the initial download. However, access to the full product version is limited to those willing to pay a fee. Additionally, some companies will offer paid versions of their software that do not contain any advertisements. The article points out that older individuals will see many issues with this type of interaction (cell phone- or internet-based meetings), but that for younger generations it may be the way of the future and become common. The issue at hand may be the security of information published on these websites or applications online or on cell phones, respectively.

  8. Hassan Al Sarrar

    First of all, as technology nowadays are becoming more and more advanced and user friendly, it became a necessary for a lot of people to check their emails, Facebook feeds, or reading news. However, that reduced the social interacting, which is a big role to involve people with each other and create relationships. Therefore, I could say these dating online services are important giving the fact less interacting between people, but you still need a balanced community and see people getting along with each other. A lot of people find it difficult to meet others on lets say the right person to go for a date with, but these dating apps is offering an easier approach where you could meet other people that are looking for a date like you. These apps also give a description and little information about the user and their location where it ease the looking for the right person to meet. These dating apps and websites could benefit financially through many ways such as advertisements on the apps itself or provider websites. Also, there could be subscriptions fees to use their services. It is increasingly becoming a huge profitable business in the meantime giving the people are becoming more involved with the technology.

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