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New Dating App Hotline Requires a Phone Call Instead of a Swipe

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It seems many dating apps now want to distance themselves from Tinder, even though the tremendous growth of online dating was thanks to Tinder’s swiping technology. Now, instead of endless swiping that goes nowhere, a common complaint among Tinder users, a new app is offering something more intimate: requiring a phone call to connect with a match.

Dating app Hotline launched in New York last month, and is already getting some buzz thanks to its old-school premise: talking on the phone. The app doesn’t let you text until you’ve made at least one phone call and talked to your match first.

While most dating apps offer a simple way to connect in order to attract more users (hence the stubborn persistence of swiping technology), Hotline offers something more difficult – on purpose. When you call a potential date, it requires some effort and confidence, which means you’re more likely to make plans to get together and see where it goes. At least, you’ll have a better shot at meeting from a phone call than you would swiping and texting on a regular dating app, where messages often lead to nothing.

In an interview with CNNTech, Hotline founder Sam Ballantyne said he created the app “to introduce as much ‘friction’ as possible into dating so people only interact with each other ‘when they really want to.’”

Ballantyne also admitted that a woman he met over another dating app refused to text until a man called her. They ended up talking for two hours, and went out for a few months before calling it quits. In other words, her tactic worked on him, so why wouldn’t it work on other guys?

Another distinction with Hotline is that it costs money to use - $9 per month for the benefit of calling your dates. This is because Hotline wants to offer a more serious service for people looking to form relationships, not just hook up. It seems to be following in Hinge’s footsteps. The company relaunched their app and is now charging $7 per month to use all the features of the new Hinge.

Also, Hotline users can only select three matches at a time, a similar model to dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. CMB limits user choices to six matches per day, and ladies get to decide first who they want to message.

"As a casual user of a dating app, it's really not hard to have hundreds or thousands of matches. It means you don't treat your matches well. It's hard to manage thousands of virtual relationships," said Ballantyne to CNNMoney. "I wanted to build something that made it easier to give whoever you were messaging the time they deserve."