Badoo

Badoo Becomes First Dating App To Hit 100M Downloads On Android

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Badoo app hits 100 Million Downloads

Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel may inspire most of the buzz in the mobile dating industry, but it’s Badoo that’s now celebrating a major milestone. The London-based company has just become the first ever dating app to reach 100 million downloads in the Google Play store.

“We’re really excited about today’s milestone,” said Alexandra Chong, President of Badoo, in a statement. “With 10 years of existence, Badoo has the industry’s deepest insights and experience, and knows how to use this wealth of information to create a fantastic user experience and sustain incredible growth and momentum.”

Other companies in the 100 million club on Android include Whatsapp, Snapchat, Spotify, and Twitter - but a surprising number of big names (from the aforementioned Tinder to Amazon, Uber, and Pinterest) haven’t yet cracked the nine-digit mark.

Along with that big news comes the launch of a timely new feature. Badoo is putting privacy and security at the forefront of the product by introducing a new photo verification system designed to combat catfishing. To get a picture verified, users must submit a selfie with a pose requested by Badoo. The gestures are not common, like a thumbs-up, but rather unique and specific.

Once the image has been submitted, Badoo’s team of over 5,000 moderators across the globe review it to ensure it follows the directions and matches the other photos on the profile. The entire process can reportedly be completed in less than one minute.

For an additional layer of safety, users can opt to be matched only with verified users. Chong says the selfie scheme was devised to make the verification process fun instead of tedious. After testing other possibilities, selfies were the clear winner. Moving forward, existing users will be encouraged to verify their account and 100% of new Badoo users worldwide will be required to go through the process.

Badoo hopes the new feature release will aid its push into the United States. The company has plans to open its first office in the US and will begin a marketing/PR campaign to announce its arrival. Chong says the company has also set its sights on solving other problems that plague the online and mobile dating worlds.

“We hear a lot of complaints about people chatting forever online and never meeting face-to-face,” she told Forbes. “So we developed a great, innovative feature to address that. It will be launching in the coming months, so stay tuned!”. For more on this dating app please read our Badoo review

Badoo Launches Photo Verification for Safer Dating

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Badoo Photo Verification

How do you know if that cute guy you matched with on your dating app is really who he says he is? The hard truth is – you don’t, at least until you meet in person.

One consistent issue with online dating (and social media in general) has been users setting up fake profiles. Often, these fake profiles are used for catfishing – or targeting and scamming other users or members of the same service. Online dating site Badoo has decided to address the problem with its own newly-launched photo and profile verification system.

Many online daters in the U.S. have heard of OkCupid or Tinder, but they haven’t heard of Badoo. Despite this, it is a global giant in the online dating industry with 300 million registered users in over 190 countries, bigger than all of the popular U.S. dating services – even Tinder. Plus, the company has 400,000 signups every day, mostly in Europe and South America.

According to Badoo, the new verification system will hopefully eliminate catfishing from the service altogether. When a new user signs up, they are asked to verify their profile. Badoo then sends them a request for a photo – and the new user has to perform a specific gesture that Badoo assigns. (The company notes that it is a unique and specific gesture, not a common one like a “thumbs-up.”) Badoo will then make sure it's you by looking at the other photos on your profile along with the unique pose. You may even be asked to do another pose. The whole process takes less than a minute since the company has 5,000 moderators worldwide checking them out, so it’s pretty efficient.

If a user chooses not to verify a photo, they could be excluded from other users’ views who only want to connect with verified profiles.

The new verification system is another step in Badoo’s strategy to appeal to female online daters. With the verification system, Badoo intends for female daters to feel more secure in signing up and using the service, since they are often the ones who are targeted with fake profiles and messages.

This seems to be a strategic move. The company recently bought popular female-centric dating app Lulu, where women rate the men they date for other women, as a referral or warning system, depending on how you look at it. Badoo’s head Andrey Andreev hired Lulu’s founder Alexandra Chong as President of Badoo, and the company intends to set up a U.S. office to attract more of a presence in the States. According to TechCrunch Andreev also has invested in Bumble, another female-friendly dating app.

The new version of Badoo is available in the iTunes store, Google Play, and the Windows store.

Dating App Lulu Becomes Part of Online Dating Service Badoo

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Badoo Acquires Lulu

Lulu, a dating app designed to help women rate and share information about the men they date, has become part of online dating giant Badoo.

Lulu has had an interesting history. Founded in 2011 by Alexandra Chong, the app was originally created to help women have a safer online dating experience by encouraging them to communicate with other women over the app about the men they dated. Users were given the ability to rate their dates according to looks, humor, ambition, and even sexual prowess. They could also add pre-made hashtags for more detailed examples describing a man, like #OneWomanMan, #WillActSilly or #EpicLaugh.

The app took off among women, but men felt they were being unfairly judged or even bullied by women using the app. Some complained that the app itself was sexist and shallow. Since these reports, Lulu has allowed men to see their ratings, hashtags, and edit information about themselves.

Chong has been named President of Badoo in the deal, and will be seeing global expansion for the Badoo brand as well as managing Lulu in-house. "Badoo is a natural fit for the Lulu community. In line with Lulu’s vision, Badoo is committed to providing the very best online dating experiences for women in particular,” Chong said in a statement released by Badoo. She added that Badoo’s CEO Andrey Andreev and his team “have done an outstanding job growing the product into a truly global community offering a unique local experience for its users.”

Despite being in the shadows of more well-known sites like Plenty of Fish and Match, Badoo is a major player in the online dating world. The service was founded in 2006, has 300 million users in 190 countries around the world, and 60 million monthly active users. An average active user spends 1.8 hours on Badoo per day, the company says.

Lulu isn’t the first dating app to join Badoo – the company has a portfolio of apps under its belt as well, including the popular Hot or Not and Blendr.

With the acquisition, Lulu’s users will be able to access the profiles and connect with Badoo’s extensive database of users. Instead of just being a messaging and ratings app, it will be a full-fledged dating service.

The big question for Lulu’s future is murky. Current reviews in the Apple and Android stores aren’t favorable. Many people liked the rating system the app pioneered, and are unsatisfied with its new premise, which shows users who on the app is nearby and who they just passed or bumped into, in order to begin a conversation or start dating.

Since launching in the US, the Lulu app has been downloaded by more than 6 million people and is on the phone of one in four US female university undergraduates.

To find out more about the dating service which purchased Lulu you can read our review of Badoo.

Former Tinder Co-Founder Launches Bumble, a 'Women-Friendly Tinder' App

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Bumble Dating App

Earlier this year, Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe left the company after raising a lawsuit against her colleagues over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. In case you need a refresher, Wolfe alleged that she was sent inappropriate messages by one of Tinder's male co-founders, who pursued a romantic relationship with Wolfe and then publicly shamed her. She also says she was stripped of her co-founder title over fears that her age and gender would damage the company's perceived valuation.

Heavy stuff, but it looks like Wolfe might soon get her revenge. TechCrunch reported that she's teamed up with Tinder alumni Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick to create a similarly swipe-based dating app they've dubbed Bumble. According to its Facebook page, Bumble is “an exciting, new place to meet people” and “everything you've always wanted from a social discovery app with none of the things you don't.”

Ok, sounds good so far. So how does it actually work?

According to TechCrunch, the app looks (unsurprisingly) much like Tinder. The famous swipe interface is in play, as is the basic large photo/snippet of personal info structure. A key difference is that Bumble appears to use more detailed information than Tinder – including job position, company, college, and graduation year – supporting the idea that it is intended for more serous daters.

Bumble explains its process like this:

  • Two people like each other and it's a connection
  • The girl has to make the first move by starting a chat within 24 hours
  • If she doesn't chat, the connection disappears forever
  • But... guys can extend ONE match per day for an extra 24 hours

A 24-hour rule seems a little harsh, but otherwise the idea is interesting. Will flipping the traditional dating dynamic on its head actually work, or will Bumble end up being a service where almost everyone is silent?

Bumble's behind-the-scenes structure also raises some interesting points. Competing with Tinder is no easy feat, but if anyone stands a chance, isn't it a Tinder founder and former employees? They have experience and insider knowledge that no one else has, plus enough public visibility to spread awareness quickly.

Really quickly, as it turns out. A source told TechCrunch that Bumble has already raised millions of dollars from a number of different sources, including social dating service Badoo and a multi-millionaire heir to an oil fortune. Bumble claims the app will be launching any day now, so we should find out soon enough whether that's enough to take on Tinder.

Hot Or Not Is Making A Comeback – As A Dating App

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Once upon a time, back in the 2000s, Hot Or Not was a phenomenon sweeping the Web. By now most of us had written the site off as a piece of early 21st century nostalgia, but it’s just gotten a mobile makeover and has plans to join the booming online dating business.

The new version of the addictive rating game is owned by UK-based online dating company Badoo, and is now available in the iTunes and Android app stores. Like other mobile dating apps, Hot Or Not uses location-based data to show you the most attractive people in your vicinity. That idea is nothing new. What Hot Or Not hopes will catch users’ eyes is the app’s customized Hot Lists, which are based on how users vote on profiles created in-house of celebrities, politicians, authors, and other recognizable figures.

The Hot Lists feature calculates a person’s hotness based on user votes, then updates in real-time to show the prettiest people near you. The radius the real-time Hot Lists span depends on the number of users active in a given area – so the more users who are around, the more the radius will shrink to keep it localized.

The rest of the app works exactly as you would expect a mobile dating app to work. Users can connect their Hot or Not profiles to Facebook, which autofills their Hot or Not profiles with their Facebook likes and profile pictures. In the games section, users can browse the profiles of other members in their area and rate them with a heart (for “hot”) or an X (for “not”). If a user hits the heart, they can strike up a private conversation with the person who tickles their fancy.

Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev, who launched Badoo in Spain in 2006, is the man behind the plan to bring Hot Or Not back. Badoo is one of the largest international dating sites in the world, with roughly 200 million users in 180 countries, but its presence in the US is lacking. Andreev hopes Hot Or Not will change all that. So far, he claims the new Hot or Not app has amassed 10 million users in its short lifetime.

It’s impossible to prove the validity of Andreev’s claim, but according to the Google Play store, the app has been installed on Android devices between one million and five million times. In the iTunes App Store, shortly after its release, the Hot or Not app ranked 321st overall and 21st in lifestyle.

You can download the app for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones.

How A Russian Is Taking Over The (Online Dating) World

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This is a truly international take on online dating.

A Russian man, Andrey Andreev, who established the London-based online dating service Badoo, has found his site winning over users in France, Spain, and Italy. "The seven-year-old company says it has signed up some 200 million people worldwide, 25 million of them active users," reports Bloomberg, "making it the biggest dating service, according to ComScore."

Andreev's ambition is to make Badoo "a social network for meeting new people," rather than a service for connecting users with people they already know. So far, his ambition has paid off: Badoo has been profitable since 2009, with last year's sales expanding about a third to $200 million. The company now has its headquarters in a loft in London's trendy SoHo district, has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as an advisor, and may have an IPO in its future.

The challenge Andreev now faces is to keep US rivals like Tinder and OkCupid at bay, while expanding Badoo beyond its current strongholds in southern Europe and Latin America.

The key to doing so might be Badoo's business model. Unlike services like Match.com, Badoo doesn't charge a monthly fee. Instead, users are invited to pay 1 euro to highlight their profile on the site and increase their chances of being noticed. Because the advantage only lasts for a minute or two - until other people pay to raise their profiles as well - Badoo says that some dedicated users have paid for as many as 20 boosts per day.

Competitors' responses to Badoo's success have been mixed. Jessica Delpirou, director of Meetic France, told Bloomberg that Badoo is no threat to her service, saying that users prefer her more traditional dating site (a sister to Match.com in the US) despite its higher price, because it creates better matches. "People seeking serious relations need confidentiality and tend to pay for a subscription," Delpirou said.

OkCupid founder Sam Yagan told Bloomberg that he, too, believes his service is superior to Badoo and is rated higher by users. Officials from other competitors, like Tinder, did not return Bloomberg's requests for comment.

Right now, Badoo far outstrips Jiayuan, the largest dating service in China, which registered 19 million active users as of September 2013, according to ComScore. Badoo's userbase is also larger than Meetic's 16 million, Match.com's 8 million, and OkCupid's 2 million. And that's all before further expansion into Asia, Britain, and America, which Andreev is currently eyeing. If things continue on the same path, these other dating sites might soon be changing their tunes.