This Word Could Be Ruining Your Chances Of Finding Love Online

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Could one word really be hurting your online dating game? Could one word make it better?

Dating app Hinge looked at 5,000 users who exchanged contact information within 24 hours of matching to determine which opening lines are most likely to get dates (and which will get you ghosted).

Using a text analysis model, they identified common phrases and words in the conversations they examined. So which words were winners and which words were losers?

The biggest flop was the word 'sorry.' Hinge users who included 'sorry' in an initial communication were a whopping 56% less likely to get a person's number. Next time you feel tempted to apologize for not responding sooner, take the “sorry not sorry” approach (just don't actually write it). You were busy and that's a good thing. Besides, not explaining yourself creates a teeny bit of intriguing mystery your date may be eager to solve.

Hinge's research also found that being vague and “wishy-washy” is a turn-off for potential dates. People who suggested dates in ambiguous timeframes like “this weekend” and “next week” were 40% less likely to score someone's digits. The more specific you can be, the better. After all, you matched with them so you must be interested in them – make it clear by arranging concrete plans, or answering with a simple yes or no.

At the other end of the spectrum, laughter proved to be irresistable. Hinge found that conversations that used words associated with laughing – like 'haha' and the ever-present 'lol' – had a 17% higher chance of ending in an exchange of phone numbers. It's not hard to believe when you consider how many people say a sense of humor is one of the most important traits in a partner. And what would flirting be without a little witty banter?

Unsurprisingly, compliments also had a positive effect on conversations, but one type of compliment in particular stood out. When a Hinge user told another user that they have a cool name, it increased the likelihood of getting their digits by 12.5%. Destiny's Child had it right: say my name, say my name (especially if it's to talk about how awesome it is).

Of course, no amount of dating advice or studies can guarantee a a phone number (much less a date), but they can help you avoid some basic mistakes. For more information on the dating app which brought us this study you can read our review of Hinge.

Google Reveals 2015's Top-Searched Dating Apps And Sites

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2015 was the biggest year yet for online dating. Ten years ago, digital dating was still viewed with skepticism. Today, a majority of Americans believe it's a good way to meet people and 5% of Americans in committed relationships say they met their significant other online.

Now that singles have fallen head over heels for online dating, services have exploded. From the basics like Match and eHarmony, to youth-centric options like OkCupid and Tinder, to hyper-specific sites for bacon lovers and beard aficionados, there's something for everyone. So which dating services are a cut above the rest?

Bustle teamed up with Google to reveal the top-searched dating apps and sites in 2015. The list is surprisingly diverse:

  1. Plenty Of Fish: Plenty of Fish sounds like a throwback to an earlier era of online dating, but the site is alive and well as we start 2016. Its inexpensive options draw 50,000 new members every day and even hooked The Match Group, which acquired POF in July 2015. See our full review of Plenty of Fish.
  2. Tinder: It's no surprise that Tinder nearly took the top spot. The time-killing app made “swipe” an important part of everyone's vocabulary and totally changed the dating game. See our full review of Tinder.
  3. Match: Match.com has been connecting singles since the primitive days of online dating and is still a prime choice. Over the years, the site has perfected its matching technique and remained a favorite for daters all around the world. See our full review of Match.
  4. OkCupid: OkCupid revolutionized the online dating industry as an entirely free service. Today paid options have popped up, but OkCupid remains largely free to use and scores highly for its excellent compatibility algorithm. See our full review of OkCupid.
  5. eHarmony: Though it began as a dating service strictly for Christians, eHarmony has expanded its service to welcome a wider variety of singles. The site has built a reputation as a go-to service for serious relationships. See our full review of eHarmony.
  6. Zoosk: Zoosk quietly continued its quest for world domination in 2015. With service available in 80 countries, 25 different languages, and on your computer, phone, tablet, and Facebook, Zoosk is practically inescapable. See our full review of Zoosk.
  7. Bumble: Bumble got a lot of press last year for its “Feminist Tinder” approach to online dating. The app takes the infamous swiping set-up, but attempts to lower the creep factor by putting female members in charge.
  8. Hinge: Scared of meeting strangers online? Hinge solves the problem by using Facebook to connect users with mutual friends. Members can breathe easy knowing that their dates have been vetted by someone they trust. See our full review of Hinge.
  9. Grouper: It's impossible to take all the awkwardness out of a first date, but Grouper helps lessen it by adding friends to the mix. The app connects groups of friends to take the pressure off.
  10. Farmers Only: Yes, believe it or not, the uber-niche Farmers Only made the cut. Although perhaps it's just from people searching Google to find out if it's actually real.

Which Dating Service Rules On Social Media?

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Practically every business is expected to have a social media presence in 2015. When your business is a digital one, that pressure doubles. When your target audience is millennials, it triples. Dating services are all about helping people make social connections, but how socially savvy are they on their own profiles?

Digiday used proprietary data from two social media analytics firms, Unmetric and Socialbakers, to pit seven dating apps against each other in the battle for most effective social media strategy. Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, Match.com, Zoosk, Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble were put to the test in several different categories.

Number Of Fans

With over 13 million million Facebook likes, Zoosk has the largest social media fan base. Match and Tinder follow with over 827,000 and 369,000 fans, respectively. Twitter shows similar stats. Zoosk has the most followers by far at over 350,000. Match comes in second, with 65,000, and Tinder in third, with over 56,000.

Although Tinder currently has the smallest fan base, it's also the most rapidly growing. The game-changing dating app saw its fan base grow 228 percent between January and October 2015.

Geographical Popularity

Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, Match and Zoosk all have an international crop of users, but Tinder and Zoosk are the most diverse on social. In fact, the majority of Zoosk's Facebook fans are international.

Other services proved to be particularly popular in specific countries. Hinge is big in India, while Match is favored by Canadians and Tinder has won over Brazilian singles.

Engagement Level

Zoosk is the most prolific poster on social media. The company published 226 posts between January and October, and received the most likes and comments. Despite Zoosk's high volume, Tinder took the top spot for highest average engagement and most posts shared by fans.

Bumble is a relative newcomer to the dating world, but already it's showing promise on social. The app saw over 3,000 interactions with fans on Facebook between July and October. The numbers are expected to grow.

Number Of Fan Posts And Mentions

Match.com's users are the most likely to talk about it on Facebook. More than 9,000 messages were posted to Match's wall between January and October. Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel come next. Neither Tinder nor OkCupid had user posts on their Facebook walls. Their page settings most likely do not allow it.

Tinder leads the number of mentions on Twitter, perhaps because Twitter's audience skews younger than Facebook and Tinder attracts a similarly youthful user base. The app is followed by Zoosk and Match.com, which come in second and third with around 8,000 and 2,000 mentions apiece.

Hinge Reveals the Most Popular Pick-up Lines for Online Dating

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Hinge Study

Dating app Hinge is taking after OkCupid by collecting its user data and publishing results that might help people better connect. The latest report outlines the best pick-up lines among users of its app – and as it turns out, the way to a woman’s heart might just be through her stomach.

To conduct the survey, Hinge recruited copywriters and data analysts to compose 100 original openers, and sent them to 22 percent of Hinge users, who were then given the option of sending these openers to their matches. After studying eight million impressions, trends began to emerge. Some were expected - daters who want to connect should definitely avoid generic statements like 'Hey, what's up?' as an opening line, for example. The data was refined and categorized to give more in-depth info about who was responding—including their gender, age, and location across the U.S.

Results of the month-long experiment showed the most effective conversation starters for women include food references. For instance, a guy could ask a question like: “Chocolate, red velvet, or funfetti?” referring to cupcake preferences, or “Best discovery: Netflix or avocados?” for example. Hinge noted that “women are 40% more likely than men to respond to openers that are food-related.”

Men were most responsive when asked out directly, and particularly if those messages were assertive (the types of messages most women don’t like, which should be noted). For instance, if a woman put herself out there and confidently asked “Drinks soon?” or “Free this week?” men were 98% more likely to respond favorably.

Males were also found to have shorter attention spans: If they don’t receive a response to a message within six hours, a quarter of them will drop out of sight, compared with only five per cent of women.

As far as age groups, the 35 and older crowd prefers pop culture references. For instance, they responded best to “Katy Perry or Taylor Swift?” or “Bears, beets, or Battlestar Gallactica?” The 20-somethings preferred introductions about lifestyle with lines like: “Better adventure: Rock climbing or scuba diving?” or “Sunday priorities: Exercise, sleep or aggressive mimosas?” The 18-23 age group seemed to prefer novelty questions like: “Pain reliever personality: Advil, Tylenol or complaining?” and “You’re having your portrait painted – what’s your backdrop?”

Regional responses varied too, with folks in Los Angeles preferring entertainment-related questions (no surprise), and users in the Mid-West liking the 90’s references.

Hinge connects people through Facebook circles, and is available for both Android and iPhone. For more on Hinge, you can read our review.

Hinge Adds New Features to Compete with Tinder

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An article in last month’s Vanity Fair attacked apps like Tinder as being promoters of hook-up culture among young daters. The article caused a wave of dialogue, backlash and upset, with many people wondering if dating apps were in fact “killing” the culture of dating and navigating relationships.

While technology has been blamed for bad behavior, dating app Hinge is aiming to distinguish itself from its popular and notorious competitor, Tinder. Instead of taking the bait and offering more Tinder-like services like many dating apps looking for success in this growing market, Hinge is taking the hook-up culture argument to heart. Instead of fighting the article's argument, the company is offering an update to its app in acknowledgment of the problem - with an “Intentions” feature.

The update offers a new profile page where users are encouraged up front to include their intentions for using the app, whether it’s to find a relationship, to date, or a casual hook-up. Hinge hopes that this gives more transparency in the online dating process.

According to Hinge, most of the people coming to its app are looking for something more serious than a hook-up. When the company surveyed 1,500 of its users, they discovered that sixty-three percent claim they are looking for relationships, 33% for dating, and only 2% for hook-ups.

The company’s last update called out daters who weren’t being truthful about being single, which has also caused an uproar among Tinder users. (A survey earlier this year found that more than 40% of Tinder users were already in a relationship.) Hinge now publishes each user’s relationship status (that the user shares on Facebook), so there’s no mistaking whether or not a user is single.

The company also added a new feature in August called HingePerks for its most dedicated users, offering discounts and contests for things like trips, ball games, and drinks. The first promotion was a free “staycation” at a Starwood Hotel with a spa service included. They have also offered concert tickets for social media participation (including liking on Facebook, tagging and sharing), as well as a free bottle of wine for the Hinge couple that posts a fun photo on Instagram.

Since its inception, the company has focused on its primary user base – young professionals, another way to distinguish itself from Tinder, which got its start on college campuses and whose demographic skews a bit younger than Hinge’s. In the last month, Hinge has promoted their “most eligible” male and female users according to profession, offering basic profile information. Hinge also asks their most embarrassing date moment and greatest career accomplishment to date.

Whether Hinge's strategy succeed in this competitive dating app market is yet to be seen. But it does offer daters a more interesting and engaging alternative to the dating app experience. For more on this dating app, please check out our review of Hinge.

Hinge CEO On The Benefits Of Online Dating

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Everyone you know is talking about online dating. Most of them have tried it. You've thought about joining a site or downloading the latest app, but you're not quite convinced digital dating is for you.

Justin McLeod, CEO of Hinge, has something to say to you. A few somethings, in fact. He recently wrote a piece for Business Today on the benefits of online dating. If you've considered logging on for love but haven't taken the plunge yet, here's why you should.

  1. It's easy to get started. There's no excuse for not signing up when signing up is so easy. Socially-driven apps, like Hinge and Tinder, don't ask you to fill out a lengthy profile or answer an SAT exam-worthy series of questions. Instead they link directly to your Facebook account, automatically populating your dating profile with info from the social network. “This way,” McLeod writes, “interested people get to check out a bite-sized version of your personality without writing you off as not their type.
  2. Quality trumps quantity. Online dating offers a curated selection of potential dates, designed with your compatibility in mind. “Instead of having to wade through a sea of random profiles until you get lucky and find that elusive perfect someone,” says McLeod, “it can bring what you want to see.” And while a dating service is showing you people you're likely to be interested in, it's also filtering out the bad matches. The algorithms don't get it right every time, but it's still a perk that doesn't come with real-life romance.
  3. Conversation starters come standard. Say you meet someone on the street, or during your commute home from work. Starting a conversation can be difficult, not to mention intimidating, when you know nothing about each other. But online, where you have access to a profile and photos from a person's life, you have built-in subjects to spark a conversation. Find something that intrigues you and inquire about it.
  4. You're in control. No more waiting around for someone to approach you. No worries that a complex schedule will prevent you from meeting new people. No relying on a friend to arrange a blind date they promised to set up, and keep forgetting. Online dating lets you search for and communicate with potential dates any time, anywhere, with no reliance on third parties. “Moreover,” McLeod adds, “responses are generally quicker and easier to follow up on online.”

What are you waiting for? No more excuses.