Mobile

Spark Buys Zoosk for $258 Million

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CEO of Spark Networks Jeronimo Folgueira and outgoing CEO of Zoosk Steven McArthur
Image: Zoosk

Online dating conglomerate Spark Networks announced its purchase of Zoosk for $258 million USD. The popular dating app was acquired with a combination of cash and stock, and Spark will have full ownership of Zoosk shares.

According to the terms of the deal, Spark will issue 12,980,000 ADSs (American Depository Shares) to former Zoosk shareholders, valued at $152 million based on the closing price of Spark ADSs of $11.78 on June 28, 2019. It also provides for a cash consideration of $150 million, subject to adjustment, according to the company’s press release. Former Zoosk shareholders owned 49 percent of the company.

Tinder to Launch a New Scaled-Down App Tinder Lite

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Tinder plans to launch a new, scaled-down version of the app called Tinder Lite.

According to Tech Crunch, the new app is catering to markets where bandwidth, data usage and storage space have all been challenging, which means customers to pay a premium for access to mobile data. Some of the regions Tinder is targeting include India and Southeast Asia, where parent company Match Group has appointed three new executives and dedicated more resources to growing its brands.

Tinder Lite was initially mentioned in an investor call according to Tech Crunch. However, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg shared few details about the launch or the app. There was no specific date mentioned, and no details about what features would be removed, but likely the trademark swiping and matching would remain as key elements of the Tinder Lite experience.

Chinese Tinder Clone Tantan Removed From App Stores For Violations

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Chinese Dating App Titan

Tantan, one of the highest grossing dating apps in the world in the first quarter of 2019, has been removed from Android app stores by order of governmental authorities in China due to a violation of policies. The popular dating app was often referred to as “China’s Tinder” and had been acquired by Momo in May 2018.

The details of the ban are unclear. The official statement from Tantan did not reveal the specific nature of the violations. The company merely said it would cooperate fully with authorities and promised to "conduct a comprehensive internal review of the content in the Tantan mobile app and undertake other measures necessary to stay in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.”

Tinder Dumps Desirability Scores For An Updated Matching Algorithm

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Tinder made headlines in 2016 when a Fast Company article revealed the dating app’s most closely guarded secret: every user received an internal rating that ranked the most (and least) desirable people on the platform. Then-CEO Sean Rad confirmed the existence of the algorithm, called an “Elo score” in reference to a ranking system used by chess players, but declined to go into detail.

“It’s very complicated,” he said. “It took us two and a half months just to build the algorithm because a lot of factors go into it.”

The story spread rapidly and left many users with a bad taste in their mouths. Dating app users are already subjected to judgement after judgement at each other’s hands - does anyone want to feel judged by the app itself, too? Why should Tinder get to decide who is desirable and who isn’t, or who is and is not out of someone’s league?

For Better or Worse, Online Dating is Changing Our Culture

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Online Dating is Culture Changing

Online dating is a fast-growing trend thanks to apps like Tinder. But does our ease with swiping, messaging, and moving on have further implications in our culture, including changing the way we interact with one another?

According to website Mashable, studies on dating app behavior point to a distressing trend. On the one hand, online dating has helped to bridge people from different social circles who used to rely on friends and work colleagues to introduce them to future love interests. Now, we can login to a dating app and start swiping.

However, it’s become so easy to swipe that dating apps have become a game more than a way to connect. You see how many people you can match with by endlessly swiping right. You meet someone for drinks to see if they look as hot in person, but if you’re not blown away with chemistry, you can easily move on. There’s no effort needed, and this is becoming a problem for people who are looking for more serious relationships.

Critical Security Vulnerability Discovered In OkCupid Android App

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February might be the season of love, but recent reports of hacking incidents may have you thinking twice before opening your favorite dating app. OkCupid is the subject of not one but two such stories - first a report revealing the dating site has denied a data breach despite multiple users’ claims of their accounts being hacked and stolen, and now the discovery of a security flaw from Israel-based cybersecurity firm Checkmarx.

According to researchers at Checkmarx, a vulnerability in the Android version of OkCupid’s mobile app could have exposed users to attacks of varying severity from cybercriminals. Bad actors could exploit the flaw to monitor usage of the app, read messages, track a user’s geographic location, send links with self-replicating malware or impersonate the victim.

“The disruptive potential of this attack is frightening as it is not hard to implement, it is not easy to detect by a typical user, and has high ​confidentiality​, high integrity​ and high ​availability​ impact,” said researchers in a post explaining the potential impact of the flaw.