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World Cup Fans Go Crazy for Dating Apps

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Brazil is heating up for singles, and not just because of its sunny weather.

Dating app Tinder is apparently a hot commodity among those taking part in the World Cup festivities. News site Quartz recently reported that Tinder has seen a 50% increase in downloads since the World Cup began last month.

Brazil is Tinder’s third-largest user base behind the US and the UK, and the app is available in Portuguese.

Hookup apps like Tinder and Grindr, which are popular around the world, allow users to swipe through pictures of potential matches that are geographically close to them, accepting or rejecting based on a few photos and a brief profile description. If two people select one another, they can start chatting and then take it from there. This simple process caters perfectly to short-time travelers looking for a fling.

First, we saw Tinder downloads spike during the Olympics, especially in Olympic Village where the athletes mingle with fellow athletes, fans watching the games or employees working the events. Now with the World Cup festivities drawing fans from all over the world to watch and celebrate the games, we’re seeing another significant spike in dating app downloads.

It seems dating apps are becoming more popular at major events that draw huge crowds. Tinder has become a popular tool for singles traveling during the summer to meet up with other singles, so it only makes sense that events like the World Cup would attract a lot of new users. Why not try something new when you’re in a foreign city with tons of people all around that you could meet?

The numbers also seem to favor women, especially local Brazilian women. Many men have come to Brazil not only to watch the World Cup, but to meet the stereotypical idea of the sexy, beautiful Brazilian woman. An unofficial poll suggested as many as 90% of the tourists are men.

Grindr, a popular app among the gay community, has also seen its numbers spike by 31% in Brazil since the World Cup began. Brazil is the sixth-largest market for Grindr.

An estimated 600,000 tourists from 186 countries are expected to visit Brazil during the World Cup, adding to the 3.1 million Brazilians who will be on the road for the championship. And as reported by Quartz, alcohol and hook-ups go hand in hand. Annual beer sales in the country are likely to rise 37%—bringing in about $816 million—during the month-long tournament.

For more on a popular dating app you can read our Tinder review.

Match.com teams with Mensa and Android Wearables

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Do you want your dates to be more intellectually stimulating? Do you get bored with conversations about where to eat or what movie to watch when you could be discussing political ideology or philosophy?

If the above describes you, and you prefer brains over beauty and boredom, then you might be interested in Match.com’s new partnership with the Mensa community. American Mensa and Match.com have teamed up to provide a dating experience exclusively for Mensa members, as well as provide all Match members access to some of the most intelligent people in the nation. 

According to Match.com, 80% of singles say they “must have” or find it “very important” to be with someone of the same intelligence level.  Additionally, 89% of singles would make a commitment to someone who was considerably better educated or more intellectual than themselves.

Because of the partnership, Match members will now have the ability to add a Mensa badge to their profiles to express their interest in the High IQ organization and will also have the opportunity to take the Mensa practice test for $1 at the Match.com Blog now through July 6, 2014.

While I’m not a fan of limiting your options when it comes to dating – everyone should meet a variety of people instead of just dating your type – it might be interesting to see how effective this partnership will be in creating lasting matches.

Match’s Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Helen Fisher stated, “Why do we want a smart partner? Because intelligence is correlated with many benefits, including:  higher income; sense of humor; creativity; social skills; coordination; and problem solving. These are sexy.  Money can buy a sexy evening on the town. People everywhere gravitate to smart lovers, because an intelligent partner comes with a host of sexy perks.”

Daters with high IQs are not Match.com’s only focus. It was also recently announced that the company will be one of the first dating apps offered with Android Wearables; small, powerful devices worn on the body. So daters – there isn’t a need to constantly check your mobile device or computers. Instead, just look down at your wrist at your Wearable and check for messages, view and rate your daily matches, and find singles nearby. (Although I’m not really sure there’s much difference, since our phones are always in our hands anyway.)

Traditional online dating services are starting to branch out and appeal to new markets in order to remain relevant as new, trendy dating apps emerge. But Match.com seems to have a handle on its membership and continues to innovate. I’m curious to see what’s next.

Makers of Dating App Skout Launch Fuse

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Everyone is looking for the next big app – specifically one that does something new and creative and captures people’s attention with a new type of communication, like Vine, Snapchat or Twitter have done. Dating apps are following suit - trying to engage a larger audience than just singles looking for dates - by creating a new type of experience. People are looking to their phones to connect – whether it’s friendship, hooking up, dating, or finding a relationship. So why not take advantage of the technology and see what clicks?

Many apps are leaning towards features that are more ephemeral in nature. People don’t want their comments and photos lingering on the Internet forever, so the appeal of showing and telling without the repercussions seems intriguing. After all, if what you say or do disappears in a few minutes or even seconds, wouldn’t you be more willing to try something new, maybe even more daring than in your real life?

Dating app Skout thinks so. Skout has been around for a while, and helps strangers meet locally based on GPS-matching much like many other dating apps. While it doesn’t have the popularity and user base of Tinder or the cache of Match.com, Skout is looking for new and innovative ways to capture more downloads and engage more people to help them connect. And the company (and its investors) are betting on a new messaging app called Fuze.

Fuze is a combination of group messaging and ephermerality like Snapchat. Once someone starts a “Fuse,” everyone else has three to ten minutes to respond. Once the timer goes off, all of the content inside the Fuse disappears and no one can ever see it again. So it creates a bit of pressure for people to engage right away or risk not getting a chance to speak.

The app also allows you to post anonymously, in what’s called “Ghost Mode.” While this seems to be a popular feature among apps, I can’t help but think that being anonymous means you say things that you wouldn’t normally say to others face-to-face, and creates more of a barrier to getting to know others than bringing them together.

Skout’s CEO Christian Wiklund says, “It’s almost like a dinner conversation. It’s contextual, based on who is around you right now. If the Fuse burns out, you can go onto the next conversation.”

Wiklund also says they launched Fuse separately so that Skout could be left clean, and not bogged down with a bunch of new features. They do however plan to promote Fuse through the Skout network.

JDate Focuses on Mobile Site Optimization

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More online daters are using their phones to connect with each other rather than their laptops. Considering how many of us have smartphones and how often we check them, it only makes sense that this would be the best way to reach busy singles. So online dating sites have had to strengthen their mobile offerings to compete with popular apps like Tinder. Some have fallen behind with clunky, outdated features, but some are taking big steps forward in optimizing their technology.

The importance of optimizing users’ mobile experience isn’t lost on JDate, one of the most popular online dating sites for Jewish singles. The company has just launched a new version of the site that takes its most popular features and makes them even easier to access and use on mobile devices.

The widely-used Secret Admirer feature, a staple on the main JDate website, is now available on mobile. It’s been a key component of JDate’s technology, and according to JDate, other online dating sites have licensed the model due to its popularity. The Secret Admirer's "Yes-No-Maybe" functionality connects mutually interested users anonymously. Users like this because it eliminates some anxiety-provoking guess-work that shy online daters want to avoid.

JDate's new, mobile-optimized design also places key activities, such as profile views and messages, front and center on the site. Users are able to access quick, on-the-go status checks along with their email messages, IMs, Favorites and Flirts. Additionally, JDate mobile's 2.0 experience allows members to easily make changes and improvements to their profiles from their mobile devices. They can update directly from the site if they want to change photos or make edits to their descriptions.

"The new JDate mobile site enables JDaters to connect with one another and the community like never before," said Greg Liberman, CEO of Spark Networks, the company that owns and operates JDate. "Our goal has always been to provide JDate members with the tools to meet others who share their culture, values and interests, and our new, easy-to-navigate mobile site puts best-in-class tools, quite literally, right at our members' fingertips."

The question is, for JDate users – is it too little too late? The answer is unclear, because for the many people who download mobile dating apps like Tinder, there are still more online dating. The majority of singles use a mix of both online dating sites and mobile dating apps, especially if they want to keep options open. This means constantly improving technology to stay competitive.

JDate currently hosts more than 750,000 users. To find out more about this dating site please read our review of JDate.

iOS vs. Android Users: With Dating, It Makes a Difference

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Do you have an iPhone or Android phone? Chances are, you didn’t purchase one or the other by chance: you had a definite preference.

Are You Interested, a dating app for singles, decided to test out its own user base and how their dating preferences correlated to the type of phone they used. We know that things like ethnicity, income, and height play a major role in how much success a dater has online. But could your phone have an influence too, considering how much time, money and effort we put into them? In some cases, yes.

AYI found that iOS users were contacted 17% more often than Android users. Turns out, those who prefer Apple products are more desirable dates. I looked into Cupidtino, the dating site dedicated to lovers of all products Apple, to see some profiles of the most desirable users, but found that it is now defunct. I guess more options are better, even for those dedicated to Apple lovers.

Android users seem to be the ones doing the pursuing, while Apple users tend to wait to be contacted. According to the study, Android users were 12% more likely than iOS users to contact someone on AYI.

The dating app company was able to examine 20 million interactions between their users, pulling from a portion of the 2.4 million mobile downloads of the app. Since other online daters can’t see what phone the other person has, AYI looked at what type of dater owned which type of phone. Interestingly, both groups skewed male, but Android users tend to be slightly older, with 42% between 45 and 60 compared to only 29% of iPhone users. Sixty-seven percent of iPhone users were under 45.

In addition, income seems to be a factor. Android users were 30% more likely to make under $60,000 than those with iPhones. Also, 83% of singles making over $150,000 owned an iOS device.

Marital status is another factor, with Android users being 20% more likely than iOS users to be divorced. Another interesting finding from the study: iOS users tend to drink 50% more often and take drugs twice as often as the Android users. On the flip side, they were also 18% more likely to work out every day compared to Android users.

In terms of education, iOS users were twice as likely to have a Master’s degree and 55% more likely to have a Bachelor’s degree. A whopping 72% of Android users had not completed college.

AYI studied profile information from 13,690 of its mobile app users in the United States for the study. For more information on this dating site please read our review of Are You Interested.

CreepShield Will Tell You If Your Latest Online Crush Is A Creep

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What’s one of the biggest reasons online dating detractors say the Internet is no way to meet a decent date?

The high creep factor, of course. And to be honest, anyone who has tried online dating for more than a day would probably find it difficult to totally disagree. Online dating is an incredible innovation, but there’s no denying it comes with its fair share of strangeness.

A little weirdness is either entertaining or mildly irritating, but what if it goes beyond “a little?” That’s where CreepShield comes in, a new service that helps users avoid the creeps and the crazies online using facial recognition technology .

"Criminals often hide behind aliases online, but CreepShield uses facial recognition software to check for facial similarities and brings up potential matches from a database of over 475,000 registered sex offenders," explained CreepShield's creator Kevin Alan Tussy. "We see facial recognition as a tool that can definitely help make online dating safer. While this technology can't identify everyone out there with bad intentions, it's a huge step in the right direction."

To use the service, simply copy the URL of any headshot and paste it into the CreepShield search engine. The photo is instantly scanned against images in a database of convicted sex offenders, looking for a match. In addition to CreepShield.com, there is also a CreepShield Chrome extension if you prefer to research dates on the fly. Once installed, the extension allows users to right click on any jpg, png or gif displayed in the browser and select "Scan with CreepShield" from the dropdown menu.

CreepShield was developed by the team responsible for the extremely controversial Google Glass app "NameTag." The app and its powerful facial recognition technology were big news earlier this year when Senator Al Franken publicly requested that its release be delayed. With that project put on the backburner, CreepShield came to the forefront.

It’s an intriguing idea, and it’s hard to argue with something that could make online dating safer, but the service still has a few kinks to work out. The site’s FAQ stresses that, due to the way facial recognition technology works, CreepShield can’t guarantee its matches. “It is always up to the user to decide whether or not a searched photo contains the same individual as the results presented,” the site reads. And indeed, when put to the test, it seems the searching method leaves something to be desired.

What do you think? Would you use CreepShield to get the deets on a date?