Dating Apps – Not a bed of roses

  • Malavika
  • June 25, 2020

Down memory lane, dating was more a face to face interaction before the boom of dating apps that have taken the scene to an online medium. Swiping away, there’s plenty of choices filtered and segmented for users to pick. Surprisingly, in the angst of the lockdown, dating app downloads increased by 50%+ with 100% more increase in conversations on average. 


This peak mainly attributes to the need to form social connections online when people cannot venture out to meet in person. Yet are dating apps meeting their user’s needs? Analysing twenty-five thousand reviews from three popular dating apps, Tinder, Bumble and QuackQuack, we are here to pin down, what users find particularly vexing and distressing when it comes to dating apps. 

Dating, Business or Camaraderie:

Digging deeper, people use dating app for varied reasons. Majority of the population connect to find business partners, friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, or even a life partner. Again, depending on the app-these preferences stand out tall.

For instance, considering Tinder – the majority of the app users utilize the app for hook-ups or ONS. The keyword Hook-ups (Frequency: 3%) and review analysis narrate the frequent occurrence of this topic in reviews. When considering Bumble, which in its playstore description is titled as Bumble-Dating, Friends & Business, the title does give credit to what the app stands for. In analysis, members were able to find friends and business connections in addition to being matched for dates. While in QuackQuack the topic Life-Partner (Frequency: 1%)and reviews indicated that the app helped users find long-term relationships.

Of course, it is not a fixed point of view that certain apps are used in these distinct categories, nevertheless the user expectations vary when it comes to different apps.

The Elephant in the room:

Software glitches are a common phenomenon in review analysis. There are many issues with age, location/distance, and picture uploads. In many cases, the account linked with Facebook profiles, etc, the ages are incorrectly uploaded into the system and it makes it close to impossible to rectify such an error.

In dating apps, Location plays an important role as it shows connections according to the distance preferred by user inputs. Even so, users have complained that the accounts shown to them are miles away from allocated distances. Few users have had issues with the app’s automatic location detection and are unable to change location settings as needed.

Regulating and ensuring appropriate content on user platforms is not an easy task. It is for the very same reason a specific algorithm is deployed, to identify any such shenanigans. For the most part, it works, but there have been several instances where these have become tiresome labour. During photo uploads, users have found it difficult to upload a picture, in spite of multiple attempts, as the app moderates’ pictures even the ones that users claim are more than appropriate.

Age: Frequency-1%, Rating-3/5

Location: Frequency-3%. Rating-3/5

Picture: Frequency-6%. Rating-2/5

The Double-edged sword:

A very unique concept was introduced by Bumble to promote safety and wellbeing to women using the app, in which only women get to make the first move. As many women favour this concept as it keeps them away from the vulnerability of dating apps, quite a few have called out on the unfairness of this particular feature.

A whole lot of disgruntled users have complained that in a world, where equality is at the forefront of most crusades, this feature seems to whizz past it all. Keeping safety and wellbeing as the prime focus, many users have asked for this particular feature to be set more as an option (for women who would rather make the first move) than as a fixed feature (for women who would not mind men making the first move)

Message: Frequency-3.3%, Rating- 1.8/5

Lost in space:

Notification bugs are another app-snag that users face on a daily basis. In Bumble’s unique feature where the woman makes the first move-the invite sent will be valid for only 24 hrs. Users find it extremely cumbersome to have to check their phones every other second because of this timed-feature. Notwithstanding this alone, app notifications fail to inform the said party in time. Many users have also complained about unnecessary notification pop-ups, texts missed/delayed and erroneous notifications.

The number of fake profiles is rapidly growing, leaving the users unnerved. Even with the myriad of protocols to make sure this does not happen, there is still an abundance of fake profiles. But the most unsettling issue is for a user who has been flagged or banned without a clear indication as to why it may have happened. Users have also had issues with sudden account logouts, which subsequently led to losing all data and connections.

Notification: Frequency-2%, Rating-3/5.

Profile: Frequency-2%, Rating-2/5.

All that Glitters is not Gold:

Premium versions enable users with better features and more swipes. Unfortunately, paid features do not fare well with users. In reviews, we notice that even with paid versions there are very limited features that are offered and value for the premium services are highly unsatisfactory.

Premium: Frequency-3.4%, Rating-1.1/5.

Which app wins them all?

Comparing the three apps, it is evident that on most topics the rating is below average, especially with regards to Profile, Message and Price. The complete user experience although fared well, still needs a great deal of improvement to gratify the users. There seems to be a deep need to come up with an alternate experience for online Dating.

Concluding Remarks:

To amp up customer satisfaction, dating apps have to improve their user experience in areas highlighted below.

  • Different themes for user interface will undoubtedly be an advantage for those who would like to try different graphics/colours/font etc on their apps.
  • A more efficient filtering system is needed to sort out exact preferences and likes/dislikes, especially when it comes to making Friends/Business connections, apart from its usage in finding a date.
  • A highly recommended feature would be to add a CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION (at any given time) module or other easier methods to do so.
  • Ability to change user personal settings to rectify any errors/slips in age, location, gender etc.

It is never too late to start listening and responding to the voice of the customer- so make hay while the sun shines.

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  • Tags:
  • AI
  • Analytics
  • Customer Experience
  • Product
  • Tech
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