Per to the New York Times, Lulu is the hot new app that all ladies should be downloading. Yes, we're aware — but this is a good time to remember that when it comes to the tech world, the golden goose is apparently creating a dating app that women want to use.
Back in August, I wrote about Pure, a dating app that focuses "on the right now" kind of sex, which was created with the aim of being "anonymous, nonjudgmental, [and] liberating" i.e. for people who want casual, no-strings-attached sex. While Pure was waiting to join the iTunes app store then, it's now up and running. New members can use it for free for over a month; after that, it's 99 cents a week. While Pure is marketed to men and women of all sexual orientations, its founders have worked hard to make sure that everyone, especially women, can feel safe and secure using the app. (Though if its limited iTunes reviews are anything, not enough people are using the app yet to really make feel like you have sexual options, the way dating apps are supposed to. "There is NEVER anyone with an ad up. And I say this as someone in the NYC area," wrote one individual. "Stick to craigslist for hookups.")
Since the launch of Pure, Lulu and Tinder (the latter is booming since I last wrote about it, if anecdotal evidence is anything to go off of), others have tried make their mark on the women's dating market. Swoon is one such option that's targeted entirely to women, except that it has all the stuff your other apps have, like how it gives women the ability to ask friends for their thoughts on a potential partner ("because you know girls need their friends opinions on everything," explained a PR pitch I got) and a matching system that works only with people who have chosen you. The only notable difference with Swoon is that you have to be 21 or older to use it, because they're looking "to target the young professional crowd; not the young college-kids like other apps have."
But according to Swoon, they are DIFFERENT:
What differentiates Swoon from other dating apps? It's the only dating app made by women for women. Their user is a young professional who is looking for serious dating interactions instead of meaningless flings, but have neither the time nor the inclination to fill out lengthy dating profiles. Swoon just unveiled a well-received major redesign to address the needs of their users. With their popular LookBack feature - users can bring up a previous profile for a second chance, so a potential mate can't slip away forever.
And perhaps because it's by women/for women, Swoon has a particularly robust and obviously labeled Safety page:
The bevy of dating app options for women indicate that people are trying to figure out exactly what women want and will use as far as dating, instead of deciding for their audience: is it an app just for casual sex? Is it one that's for something between casual sex and dating? Is it one that will help you find a serious contender to be your husband? But this attempt by a company to figure out What Women Want is basically the modern equivalent of what the retail industry did in the mid-20th century when they figured out that it was woman who were really the ones with purchasing power in the home. The app that seems to be "the hottest" right now is Tinder, and yes, it happens to be one that women feel safe using, but it's also a product that doesn't treat women like they're some sort of separate species from men, a species that requires its own special dating app to handle men.
Have women reached peak dating app saturation? Yes. At this point, there are no new revelatory concepts being thrown out there, just a different amalgam of different features, depending on which app you're talking about. Next up: Video! (Oh wait, Chris Harrison tried that already.)