How This App Has Created a Shift in On-line Relationship Tradition

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Should you have been lively within the on-line relationship scene 10 years in the past or knew individuals who have been — you may keep in mind a really totally different world. Certain, a decade may as nicely be a lifetime in digital years, but it surely’s nonetheless outstanding how a lot has modified.

A few of these modifications have been simple to foretell on the time. By the mid-2010s, modern relationship apps have been already mobile-friendly and roughly gamified. The “swipe left/proper” framework was already a factor. Trendy variations of apps that existed again then, and new apps which have come on-line since, are (as anticipated) a lot additional down the cellular, gamified path. Mainly, everybody within the on-line relationship market has a smartphone now, so why wouldn’t they?

However essentially the most profound shifts in on-line relationship have been cultural slightly than technological. And DOWN Relationship App, an under-the-radar platform that was really extra widespread than Tinder when it launched in 2013, has arguably achieved greater than some other to drive these modifications.

DOWN remains to be pushing the envelope at this time, making a enjoyable, versatile, protected, and sex-positive surroundings for greater than 10 million customers worldwide. Right here’s why it’s crucial relationship app you’ve by no means heard of. Plus, why it’s poised for even larger relevance because it enters its second decade.

“Bang With Mates” Storms the Relationship Scene

Launched in January 2013 as Bang With Mates (BWF), the app’s early advertising and marketing campaigns tracked with that provocative model. Inside months of BWF’s launch, it had prime options on The Colbert Report and in blue-chip digital publications like BuzzFeed, Gawker, and The Each day Beast.

BWF surpassed 1 million customers in April 2013, about three months after its launch. The next month, it launched within the App Retailer and instantly ranked larger than Tinder, then (and arguably nonetheless now) the “reference” relationship app. Founder Colin Hodge emerged from anonymity, parlayed their app’s recognition right into a $1 million capital increase led by Tim Draper and Nice Oaks Ventures, and rebranded to the marginally much less salacious “DOWN.”

Breaking the Hush-Hush Relationship App Mould

Hodge’s app did plenty of issues in another way in these heady early days. However its largest innovation was merely being open and sincere about its objective.

Earlier than BWF, relationship apps largely danced across the “uncomfortable” undeniable fact that they existed to dealer romantic — and generally purely sexual — relationships. Incumbents like eHarmony and (now simply “Match”) used awkward questionnaires and opaque algorithms to pair customers, usually with disappointing outcomes, all-the-while advertising and marketing their platforms to match customers with their “soulmates.” Early iterations of Tinder employed euphemisms like “discovering new mates.”

BWF disbursed with all that. Its first model was a easy, nameless “Fb relationship app” that permit customers select which mates they’d prefer to hook up with. There was no fanfare, no beating across the bush, and no uncertainty about what a mutual match meant.

The money infusion and DOWN rebrand led to a slicker, extra feature-rich app that wasn’t so intently tied to customers’ Fb networks. However the spirit remained the identical: to defeat the then-powerful stigma round digital hookups and present skeptics that no-strings relationship could possibly be protected and enjoyable.

Up, Down, Left, Proper

DOWN’s transition to a full-fledged cellular relationship app introduced a flurry of recent options.

The app was acquainted to customers who’d tried Tinder, Grindr, Loads of Fish, and different cellular relationship/hookup apps. However DOWN was (and is) very a lot its personal. Plus, its uniqueness helped it scale rapidly to greater than 5 million customers by 2016.

DOWN added location-based matching early on. This allowed customers to seek out potential companions — usually on the identical get together. It additionally improved upon the “swipe left/proper” binary popularized by Tinder and Grindr with a three-directional structure:

  • Swipe LEFT if you happen to’re not (proceed to the following potential match)
  • Swipe UP if you happen to’re considering one thing extra critical (DATE)
  • Swipe DOWN if you happen to’re considering one thing extra informal (HOOKUP)

With two buckets for potential matches, DOWN provides a extra custom-made expertise and provides customers management over what they need. Should you’re solely available in the market for hookups, that’s effective — simply swipe DOWN each time somebody catches your eye — if you happen to’re solely available in the market up to now, it’s the identical deal. And if you need each, nicely, you’ve the choice. In any case, the chance of awkward, even painful miscommunication whenever you match, is way decrease.

DOWN’s easy but revolutionary strategy to private matching has pushed (or perhaps pulled) different apps down this path. For instance, as soon as upon a time, Tinder’s repute was unique as a hookup app. Although it’s nonetheless facilitating hookups, it’s now a bit extra welcoming for customers looking for deeper connections. The other is true for no less than some legacy on-line relationship websites like OkCupid and Match — they’re not go-tos for informal flings, however they’re a bit much less awkward than earlier than. Now, a plethora of informal relationship apps are in the marketplace, with DOWN main the cost as a form of “Tinder for hookups.”

Staying One (Or Three) Steps Forward

Within the years for the reason that launch of its full cellular app, DOWN has steadily added first-in-class options. These embrace some for paired-up customers keen to boost present relationships:

    • 3Some: This one pairs customers open to (or actively looking for) threesome hookups or polyamorous relationships. It really works if you happen to’re single and in search of two new companions. Or if you happen to’re already in a relationship and also you’d like so as to add a 3rd. Based on DOWN’s personal information, 22% of single customers are in search of two folks to hitch a brand new “3some,” and about 5% need to add another to an present pair.
    • Snap Match: A prime different to Tinder’s Passport function, you faucet “Spin,” and DOWN immediately pairs you with a random one that suits your profile preferences. The catch: They could possibly be wherever on the planet. It’s an effective way to discover long-distance flings which will or might not flip into one thing extra sturdy, or simply to move a couple of minutes chatting with somebody you wouldn’t have encountered in any other case.
  • Highlights: These profile stickers enable you stand out from DOWN’s ten million-plus customers, and enable you discover simply the kind of individual you want. Use them to specific your out-and-about character, romantic preferences, bed room behaviors — no matter strikes your fancy.
  • Icebreakers: These enjoyable, low-pressure video games are for these awkward early moments whenever you’re not fairly certain what to say. DOWN has two proper now: “Would You Quite,” which you may keep in mind from highschool, and “Picture Problem,” the place you share photographs based mostly on the app’s prompts.

Up Is the New DOWN

DOWN Relationship App’s current improvements have contributed to a formidable resurgence that’s way more than a byproduct of the post-COVID bounceback in on-line relationship.

Since This autumn 2019, the proportion of customers who’ve discovered matches on DOWN has grown by a whopping 500% — meaning 5 occasions as many individuals matching — whereas income has grown by some 250%. Downloads have greater than doubled throughout that interval. This means a mixture of longtime customers getting again within the combine and new customers coming into the fold.

DOWN certainly operates in a crowded market that huge gamers like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge more and more dominate. However its distinctive, sex-positive options and easy-to-use interface have helped it develop its area of interest. As of late 2021, DOWN was extra widespread (as measured by new downloads) than eHarmony and Her. Moreover, it sat simply behind heavyweights like Match, OkCupid, and Grindr.

The longer term appears vivid for DOWN, which is excellent information for the way forward for on-line relationship.

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