Stop swiping & start ✨actually✨ dating

Hi everyone!

After several years, a cross-country move & market shift, dev hurdles, and other ups and downs, I’m so excited to share that my app, Blink Date, launched in NYC 3 weeks ago. Now before you roll your eyes and mentally swipe left on this post, I promise Blink is actually a different dating app experience.

Blink doesn't have profiles or swiping - people just tell us their dating preferences and availability and we set them up for 10 minute phone dates through the app so they actually get to talk to one another. 😳😳😳 Go on an actual date while dating? Crazy, I know! It absolutely beats the 10 hours a week people are spending, on average, swiping.

In our first weeks, we've been hosting more than 10 dates a night and have a match rate 3x higher than the big dating apps.

If you're single, based in NYC, and want to try something new (or have a single friend in NYC who you want to see find love), check it out and let me know what you think 💜 I’m eager for feedback and excited to help people on their journeys to find love!

Big congrats I remember when you first shared about the audio app here in 2020! Wow so much has happened! And really exciting to see the traction! Would you be able to unpack the following a bit "we've been hosting more than 10 dates a night and have a match rate 3x higher than the big dating apps." Curious how did you measure that? How many people signed up to do a first date and of all those, how many ended up meeting more than 5x, and how many are now actually in relationships (ie. not in a situationships and are actually exclusive)
Thank you so much Iynna! It's been quite the journey!We schedule our members for in-app dates and see who's joined, so we can tell how many dates happen each evening on the platform (not sure if you're thinking IRL dates?). We also have members tell us how the date went and see photos after the date - if there's mutual positive feedback on both the date and the photos, they match... which is how we get our match rate and are able to compare to other apps. Post-app / IRL dates are beyond our measurement capabilities right now, but I'm definitely looking forward to having that info ☺️
Thanks to you for the fantastic overview! I was indeed thinking IRL dates but then you’re right that’s not the model you use (my apologies!) Very happy you are seeing such a high engagement! This brings more questions on my end. So I view you as someone who is an expert at the dating industry ie. Besides running a company in the space, you’ve run experiments, have data, and have had lots of interaction with users/your target audience so have a lot of information edge. Do you think the future of dating lies in virtual dates at first? I personally prefer IRL because that’s who I am but I can totally see and understand some women and members of the trans community feeling unsafe when putting themselves out there (I’ve heard horror stories of dangerous behaviours from the other party… which can be scary). Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
Thank you so much for the kind words and for the question! I think about this a lot so it's fun to talk/write about!There's no replacement for IRL dates - at some point, folks have to get out there and meet each other to see if the online connection (regardless of how it started) translates to offline.With that said, there are a few big reasons I think virtual first dates may be around to stay -1) Like you mentioned, safety. It's pretty easy to catfish, mislead, lie... not to say that disappears with a virtual date, but there's more friction to it when connecting in real time, whether over a phone call or video call. We can also get a better sense of a person from talking to them live rather than texting with them - we can pick up a lot from tone in terms of intention, genuineness, etc. But even if someone has gone on a virtual first date with someone, they should exercise safety practices when going on their IRL date with them - let friends & family know where you'll be and ask them to check in if they don't hear back from you, meet someplace public, etc. 2) It's more efficient to start with a virtual first date. Part of dating is filtering out the "no's" as quickly as possible. Going on an IRL first date takes a lot of time - to get ready, commute, the time on the date itself, etc. Sometimes we get there and 5 minutes in, we want to turn around and go home. Why invest so much time into that first interaction when you can filter out the easy "nos" from the comfort of home, on your own schedule?More generally, fitting dates into our lives can be hard. For people with crazy schedules, they might have time for a first date every few weeks... why delay the process of dating for that? Virtual dating makes dating when you're available a lot easier.3) It's cheaper to start with a virtual first date. Similar to above... it costs $$ to go on dates. Even if you're not paying for the meal, you might be spending on transportation, ancillary expenses, whatever it may be. 4) Dating app matches > IRL dates... generally have a pretty low conversion rate. Someone may match 100 times and go on a single first date. Some studies have shown that if you don't go on a first date within a week of matching, the likelihood that you ever will is close to zero. That isn't necessarily because the parties aren't interested, either. It's just... hard to keep up. With hectic schedules, staying on top of messages &/or coordinating a date can be hard. Virtual dates don't present the same challenges and allow folks to "date" more easily (some of the reasons intertwined with what I noted above).Again, there is no substitute for an IRL date and I can see the benefits to jumping right in. I also look forward to when Blink can better support folks in going from a match on the app to an IRL date. But virtual dates can alleviate some of the strains that come from safety concerns, the time and monetary investment involved with dating, and the existing challenges of online dating.I hope this answers your question! 💜
This sounds really cool! What kind of user feedback does Blink try to collect? One thought that came to mind was about safety and comfort, whether users would feel empowered to do something if their date crossed any lines during the voice call. Of course, voice-only calls already do a lot to ensure privacy, which is why the idea is compelling in the first place.
Hi Carline!Thank you so much!In addition to indicating whether or not they're interested in matching with their date after the conversation, member feedback after the date is typically about their date - people tend to use it like a little black book, jotting down notes for themselves about the person 💜If they don't enjoy the conversation or their date crosses any lines, members can end the date early and can block and/or report them, which immediately notifies us and gets our gears turning to investigate what happened.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)