Online dating services promise plenty of fish in the sea. They just can’t stop the catfish from biting.
But the pretenders might not have the same luck with the new dating app Blume. Once a match is made, the two users must exchange selfies, using the smartphone camera in-app, before any communication can begin.
“The app is a lot of fun, but it solves the underlying issue of cat-fishing,” Blume founder Daniel Delouya told Cult of Mac. “When people pretend to be someone they’re not, people feel cheated. Something like one in 10 profiles is fake and that really hurts communication.”
Online dating has gained acceptance and popularity since the early days of Match.com. One in five adults, ages 25-34, have used online dating, according to the Pew Research Center, and 5 percent of all married or committed couples say they met their better half online.
Finding a date is now a mobile experience with apps like tinder, which has an estimated 50 million users and claims responsibility for 9 billion matches.
Blume, which started in Denmark, Sweden and Norway before last week’s launch in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, hopes to attract members with simple yet sophisticated verification features.
The app, which is available for iPhone here, won’t let a user upload an old or fake photo. Users only see the selfies once both have sent them. They then have seven seconds to decide whether to accept the selfies before they disappear.
If both parties are interested, they can place text on the selfie, which Delouya believes is a good ice-breaker to get the conversation started.
The app also tries to prevent fake profiles by connecting to Facebook to fill out a Blume profile.
Any user trying to take a screen shot receives a series of punishments, from a two-hour ban for the first offense to permanent banishment after the fourth.
Blume is recruiting ambassadors on college campus to spread the world about the app.
Delouya said once the app was launched in Denmark in June, it quickly grew to 20,000 users. He is 21 and single and was inspired by his own experiences with receiving fake profiles and shady links from users on other sites and apps.
“Women tell us they use Blume so they don’t have to be unsure of anything,” he said. “You have to be able to trust the environment. Over 65 percent have matched on Blume and we think that’s very good.”
As for Delouya’s personal success with the app, he says he met some interesting and authentic people through Blume, “but I’m too busy at the moment.”