Dil Mil is not our regular dating app. Indian men, well those in India at least, will hate it. Yeah, they are not allowed on the app, which only entertains Indian women and NRI men. Launched earlier this week in Chandigarh, we don’t know whether Dil Mil will find any takers, but it is a clear indicator of a new trend of women-focused dating apps.
French dating platform Gleeden, which markets itself as an app for women who are already in a relationship, is free for women but charges men to send messages. On Bumble, only a woman can initiate a conversation and her identity is protected.
So what is driving more and more players to build dating apps in India that cater to women?
Why women-focused apps?
Priti Joshi, Bumble’s Global Director of Strategy, said their initial research has clearly shown women wanted to feel secure and comfortable when making connections online. “Therefore, we developed a feature specific to India – for women using Bumble Date, only her first initial will show. When she is ready to share her full name with connections, she can but until then her identity is protected,” Joshi said in an email interaction with Indianexpress.com.
Bumble has a woman CEO and 85 per cent of the workforce is also women. Gleeden, with over 6 lakh users in India from top cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai, is also entirely conceived, developed and run by a team of women.
“It would be fair to say since Gleeden has been conceived by women for women, its understanding of women’s preferences is good. A better understanding of women’s preferences has allowed us to attract a large number of women who constitute a healthy proportion of Gleeden members,” pointed out Solene Paillet, Marketing Specialist for Gleeden.
Dil Mil is a whole different ball game and is targeting women between the ages of 18-40 who wish to connect with NRIs. As of now, there are no Indian males allowed, but the company’s head of marketing Jaz Singh does not deny the possibility in the future.
The dating platform claims to have over one million users globally in the US, UK, and Canada and is essentially looking to use its pool of NRI profiles as a strength to try out something new in India. It claims to have found out that many women in India, especially in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, want to move out of india to pursue better opportunities.
“Contrary to mass-market dating apps, Dil Mil is currently focused on females in India looking to connect with South Asians on a global scale. Hence we are starting off by focusing on females first because Dil Mil has built the highest quality user base of NRIs in the world,” Jaz told Indianexpress.com.
How to ensure privacy?
In India, there is still a certain taboo attached to online dating, which is why many users, especially women resort to fake profiles or different geolocation to protect their identity. But when it comes to dating platforms, to avoid a situation like Ashley Madison, most claim to comply with the highest data protection standards.
“The voice and video content shared on Bumble is immediately deleted and never archived,” claimed Joshi. In 2015, over 300GB data of extra-marital dating site Ashley Madison users including credit card transactions, real names, etc were exposed in a massive security breach – a user’s worst nightmare.
“Gleeden works hard to ensure all its members the maximum privacy, discretion, and anonymity. Besides complying with the highest and up-to-date data protection protocols, we have the most stringent moderation policy in the e-dating industry,” Paillet replied to a query by Indianexpress.com.
To ensure privacy on the front-end as well, users get options to connect with others discreetly. The ‘Bumble Voice Calls & Video Chats’ feature, for instance, allows for chatting on Bumble without exchanging personal information.
Bumble’s ‘Private Detector’ automatically blurs lewd images and alerts a user that they have been sent something inappropriate. A user will then have the option to either view, block or report the image. In addition, there is the option to hide the first name, hide profile and seeing profiles of only women on Bumble Bizz.
With Gleeden, being an ‘extra-marital’ dating site, the focus is a little different. It even lets users change the app’s official icon on the phone, show transaction source as a generic one in the bank statement, and a “Panic Button” that allows users to automatically close the Gleeden web page by hitting the ESC key on the keyboard and get redirected to a web page of their choice. Finally, the private albums of a user on the platform will need authorisation to be viewed by others and there is also the option to close the app on the phone immediately by just shaking the phone.