A Tale of Two Dating Companies — Part 2, The Bad: Dine Dating App
I recently interacted with two fairly new companies in the online dating sphere and had two very different experiences. In part one of this two-part series, I talked about the very positive experience I had with Aste, a company that will verify that your date is who they say they are.
Unfortunately, my second experience did not go so well. I will not be using the Dine dating app anytime soon, and here is why…
A few weeks ago I was browsing on Twitter and I came across this article comparing Dine to Bumble, Tinder, and Happn. Although the article was written by the Marketing Director of Dine (he calls Dine “his app” so it is unclear what his role was in its creation, but his title on Medium says Marketing Director of Dine App) so it was very clearly biased, I still thought the concept was interesting. While I very highly doubt that he was making a genuine effort on Bumble/Tinder/Happn for this article, I was still intrigued by Dine. According to the article:
Each person chooses 1–3 restaurants, bars or cafes to meet for a first date at. Any place is searchable and can be chosen. These locations will appear on your dating profile. Every day, you will be introduced up to 5 people in your area that you can see in your “Today’s Pick”. Now this is where the cool part comes in, instead of swiping left and right and hoping someone likes you back, if you like any of the 5 people in your today’s pick and wish to Dine for a first date, you can directly ask them out and if they like you, it’s a match and having the first date is now set up.
After you match with someone, you can still chat with them if you aren’t interested in meeting up right away, but I thought the idea of having three potential date ideas right from the start was interesting.
I downloaded the app, which made you log in through Facebook, which while not something I love, is common on other sites. I went ahead filling out my profile and when I was done, I clicked “view profile” to see what it looked like and I was shocked to see this at the bottom:
I was turned off at the idea that this app links to your profile IMMEDIATELY. Any woman who has spent longer than a week or two on dating sites knows that even if you “swipe right” on someone who seems decent, their first message can be disgusting, creepy, or rude. Matching with a user does not mean I want them having my last name and all the other info on my Facebook profile right away. I keep my Facebook fairly private; I don’t even have my work history on there. But I was still turned off by this aspect of Dine.
In the original article about Dine, the marketing director says, “I deal directly with my users via support email and it’s always so amazing to hear the wonderful dating experiences Dine is making. Obviously, there are many things that we can always improve on but overall the reception has been great.”
Since he seemed open to feedback, I decided to tweet him with my thoughts. I sent the following tweets:
I thought it was a bit odd that Dine itself doesn’t have a Twitter, but I figured it was a fairly new company and since this guy was the one who posted the original article, I’d just respond to him directly.
Six days later, I received the following set of Tweets back…
I honestly had to do a double take when I received these tweets, particularly the one that started with “Actually Sarah,”
Did the marketing director of a DATING APP just “WELL, ACTUALLY” me?!
I responded to one of the Tweets in the following way:
So far, as of five days later, I haven’t heard back. But I found this response to be problematic for several reasons.
First off, someone who was/is involved in the creation and marketing of this app should know that using Facebook to VERIFY your profile (pulling your name, birthday, profile photos, etc.) is not the same as linking to your FULL profile. To pretend that it is, is treating your users like they are dumb.
Secondly, there was no need to be so condescending. For someone involved in marketing, this guy doesn’t know how to talk to people. His response could have said something like:
While we understand your concerns, our users have mostly reported they enjoy this feature as it helps verify that people are who they say they are. We have found that the more detailed a profile is, the more likely it is to get matches. However, we will pass your feedback on to our team and possibly explore ways to not link to the profile until later on in the matching process. In the meantime, we hope you will reconsider using our app!
Instead, he basically said that my concerns were not valid. When you compare this to Aste’s response when I raised similar privacy concerns, or even Bumble’s entire amazingly responsive Twitter, it is clear who is doing more to satisfy users.
While I understand that no app or site is ever going to make everyone happy, it is important to respond with care when people are raising privacy concerns. PARTICULARLY when that person is a woman. I understand that dating sites/apps are frustrating for both men and women in different ways. Men are “expected” to message first on most sites, due to nothing other than dumb outdated societal norms. Because of this, they get rejected more, ignored more, etc. However, women get harassed more and fear for their physical safety more. You occasionally hear stories of dates that started from an app or a website and end in murder. To treat a potential user like their privacy concerns are not valid is not good business and it’s very dismissive of the reality of what it’s like to be a woman on a dating site.
Dine could really take a lesson from Part One of this series in regards to what timely and respectful communication looks like.
Speaking of part one, I realize it is a bit weird of me to write a positive review of a site that runs a full report on someone’s background, including finding their social media, while slamming Dine for linking to Facebook. However, I believe that a person choosing to pay for a background check that verifies who someone that they’re about to go on a date with is, using information that is already in the public domain, is a little different than sending EVERYONE you match with right to your Facebook.
I understand that in the age of online dating, I may be a bit more private with my personal information than some people. I would understand if maybe I just had to make the personal choice not to use Dine due to my hesitancies about the Facebook linking. However, the reason I don’t plan on trying this app again anytime soon is a combination of the privacy issues and the marketing director’s response. For now, I will stick to the apps that show they value my personal information AND respond to their users in a respectful manner.