Bumble: Not Your Guy Friend's Dating App
Photo credit above: Hester Margetson
If you haven't been active in the dating scene for a while, the name Bumble may not mean much to you, but it won the Dating App of the Year 2016, has been featured on all sorts of media, (including this awesome Ellen clip) and it's pretty clearly the hottest dating app out there right now. Bumble has also had an interesting inception, not without a fair share of drama, which has certainly influenced its focus as a female-centric dating app.
The Stinging History
Back in 2014, Tinder's co-founder Whitney Wolfe, now 27 and included in Forbes 30 Under 30 parted ways with the dating app behemoth in a swirl of controversy and horrific sexual harassment and discrimination from her male co-founders--the likes of which, frankly, is stomach-turning.
However, not even a year later, in August 2014, after being approached by Andrey Andreev, co-founder of Badoo, a mainly European dating platform, Wolfe agreed to partner with him and two former Tinder bigwigs on a new dating app that resembled Tinder, but with a fresh point of view.
Just 3 months later, in December 2014, Bumble launched into flight. As of February 2016, Bumble, which is headquartered in Austin, had just 13 employees--and 12 of whom are women.
The app boasts upwards of 12.5 million users since launching, and has been steadfast in its female-led approach, which has been a sorely underserved population of the dating market.
How it Works: The Buzz
Bumble, like Tinder, uses the familiar Swipe method to indicate interest in a potential match, but in an obvious departure from other dating apps, the woman always makes the first move.
After a mutual swipe right to connect, users are added to each other's ''hive" of connections. If the woman doesn't communicate with a new connection within 24 hours, that connection disappears. Forever. Unless--wait for it--you choose to upgrade to their new premium feature, Bumble Boost! (We recommend this, actually. More on that later).
Exception to the 24-hour and 'Who Goes First' rules: Men are permitted to extend the initial 24-hour window of communication for just 1 connection during a 24 hour period. Also, same-sex swipers are able to mutually reach out, regardless who initiated the first contact.
Translation:: Guys who swipe right on everyone, fishing for a response from someone..anyone..and continue to flood the woman with annoying or crude come-ons are not welcome here. Boom.
To extend your match: You'll need to go to your connections section and select, from the expiring connections, the connection that you want to extend. Then tap "Extend This Match", which will then extend for 24 hours. You can't re-extend the same person again, so make it a meaningful choice.
Sign up, Swipe, and Pollinate
It's surprisingly easy to get started on Bumble, but if signing up using your Facebook account makes you nervous, this may not be the right dating app for you (or you might be over age 25, since everything seems to use Facebook as a log-in alternative). The idea with using Facebook is that at least your basic info is more likely to be genuine.
- Set your distance, age, and gender search preferences in settings. Distance can stretch to 30 miles, and ages range from 18-80.
- Choose a Bumble profile pic from your Facebook uploads. Add up to 6 photos.
- Protecting your privacy: if you prefer to omit or limit school/job info, you will need to change your Facebook information to be less specific or delete it from Facebook. Bumble's FAQ page also gives detailed directions for removing your personal info, but it involves deleting/re-creating your Bumble account.
- Complete the "About Me" narrative, up to 300 words. Most people keep it pretty short. You can also include social media handles, thus giving your matches more insight and access to your life. Careful!
After setting up your profile, just start looking at potential matches photos.
Backtracking: Swipe left for Not Interested, and right for Interested. If you Swipe Left accidentally (who amongst us hasn't had an 'Oh No!' swiping moment), you use the backtrack feature by shaking your device. Three free "backtracks" are provided initially, which are replenished every three hours. Once you swipe right, though, you can't undo it. If a mutual match is made, then message away, keeping in mind the 24 hour rule.
How Much Does It Cost?
It's free to register..and use the app, but you may want to consider upgrading to Bumble Boost! which allows you to unlock the users who have swiped right on you, and connect with them immediately. You can also see who has already liked you, re-match with expired matches, and get unlimited extends. In other words..this seems to undo most of the limitations of the app.
- 1 week for $8.99
- 1 month for $24.99
- 3 months for $16.66 per month
- 6 months for $13.33 per month
Rewarded for Good Behavior: The VIBee badge
Although this verification badge is difficult to track down, as it isn't listed as a sign-up option, or even under the FAQ's, all it takes is an email request. This distinction pretty much means that the you are a real person, and that you aren't a creeper or spammer, and are a positive contributor to the community. The more 2-way conversations you have, the more quickly you can earn a “VIBee” badge.
Once you’ve achieved VIBee status, you can elect to only be matched with other VIBees, which limits your dating pool-- but could increase your results because you are matched only with other active users. If you run out of VIBees, then general users will automatically be fed into your account again.
- Bumble and Spotify have partnered to allow users to showcase their favorite musicians, which can be a revealing indicator of one's tastes and personality.
- BumbleBFF: Girls just wanna have fun, right? Here, ladies can switch to BFF mode from dating mode by literally pressing a button to connect with females whom they feel they may have things in common with. May sounds odd, until you realize how hard it is to develop friendships when you've moved to a new town, or you work with all men, etc.
- Photo policy: No photos of people in underwear, swimwear unless they're at the beach/pool,No photos of kids without adults, No obscured faces, No watermarks or overlaid text, and--- we love this one so very much: No mirror selfies.
- BumbleVID: (not released yet) A feature that allows users to create stories with unlimited 10-second videos that automatically delete after 24 hours. Be careful with your phone's geo-locator.
- Profile Verification: (currently on limited-release after an initial overwhelming period of requests to verify, from users) which will ask the user to comply with sending a selfie with specific poses, to verify that this is truly the member. Say buh-bye Catfishers!
The Final Buzz?
Bumble has obviously made a huge impact as Tinder's biggest rival, as Whitney Wolfe proves that success is the best revenge. This is a fun new app which puts women in charge, and encourages timely and definitive communication parameters.
Did we mention what a relief it is not to be getting blasted with dick pics and stupid inarticulate come-ons?
We'd suggest ponying up the extra money for the upgraded version of Bumble Boost!, or at least checking it out for a month ($25.00) to see if it's worth your while. To us, it's a no-brainer, since it buys you greater freedom of choice, and realistically, a couple of drinks can run you that much at a fahncy joint.
We'll keep you posted as new features roll out. For now, we'd encourage both men and women to try Bumble as an alternative to the same old, same old.
For some quick tips about Profile writing, check this out.