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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dating App for Gay Ladies Blocks Pervy Dudes

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:10 AM


Believe it or not, it's hard to be gay in San Francisco. If you're a lady, that is.

Sure, lesbians can hit the The Lex to see and be seen, but they won't see that many girls since the bar fits about 12 people comfortably. There's a few fun, monthly dance parties, mostly on week days, and there's many places to acquire glitter. But what San Francisco lesbians don't have is a dating app tailored to the needs of gay, bi, and bi-curious ladies.

That's where Dattch comes in.

Dattch is a UK-based dating app created by a mostly female team that is not rooted in shirtless ab selfies or banging your way through your Facebook friend list.

"Every single dating product that's been produced for gay women is horrific," CEO Robyn Exton told TechCrunch recently. "The biggest problem [with rivals' products] is they don't have any consideration of how these women are different."

Some of these problems include the fact that apps for ladies mostly repurpose gay male dating apps but change one or two letters. Grindr becomes Blendr. Bender becomes Brenda, etc. Some don't even change the questions posed to male users, creating awkward inquiries, such as: "How much body hair do you have?"

Also, if you've been to Craigslist in the last hundred thousand years, you've probably noticed that the "Women 4 Women" ads are dominated by trolls, men, and the occasional invitation to save the elephants. OkCupid, pretty much the only game in town thus far, has its problems as well, one of which being unwanted attention from wang-bearing suitors. While OkCupid does give gay users the option to block straight people from viewing their profile, solicitations from men persist in other ways. One guy who wrote to us created a fake profile using pictures of a blow-up doll. His message to us, told through the blow-up doll, was that "she" had a really hot guy friend who wanted to meet us. We told him that we were busy, but that we had a really hot lamppost we could introduce him to.

Dattch recognizes the problems of men trying to perv out or convert lesbians on dating sites, and manually checks each new user to ensure that they are female, even going so far as to do voice verification by phone in some cases. While this is depressing, it also reminds us of the surge of men who now frequent the few lesbian bars in the city. Wild Side West and El Rio come to mind. This isn't to say we can't all drink Miller High Life together by any means, but there are already so few spaces to meet queer women, it's disheartening to see those spaces occupied increasingly by men.  

What do lesbians want in a dating app, you ask? According to Exton, who adopted a Pinterest design for the app, the answer is pictures -- lots of them. "Women will be just as interested to see what your living room looks like, and what your favorite drink is. What we've done now is to allow people to import these images that show who you are, rather than describing it. So it gives all the content for women to browse through." You can't fall in love until you've seen her loveseat, as we always say.

Dattch also provides a text-based messaging system, and users' photos are involved there as well, for context and conversational fodder. Since most queer women require more than a "Hi, wanna meet?" introduction, Dattch doesn't rely on the GPS-based meetup option popular with Grindr.  

Currently, Dattch only serves those across the pond, but it just closed a $160K angel/small seed round, and has plans to expand to the U.S. in the next year. Get on that, Dattch, and we'll get on you.

Follow @annapulley on Twitter. She'll tweet you right.

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Anna Pulley

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