Grindr Review 2020 | Popular but is it the Best?

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Grindr Review June 2020

 

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Introductions

 

There is certainly a lot of LGBT dating niche dating site and apps.  Launched in 2009, the Grindr app is the very first gay geosocial app. It uses the mobile device’s GPS system to find matches for gay singles, which can be arranged on a grid from nearest to farthest.

 

The app has made a boom in the gay community around the globe with initial positive reviews and word of mouth. In the short three years, the app had reached about 4 million users with more than 1 million active users online daily. It has since become one of the largest community for gay men and one of the best platform for gay men to meet new friends.

 

Grindr also received a lot of awards from different industry conferences. It won the TechCrunch’s Crunchies “Award for Best Location Application,” on 2011, the 2012 Webby Awards for award-winning work in the Social (handheld devices) category, the iDate Awards’ Best Mobile Dating App” three times in a row, and more.

 

However, its fame has been marred by several controversies. There are of criticisms on a software vulnerability that might expose the personal details of millions of Grindr users. The app also suffered a backlash after a report that Grindr sent data of their clients’ HIV status to third-party sites.

 

Currently, Grindr is also facing another change in ownership. The gay dating app was initially operated by Nearby Buddy LLC in the US. In 2016, the majority of its stakes was bought by the Beijing Kunlun Group and was sold completely to the Chinese gaming company in 2018.

 

In March 2019, the Committee of Foreign Investments in the United States revealed that having a Chinese company handle the platform dominated by US users poses a risk to national security and the Kunlun Group started looking for buyers of the app.

Grindr Membership Base and Costs

 

The app boasts itself as ‘most popular and active dating app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.’ Its members are 100 percent gay men. In 2017, the app had reached 27 million users from 192 countries. A large chunk of its users come from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. Currently, the mobile app has 3.3 million daily users and 1 million users online at any given time.

Grindr is also known for its very active users. The gay dating app has the highest user engagement out of all current dating apps, with about 30 million messages and 2 million photos sent every day. It is mainly used for speed dating, with most of its users looking for quick hook-ups instead of a serious relationship.

Grindr comes in free and paid version. Users are basically good to go with a free version. However, for those with some money to spare, a premium subscription version for a small fee would give access to additional special features and an ad-free experience. Below are the fees for the app’s premium version called Grindr Xtra:

Grindr Premium Costs

 

 

The app offers a 7-day free trial for Grindr Xtra once per user. The subscription renews automatically after the end date and needs to be canceled manually to avoid incurring unwanted fees.

Features

 

Sign-up and Profile Creation

 

During the sign-up process, you need to input your personal details including email, birthday, selected password, and turn on your mobile phone’s location services. The next step is to complete the profile. However, this is not a requirement. If you are uncomfortable to answer, you can leave parts of the profile blank. But a more comprehensive profile will definitely attract more users.

For the profile picture and other photos, you can upload photos with a blurred face to ensure your identity won’t be leaked. You can also choose to use a different display name and write a short, witty description in the “About Me” section.

The profile contains the standard details of typical dating sites— relationship status, physical appearance, height, weight, body type, ethnicity, looking for. You can also reveal your favorite sexual position and choose among the Grindr exclusive “Tribes” where you belong to such as Bear, Clean-cut, Jock, Geek, Otter, Twink, Poz, etc.

On the profile’s “Sexual Health” section, you can reveal your HIV status as well as the date you were last tested. Finally, there is an option to link your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.

After setting up your account, you are free to access all features of the app. Below are the features available both the free version and Grindr Xtra:

 

Grindr Free Membership Features

 

● Create a complete profile and add pictures

● Find matches via geolocation. The app does not have a standard search.

Instead, all matches are found by location.

● View up to 100 profiles at once per match search.

● View “Fresh Faces.” This is a list of new members of the app.

● Send and receive messages to all members.

● Create a group chat

● Unlimited use of Gaymoji. This is a collection of more than 500 LGBTQ-themed stickers that can be used in messages.

● Receive notifications instantly to your phone when you receive a message.

 

Grindr Xtra Features

 

● All features are available for free members.

● No ad banners.

● Unlock all premium filters in finding matches. After searching for matches by location, you can go to the tap “My Type” to filter results based on your set preferences. All parts of the profile are included in advanced filters.

● Choose three Tribes (free members can only choose one.)

● View six times more profiles per search, up to 600 at once.

● View users based on photo availability.

● View users who are currently online.

● Fast chat using “Saved Phrases.” You can save phrases from those you have used in your previous conversations.

● Send multiple photos at a time.

● Unlimited use of “Block,” “Tap” and “Favorite.” You can use “Tap” to show interest to someone by simply tapping on the flame icon on the profile. If the interest is mutual, they might start chatting with you. On the other hand, “Favorite” is simply a way to bookmark profiles you want to view later. Unlike when using taps, the user won’t know that you have added them to your favorites.

Ease Of Use

The design of the app is simple and user-friendly. It can be accessed on mobile phone and is available for free download at Play Store and Apple Store.

 

The layout focuses more on the profiles instead of the functions. Upon opening the app, the entire screen is filled with profiles of users near your location. On the other hand, the primary functions can be easily accessed through the profiles. The app is efficient and very easy to navigate.

 

Registration is very quick and easy. There is no need to verify your email, and your display photo can be verified in a matter of seconds. However, the swift process can undermine security and lower the legitimacy of users. It is very easy to make fake profiles on the gay dating app.

 

After registration, users can link and log-in using Facebook for convenience. The members of the site are very active, and you can expect to receive dozens of messages within minutes. The members can also be very straightforward. Most of the time, they send pictures first to prove their identity and attract attention. However, you should be careful when browsing in public; some of these photos will definitely be nudes.

Safety & Security

 

Through the years, Grindr has suffered a number of security issues, though the company tries to address some of them, some are not properly resolved. Below are some major issues you should take note of:

 

Pinpointing Location of Other Members

 

One issue about the app is, it can be used to pinpoint the exact location of its users. Using relative distance measurement, people can use simple triangulation to spot the location of other users accurately.

The issue was raised after reports that the Egyptian police used Grindr to hunt gay people. Egypt is a strict Muslim country where the majority of the people are homophobic. The Egyptian police force and public prosecutors are known to conduct legal crackdowns against members of the LGBT community.

Grindr responded by disabling the app’s distance display function worldwide. However, in 2015, the display distance option was back again, this time with an option disable it. If you think, disabling the ‘show distance’ makes you safe, computer scientists said it’s not completely foolproof. A group of researchers from Kyoto revealed that a user’s location can still be exposed without hacking; this is through a novel attack model called colluding-trilateration. The same method can be used in other location-based dating apps.

 

Data Privacy Issue

 

Another problem of the app is data privacy. In 2018, a non-profit organization reported that the gay dating site sent personal information of users to third-party companies, including their HIV status. The report generated debates on the app’s privacy policy.

 

Most dating apps and websites share user information on third party companies. It is the norm in the online dating industry, and it is often written on their privacy policy. However, HIV status is another matter.

 

Grindr responded by adding a section on data about HIV status in their privacy policy. It says: “We do not share HIV status with any third party service advertisers or third party service providers other than companies that host data on our behalf (e.g., Amazon Cloud). In addition, we do not use HIV status for advertising purposes and do not share this information with advertisers.” However, including your HIV status in your profile would make it public to all Grindr users.

 

Fakes and Bot Accounts

 

Making fake accounts in Grindr is very easy. It has no email validation or any member screening process. Most of the profile fields are also mandatory, which means there are a lot of incomplete profiles in the app. Some only have a few sentences description and nothing more. The site also only allows one photo on the profiles, most of which have blurred faces. This makes it harder to filter fake profiles on the site.

 

Aside from fakes, there are also a number of bot accounts in the app. These bots attract users to click into fake webcam links, which contains potential malware and installs a virus on the user’s mobile phone.

 

You can spot bots by inspecting their profiles. Most bots have dubious profile information such as height less than 3 feet. Their conversation responses are also automated so sometimes; they don’t make any sense.You can block and report these suspicious accounts.

How To Contact Grindr Customer Service

 

Users can contact customer service by submitting a support request on Grindr’s help center page. You can also send an email to [email protected] or call their phone hotline through +1 415 8120244.

Positives & Negatives

 

Pros

 

● Large user base and high engagement of users.
● Free version offers complete functionality. Users don’t feel the need to pay for a subscription.
● App design is simple and user-friendly.
● Fun and distinctive features such as Gaymojis and Tribe options.

 

Cons

 

● Users can only search for potential matches based on location.
● A lot of fake and bot accounts.
● Security risks. Your location may be tracked even after disabling ‘show location.’

Other Sites to Consider

 

Blued- This is a relatively newer mobile gay dating app than Grindr. It was launched in 2012 and has gained phenomenal success especially in the Asian market. It has about 40 million users, 70 percent of which are from Asia. It also uses geolocation and has more functions than Grindr. Blued is completely free. Members can use credits to watch live streams and buy virtual gifts. It also has an identity authentification feature for members.

 

Jack’d- Like Grindr and Blued, Jack’d is a location-based app for gay, bisexual, and curious men. It has 1.2 million users mostly from the US. Sixty percent of its users are Black or Latino. Its features are mostly similar to Grindr. It also has fee-based services via Jack’d Pro.

Grindr Review 2020 Final Words

 

Grindr is a dating app for gay men looking for casual hook-ups. The good thing is, you can access all of its important functions for free. Subscribing is unnecessary unless you have extra money. The bad thing—its security is negligent. They do not screen profiles, so there are a lot of fake and bot accounts.

 

However, with all the issues on its security, Grindr is still overall a good app. It has a big and very active community. As a pioneer in its niche, it has been at the forefront of glory and controversies. Pinpointing the location, for example, is a problem not just on Grindr but on all other location-based apps.

 

It’s the same with fake and bot accounts which can be considered a typical issue on most dating apps and websites especially free ones. In the end, users have to browse responsibly and take special attention to their internet safety

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