#bumble | #tinder | #pof I road tested premium dating app services.

Dating during a pandemic is a confusing time. Any last glimmers of hope around the idea that you might meet your person while shopping for oranges are pretty much dashed (for now, at least). 

Instead, we’re awkwardly navigating through the socially distanced age where interested parties are likely to be met with a serve of side-eye and a raised mask if they enter your 1.5-metre radius.

With that considered, it’s understandable that now more than ever before, digital dating options are the go-to avenue for singles looking for a new boo.

Watch: The Horoscopes virtual dating. Post continues below.

According to an article by Business Insider Australia, Match Group (who owns apps like Tinder, Hinge, Match, and OkCupid) saw a 15 per cent increase in users between April and June.  

Sure, people have been limited in their options socially, but virtual date alternatives like video calls have skyrocketed in popularity in recent months.

Lucille McCart, associate director of PR and comms for Bumble, shared with me that “In Australia, we saw a 76 per cent increase in in-app video calls… and a 17 per cent increase in the volume of messages sent.”

There’s also been an apparent shift towards “genuine” connections over casual flings, shares Melissa Hobley, chief marketing officer at OkCupid. Recent data from the app shows that there’s been “a 20% decrease in people looking for ‘hook-ups’ on OkCupid over the past few months”.

From this, we can deduce that seemingly, more people are on the apps right now looking for l-o-v-e, not l-u-r-v-e (if you get my meaning). Unfortunately, however, hopping onto an app with wholesome intentions doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be skipping off into the sunset right away.

This is where premium dating services come in. Spruiking added benefits like unlimited ‘likes’; the ability to backtrack your left-swipe, or the option to see a list of interested suitors, most apps sell their paid memberships as a way to better your romantic odds. Then you’ve got exclusive apps that are designed solely around offering you a tailored digital dating experience (The League). And lastly, there is also the option of outsourcing your digital courting qualms to a matchmaking service. Kind of like Hitch, without the sexism.

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