Let’s Date, the iPhone dating app founded by Suicide Girls co-creator Sean Suhl and backed by Los Angeles incubator Science, Inc., is releasing its first significant update since the app’s national launch a month ago. The big focus — allowing friends to recommend potential dates to each other.
First of all, regular users will now be able to make these recommendations. If you find someone who might interest a friend, you can share that person’s dater card (that’s Let’s Date’s distilled version of a user profile) as a link via SMS or email.
Curiously, you can’t actually share recommendations within the Let’s Date app itself. I wondered if this was a strategy to recruit more users, but founder Sean Suhl said, “We wanted to make it part of the real way you communicate with friends.” After all, to make the sharing work entirely in-app, Let’s Date would have had to build an entirely new social layer — one that probably isn’t necessary, since you already know plenty of ways to reach your friends.
There’s also a new ability to designate an account as a “Wingman,” a setting for people who aren’t looking to date, but enjoy making recommendations for others. (To be clear, a Wingman can be either gender.) Their dater cards won’t ever be shown to other users, and they can’t message people in the app. They can, however, browse dater cards and send links to friends.
And regardless of whether you’re a regular user or a Wingman, Let’s Date will track the success of your recommendations. If they actually lead to dates, Suhl said you’re more likely to see the dater cards of new users as they enter the system, while other users will have to wait a bit longer.
Suhl also revealed that the main metric that his team cares about — the number of dates set up through the app — continues to grow. Let’s Date set up 32,000 dates in February (which Suhl pointed out is a short month) compared to 25,000 in January (when it was available in Los Angeles only). The company also says that the basic task in the app, hitting “Let’s Date” or “No Thanks,” gets performed 1 million times per day.
Let’s Date is sharing few other pieces of interesting data. For example, it said that Los Angeles ranks the highest for dater flakiness, with nearly 10 percent of people missing dates that they set up through the app. (The app’s national average is 4.5 percent.) It also said that the most hated diet preference is paleo.
I’ve actually become a pretty regular user myself, even though I haven’t made it to the dating stage yet. (God, when I write it out, that sounds pretty sad.) And TechCrunch’s Leslie Hitchcock has some ideas about why the app can be so addictive.
One thing I’ve been a little dissatisfied with is the app’s tendency to ignore some of my preferences. It never actually asks you what kind of person you’re looking to date (which does make it easier to get started), and instead you can just cross out the things that are unappealing when the app recommends someone to you and you say “No thanks.” However, no matter how many times I crossed it out, I noticed that Let’s Date was still recommending people who were more than a decade younger than me (or, occasionally, more than a decade older).
Suhl said another upcoming update should fix that — it’s an update to the app’s “backend logic,” so it doesn’t require a new download. Basically, he said the threshold for moving certain types of people out of your recommendations has been lowered, and the app will also get smarter about your preferences. For example, if you say that you don’t want to date an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old (and you identify the ages as the reason you’re not interested), it will be able to figure out that you’re not interested in 19-year-olds, either.
You can download the app here.