Remember Lulu? Prior to being absorbed into the Badoo portfolio, the so-called ‘dating intelligence’ app let women anonymously review and rate their dating experiences with men. That seemed quite controversial back in 2011 — and perhaps it still is? But now a new dating app launching this week is upping the ante.
Boompi starts off by following the now well-trodden Tinder-esque location-based dating path. You swipe yes (or no) to a possible local match, and if the other person reciprocates positively, you can begin private messaging with your potential date.
But here’s the clincher: Women on the app can invite friends to eavesdrop and secretly comment on their private conversations with prospective dates. If that feels like privacy violation as a feature, that’s because it is.
“Boompi is every girls’ dream,” says the app’s male founder Alejandro Ponce. “A social discovery app where girls can secretly add their girl friends to a chat with a guy to gossip and share their opinion on guys.”
In addition, and to encourage more women to join, Boompi can be used in ‘Ghost Mode’, a feature that enables women to remove themselves from the location-based search and dating part of the app.
That way, even if you are already in a relationship and/or don’t want to participate in Boompi’s match-making features — and you’re female, of course — you can still utilise the eavesdropping feature.
So, why on earth would men sign up to Boompi, I ask, perhaps naively. “Boys will be wherever girls are,” says Ponce, likening the situation to the way night clubs sometimes let women enter for free.
“Boompi is like building a marketplace: If every girl is on Boompi then every boy will want to join. One main issue for dating apps is that more than 70 per cent of the user base are guys, on Boompi it is the other way around”.
And whilst I think the app is mostly a horrible idea — hey, I’m a guy — the eavesdropping feature may have a number of positive effects.
First, it could increase the likelihood of a Boompi connection leading to an actual date. That’s because, argues Ponce, women are more inclined to go on a date if they have the approval of friends.
And second, if men know their messages may be read by other people, they might be less likely to act like jerks.