You've Got Mate!
It’s no longer “desperate” to look online for love. Or even sex. Dating sites and apps are all the rage now. But do they deliver on what they promise?
The Indian dating circuit has re-wired its priorities. Some want love, some lust, some both. Now there’s a slew of websites and apps that offer tailor-made romance. So go ahead. Click, swipe, fall in love
hree windows are open in Nikhil Varma’s browser. His Gmail, a shopping portal and a dating website. “I want the shoes to have exactly six Velcro straps, ankle-length with a short zip at the back-heel,” states Varma, 30, a Delhi-based freelance photographer. He’s been trying to locate just the right pair of shoes for himself online, with little success. “Looks like love is easier to find,” he says with a wink, as he looks at the list of visitors to his online dating profile.
An increasing number of people in India are turning to websites and mobile apps that have taken over the responsibility of finding true love, or lust, for thousands of their users. OkCupid, for instance, one of the most popular dating websites in the world today, has made its presence felt in India too. In terms of percentage of users, Alexa – the US-based company that provides Web traffic data – puts India at sixth place overall for OkCupid usage. Tinder, which was launched in 2012 and has over 10 million active users worldwide, has also seen a steady stream of Indian profiles. There are online dating spaces geared towards the gay community as well – Grindr and PlanetRomeo. Back home, a number of Indian start-ups have also decided to play online Cupid. Truly Madly, is one such example, Woo is another. Before you start off about cheesy spam messages that were a given on dating websites, at least till around the ’90s, the current crop of dating sites ensure that needless vulgarity is kept at bay. Hitesh Dhingra, co-founder of Truly Madly, says, “There was a time when anyone could message anybody. A lot of women naturally stayed away from online dating because of that.” Now, on most apps, a user will only receive messages from someone he/ she has also ‘liked’. “So the chances of getting undesirable messages from random people are minimal, which is great for the female user base,” Dhingra says. And if any chat gets creepy, you can simply unmatch the person – sort of like walking out of a real conversation in a bar. If you don’t like it, you end it and never see the person again.
Tanvi Jain, a Delhi-based freelance Web designer, thinks that the whole notion of meeting a stranger at a party somewhere, starting a conversation and promptly deciding to go on a date is a bit dated. “I think a lot of us are nostalgic about that romantic cliche but it doesn’t fit in our world anymore. It’s more natural now to talk to somebody online. We’re always logged in.” To get a fair idea of the mechanics of some of the most popular sites/apps right now, here’s a lowdown for ready reference. So go ahead and play the field! email@example.com Follow @satarupapaul on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org Follow @AsadAli1989 on