Breaking down the pros and cons of popular dating apps

Whether you're looking for a relationship, fling or simple hookup, these options can provide some interesting opportunities

Photo Courtesy of Giphy/Tumblr

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but not everyone had a lively, amorous weekend. If you had a lonesome holiday, The Badger Herald has your back with a breakdown of popular dating apps that could help you find your next hookup or significant other.

Keep in mind that many dating apps fail to adequately serve gender nonconforming individuals.


Availability: Mobile application only

Cost: Basic app is free, premium version costs $9.99 for one month and adds minimal perks.

Methodology: Users create minimally detailed profiles with a few photos. They swipe right on profiles they like and left on profiles they do not. If two people swipe right on each other, the app reveals the match, and an instant messaging becomes available between the two of them.

Oriented toward: Hookups, flings

Popularity in Madison: High

Pros: Tinder is extremely convenient and fun. If you’re just looking for something casual, Tinder is the right dating app for you.  It is also simply a good way to pass the time, or get a quick confidence boost.

Cons: If you’re looking for something serious, it’s not impossible to do so on Tinder — but it is difficult. Tinder is more geared toward showing off physical features rather than personality due to its photo-heavy profiles and little room for description. It is also disappointing that Tinder prompts people to identify only as either male or female, and neglects to even put in a “I prefer not to say” option. In addition, bots plague the selection of user profiles from time to time.



Availability: Website, mobile application

Cost: Free, with premium version for $9.95 per month

Oriented toward: Hookups, flings, casual dating, serious dating

Method: Users answer as many questions as they wish from a near-limitless pool, which are then used to formulate compatibility percentages with other matches. Identical answers generate a high percentage in compatible categories. Differing answers generate a separate lower figure under clashing topics of interest. Users can then like each other while having this information at hand.

Popularity in Madison: Medium

Pros: OKCupid allows for more in-depth matches because it uses personality matching as well as potential physical attraction. The questions allow users to answer from different categories ranging from personal ambitions to sexual preferences. With OKCupid, you’ll get to know a person very well before the first date. The site/app also goes above and beyond to include a variety of sexual preferences and gender identities.

Cons: To get something out of OKCupid, you have to invest a decent amount of time and effort to fill out your profile and answer the throngs of questions.  



Availability: Mobile app only

Cost: Free

Format: Bumble is very similar to Tinder, but with a twist. When a match between a heteronormative pair occurs, the woman has 24 hours to message the man, or the match disappears forever. For non-heteronormative, or even friendship pairings, either side of the match can message first, but the match still disappears if no one does so within 24 hours.

Oriented towards: Hookups, flings, casual dating

Popularity in Madison: High

Pros: Many of the same pros as Tinder apply to Bumble, which makes sense since a Tinder co-founder started the app. The unique twist of the woman having to start the conversation for heteronormative pairings is a nice switch-up, as it is slightly subversive and ensures potential creeps cannot bombard inboxes. The dynamic of waiting for someone to respond within 24 hours for non-heteronormative couples ensures at least one person has to be somewhat interested in the match.

Cons: Again, as with Tinder, Bumble requires users to identify as either male or female. It is also questionable whether developers put any thought into non-heteronormative or non-binary gender users, since the app is oriented toward male/female heteronormative matches.


Accessibility: Mobile app only

Cost: Free, with premium version for $0.99 with major improvements

Format: Grindr uses photo-heavy profiles along with geo-location to sort profiles near the user in terms of proximity. Tapping on a profile then allows a user to chat, exchange pictures or reveal their own location to the other user.

Oriented towards: Hookups

Popularity in Madison: High

Pros: This app is designed for one purpose, and it does it well. It’s known to be very facilitative to men who are homosexual, bisexual or curious, looking to hook up or experiment.

Cons: The app has very lax enforcement policies, so any user that commits racist or otherwise problematic speech is likely to go unpunished.  The app’s creator has even publicly denounced having the desire to police such behavior on his app.


This article was published Feb 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm and last updated Feb 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm


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