Bumble, the dating app that only lets women make the first move, is rewarding some of its members with a special VIP status

Bumble, the app that flips traditional dating rules upside down by only allowing women to make the first move, is getting a big update.

Whitney Wolfe, a Tinder co-founder, created Bumble not long after she left the company.

Bumble, launched eight months ago, now boasts over 5 million conversations started by women, over 1 billion swipes, and an insane 15 per cent week-over-week growth.

What’s Wolfe’s next move for Bumble, which has been lauded as “the feminist Tinder”? She’s now launching a sophisticated algorithm called VIBee — a play on “VIP” — a verification of sorts that rewards good user behaviour and engagement.

“It’s really important to note that Bumble VIBee isn’t about weeding anyone out of the equation. Everyone is still allowed to use Bumble,” Wolfe told Business Insider on Monday. “If you’re an active, engaging user, we reward you with VIBee status and you can stand out in the app.”

Certified users, which will have a sticker on their profiles, can even go into a special mode where they’re only going to be matched up with other fellow VIBees.

Wolfe believes that this algorithm will give a person’s personality a chance to shine through in an age of tech where it’s easy to hide behind photos and education credentials that can read like resumes. Someone won’t necessarily be VIBee certified if they have graduated from Harvard or matched up with hundreds of people. Wolfe says the key is being engaged and positive towards other users in the Bumble ecosystem.


Whitney wolfe bumbleWhitney WolfeWhitney Wolfe, co-founder of Tinder and founder of Bumble

oon, users will be pre-selected to be the first VIBees in the Bumble community, and they will receive a notification alerting them they have been chosen. For those who join after the rollout of VIBee, the algorithm will already be in place, constantly and silently running in the background and looking for other qualified Bumble users.

The Bumble team believes that the algorithm is the first of its kind introduced in a dating app, according to Bumble spokeswoman Jen Stith.

Aside from its new algorithm, Bumble also has another interesting feature that gives one “Hail Mary” per day that allows them to extend the period of time that women can reach out to them. Usually, women only have 24 hours to respond once a match is made — but this feature lets guys extend that by an additional day.

VIBee awards thoughtful engagement, but what can you do if you’ve picked up a great catch and you no longer want to be discoverable by other users? Would your VIBee status disappear when you have a hiatus? Wolfe already thought of that.

“You can put yourself in a ghost mode where you can talk to previous matches and just maintain those conversations,” Wolfe said. “You’ll just be inactive — you won’t be able to swipe and people won’t be able to swipe on you. VIBee only picks good behaviour and won’t weigh into that.”

Wolfe believes that when people are using technology to find love, algorithms like VIBee are “100 per cent essential.”

“Life’s so much based on instincts and quick decisions, and people don’t know what they’re looking for,” Wolfe said. “If I outline Prince Charming, I could end up with someone with no chemistry. I don’t believe in trying to calculate one type of chemistry via algorithm, but I do think you need to do as much as you possibly can.”

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