Dating apps can be a little sketchy. Since most of them don’t have actual human matchmakers monitoring the action, things can get a little out of hand, especially when anyone can message strangers anything they want.
Yes, there may be success stories, but there are also creepers. And these creepers can totally ruin the experience.
That’s where Wyldfire thinks they have the solution: Let women screen male users before they are able to join the dating platform. On Wyldfire, women can sign up freely, but men need to be invited by a female friend in order to join. This gendered splitdown is meant to reassure women that any man on the app has been approved by some other woman out there, hopefully signaling that he is not a creeper.
The idea came about when founders Brian Freeman and Andrew White had just gotten out of long-term relationships and decided to enter the online dating scene. They felt like most women wouldn’t even give them a chance because they were just waiting for them to say something creepy.
“They’re anticipating that we’re going to send a creepy message and then we have to work backwards from that,” Freeman told Business Insider. “And we could do better by starting from zero rather than negative.”
Freeman and White started talking to their female friends who told them that dating apps made them feel like “a piece of meat” and that all the guys they met were “a** holes.”
“What’s to prevent a guy in prison to join a dating site?” Freeman said.
So he and White got working on the app and decided to create a different sign-up process for women and men. In order for a woman to join Wyldfire she has to send a “feather” to a male friend (aka a text message), inviting him to join the app. A man who wants to join the app either has to receive a feather or ask a female friend to send him a feather.
Beyond the initial screening, Wyldfire takes any reports from users very seriously. If a user flags another user, the account will immediately be shut down and the Wyldfire team will assess their messages to determine the problem and decide if the account should be shut down permanently. This monitoring will be especially important as Wyldfire plans to introduce photo messaging to the app in the near-future.
In a way, Wyldfire kind of applies the science behind Lulu, an app that lets women rate men, to dating app Tinder. While men haven’t been too thrilled about Lulu and may not love the idea of Wyldfire taking this to another level, the fact that women may be more willing to use Wyldfire could turn into a plus for men. And let’s face it, if a man doesn’t have one good female friend to invite him to Wyldfire, maybe he should do some soul-searching.
Wyldfire is still in beta, so you’ll have to register for a spot for now. They’re starting out with a push in San Francisco over the next ten days, and then they plan to pick the next locations based on how many registrations they get.
It remains to be seen whether or not Wyldfire will actually take off once it goes public, but the promise of fewer sleazeballs and a better screening process sounds encouraging. Tinder beware.