‘Women in India are excited about initiating conversations’

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New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANSlife) Betting big on India, women-centric social networking Bumble isn’t leaving the safety of its users to chance. And the efforts have been rewarding. The platform collected over 1.7 million users within 10 months of its launch in the country, despite allowing only three types of connections — Date, BFF and Bizz.

“Indians are keen on finding not just romantic, but also business and platonic connections online,” said Priti Joshi, Bumble’s Global Director of Strategy, in a conversation with IANSlife.

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As per Bumble data, 80 per cent of its users in India are using two modes. And the app is giving its rivals a tough competition by addressing concerns that these users flag. More data suggests that women in India have sent twice as many messages as women elsewhere in the world. “Since its launch, women in India have made the first move over 3 million times (on Bumble). This, to me, is an indicator that women are not only comfortable about connecting across modes, but also excited to initiate conversation,” said Joshi over phone from Austin, US.

Dating platforms also battle with a highly-skewed gender ratio, with the percentage of women on many dipping to as low as low 20 per cent. But Joshi claimed that figure is 30 per cent in India, and agrees that there is room to improve the situation.

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How has online dating changed how we approach love? “A recent study published in the Wall Street Journal said that more than one-third of marriages in the US have originated via the online mode, and those online couples have longer and happier marriages.

“It’s largely because the anonymity of the initial conversations allows these individuals to share more, be vulnerable and let their guards down a little bit more. They’re able to share about their childhood, or they’re able to connect with someone in a way that is not possible when you’re meeting someone for the first time in-person,” she explained.

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How does Bumble empower women? The “women make the first move” feature safeguards users from unwanted creepy messages or spammers, and matches expire after 24 hours. The app has also launched a feature, specifically for India, wherein they can hide their first name and use the initials instead. This has been done to protect women users from unwanted “friend” requests or follows from strangers on other platforms. While a lot of dating apps are plagued with fake IDs, Bumble maneuvers this through photo verification, wherein genuine users get a blue tick.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)



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