Although some think that women have it easy when it comes to romance, anyone who has seen the barrage of harassment and abuse women receive when they use dating apps knows that isn’t exactly true. Wyldfire is making online dating a woman’s game by letting women determine what men are deserving of a hot date (and putting jerks on ice).
One of the biggest complaints about online dating is the inevitable onslaught of downright horrifying messages from random dudes. What with the litany of blogs (and articles, and more!) dedicated to mocking bad online dating experiences(we’ve even covered it here at the Urban Dater) and the increasingly popularity of online dating, it is considered common knowledge that online dating can be a harrowing experience, especially for women. Other than addressing structural issues within society and crossing our fingers, is there a way to make this better? New dating app Wyldfire thinks they’ve found the solution.
Wyldfire is hoping that sisterhood will save online dating by making it a woman’s game, based on women’s choices. Wyldfire makes it so that the only men who are allowed to join have been invited (and presumably vetted) by women.
Here’s how it works:
When a woman joins the site, she is given three virtual invites (or “feathers,” as Wyldfire calls them) to give to three male friends. Men can request a feather from a female friend, but must be approved before being allowed to access to other profiles.
The best thing about Wyldfire’s approach is what their user pool will look like once they get a good number of people; by weeding out one of the worst elements of dating in the virtual world, they are increasing the opportunities for romantic success. Rather than sifting through terrible messages or uninspiring dudes, female-identified daters will be able to search for dates who know how to build friendships and socialize successfully with women–without harassment being considered standard fare.
Notice how I said “female-identified”? That’s because Wyldfire doesn’t discriminate: the app is LGBTQ friendly, offering options for what kind of users you’d like to see, and open to all kinds of women who are interested in using the site (yes, that means transwomen too!).
They also have a system set up to prevent abuse and harassment, just in case someone ends up slipping through the cracks. Wyldfire uses Facebook to verify users’ gender and the legitimacy of their identity; accounts must have a minimum number of Facebook friends and must have an account for at least three months to be eligible to join. According to Operations and Marketing Director Sarah Cardey, this helps cut down on spam and abuse within the system.
Additionally, Wyldfire has a zero-tolerance policy for abusive or inappropriate behavior, and once a user is flagged, their access is immediately removed. And if a woman repeatedly invites men who are flagged? She may have her access removed as well.
Due to the highly unpredictable nature of human behavior, it is impossible to have a 100% foolproof solution, but by setting up multiple ways to screen and address bad behavior, Wyldfire is making moves to make their dating app as safe a place as can be. Plus, it will drive away catfishers and opportunistic hustlers who might see this as a way to make some cash selling invites.
While this may seem like a hassle for a guy who just wants to join and poke around, think of the benefits: Now you know that your approach isn’t going to be lost in a sea of douchery, and knowing that someone thinks highly enough of you to recommend you as a date is a huge confidence booster. Think about how much easier it is to win a woman over when you’ve already got the automatic thumbs up just by being there.
What I really like about Wyldfire is how they are relying on women’s voices and perspectives to help create a woman-friendly community. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a dude say the following about another man in a large group of friends, “Yeah, that dude is kind of weird, but he’s cool. I mean, the girls in the group don’t really like him and once [name of female friend] told me to never leave her alone with him, but he’s a funny guy. Just sort of weird.” Still, they continue to be friends with him and never see that information for what it is: A big fat red flag. With women at the helm and determining who is at least safely dateable (and at best charming and handsome), Wyldfire is trusting women to create their own dating community.
As someone who has met a ton of people through virtual means, I wish Wyldfire had existed when I was single and dating non-stop. What fun is the first date make out session when you are also thinking, “Holy crap, is this an axe murderer?”
Talk about putting my panties in a twist–and for all the wrong reasons.
I recently talked about my own Darth Vadar Boyfriend nightmare, and I can say with absolute confidence that none of that guy’s friends would have recommended him as a date. When I met them, they were both confused by the circumstances and were very disapproving of his ill-begotten antics. After that experience, I was super nervous about jumping back into the dating game. Although the experience honed my bullshit meter, I knew that there’s only so much you can know about someone when you’ve met them through unvetted means–and the dating online is nothing if not that.
The confidence of knowing that the sisterhood is looking out for me (and vice versa) would have given me the freedom to let my guard down a little, and instead of spending time and energy proactively defending myself, I could have been meeting better people more often.
Wyldfire officially launches soon, but you can click here for early access. Good news for your wallet, too: the app is completely free to use.
It is going to be exciting to see where Wyldfire goes next and the ultimate outcome of their ambitious start. Oh, and keep an eye out: I know that I’ll be sending a friend or two your way, ladies. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even get a bonafide Alex V. sighting in the virtual wild.
The preceding was a sponsored post. You can read up on our disclosure statement here.