Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

August 21, 2012

Finding love on the run: The fast rise of mobile dating apps

(Continued)

But for those who want quality, there are options. And developers are turning to simple, real-life concepts to woo users, like the common friend.

That's where Facebook comes in, with apps like Zoosk and Are you Interested? Facebook itself recently announced a new feature, Find Friends Nearby, to connect with other Facebook users.

A new wave of apps such as Coffee Meets Bagel and Yoke focus on common friends and use Facebook profile information to match people.

"You can judge a person by the company that they keep," said Mark Brooks, analyst and consultant to the Internet dating industry.

There's nothing like a mutual friend to make a potential match look more valid, something that the boot camp participants also felt strongly about.

"For me, having a recommendation totally bumps you up on the list," Horn said.

Coffee Meets Bagel, a four-month-old New York startup, found that users were 37.2 percent more likely to want to date a person if they had mutual Facebook friends. If users had four mutual friends, they were 90 percent more inclined.

Coffee Meets Bagel, which is run by three sisters, started as a Web site and recently released apps for iOS and Android. It uses a simple concept: Set a deadline and people will respond.

Users provide basic Facebook information. Everyday at noon, they receive an e-mail with one match, a friend of a friend. They have 24 hours to 'like' or 'pass' over the person. If both users choose 'like,' they are connected through a private number. If they pass, another option arrives the next day.

"We're trying to use mobile technology to make people take an active stance in dating," said co-founder Arum Kang, a former product manager at Amazon.

Yoke, a Facebook app, goes beyond common friends to shared interests. It uses Netflix, Amazon and Spotify to match users according to their taste in movies, books and music. People connect much the way they would be if they met at a concert or movie, said Rob Fishman, one of the founders.

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