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Dating appdates: ‘Tinder for travellers’, Grindr’s new CEO and reverse catfishing

It’s another busy time in the dating app world, with a new Tinder-like app for travellers arriving at the same time as the original hook-up app opening its first convenience store.

Tinder for travellers

A new Tinder-esque app aimed at travellers looking for off-the-beaten-track destinations, and the chance to hook up with other like-minded travellers, launched earlier this month (September 2022, for readers from the future).

OfftheGrid was launched by 25 year-old Ethan Serbantes, who told TechCrunch that the app would “address the fragmented travel planning process and solo traveler problems”.

Instead of swiping faces on OfftheGrid you swipe photos of travel locations posted by other users. If you spend app credits (gained by more swiping) you can reveal information about where the images were taken, so you can potentially get there yourself.

offthegrid 1
OfftheGrid: swipe that leaf

The app has a ‘Trips’ function that allows you to organize meet-ups with other travelers using the app. With dating apps such as Tinder already allowing you to ‘swipe ahead’ in travel destinations we can’t see OfftheGrid becoming a hotbed of hookups, but it should appeal to backpacker types looking for bus buddies.

Grinder gets a new CEO

Grindr named George Arison, founder of used car sales site Shift Technologies, as the LGBTQ dating app’s new CEO on Tuesday September 13, 2022. He had been on the app’s board of directors since May and will take over on one month today, on October 19.

The appointment of Arison, who is gay, precedes Grindr becoming a public listed company as part of a $2.1 billion deal with Singapore-based Tiga Acquisition Corp, a so-called ‘blank check’ shell company that raises funds before buying businesses. When news of the deal emerged Grindr said it was actively seeking to appoint its first LGBTQ CEO.

Grindr had around 11 million monthly active users in 2021, and has survived scandals such as it being revealed in 2018 that the app was sharing information about some users’ HIV status with outside companies.

“For me, on a personal level, working at Grindr has been an amazing gift, it has helped me to see and to celebrate the splendid diversity of our world, and the awesome power of love,” Jeff C. Bonforte, outgoing CEO of Grindr, said in a statement.

Tinder opens Tokyo convenience store

swipemart
Tinder’s Tokyo ‘Swipe Mart’

Tinder has opened a physical ‘Swipe Mart’ store in Shibuya, Tokyo, selling Tinder-branded merchandise and offering use of a ‘swipe booth’ to customers over its limited three-day operation.

Open September 16-19, the Swipe Mart sold Tinder tat such as clothes adorned with Tinder logos and symbols, plus instant noodles and chicken, reported Time Out Tokyo.

Customers were able to have their photo taken in the ‘swipe booth’, then swipe left or right to reject or accept the image, and have it re-taken if they chose the former.

There are plenty of images of the stuff on sale, such as Tinder-branded chicken pieces and underwear, on Tinder Japan’s Instagram.

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Tinder branded friend chicken: the future of (greasy) dating?

Reverse catfishing is officially a ‘thing’

The latest dating app trend to be identified by the media is reverse catfishing: uploading unflattering photos of yourself in an attempt to attract someone interested in your personality rather than your appearance.

The trend was highlighted by Screenshot, and is something of an antithesis of catfishing, which involves posting fake photos before attempting to in some way scam people you match with.

reverse catfishing
Reverse catfishing has been trending on TikTok

Reverse catfishing seems to be gaining traction on TikTok, where the phrase as a hashtag has gained hundreds of thousands of views, often of endearingly unflattering photos.

As a trend, it sure beats online extortion.

Read next: Dating appdates: New MAGA and book lover matchmaking apps, plus small dogs mean dates

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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