The latest dating app attempting to dent Tinder’s market dominance is a French app with a video-centric interface seemingly inspired by TikTok and Instagram Stories.
Feels launched in April 2019 and now boasts 100,000 users. Its “anti-boring” aesthetic is aimed at 18 to 30-year olds, according to Feels founder and CEO, Daniel Cheaib, who bills it as an app that allows you to show personality in a richer way than the selfie and swipe-led Tinder.
The app allows users to upload photos with captions, videos and answers to quirky questions, forming a ‘story’ content series that’s often strikingly similar to an Instagram Story. Users can send reactions to content posted by other users based near them, to initiate conversations.
“I’ve never seen the ‘story’ as something that is really our key differentiator,” Cheaib told SEXTECHGUIDE. “I think stories are good because they make the most of your phone’s ability to display content, as it’s full screen, it’s vertical, it’s really done for mobile.”
Cheaib adds that Feels’ interface was designed to showcase content at its most visually striking, claiming he was not attempting to exploit the current social media trend of content stories.
The app, which gets an update approximately every 10 days in its early stages of development, is soon set to roll out a voice function. It will also soon be able to link to gif archive Giphy, and sticker functions are on the way.
The CEO added that by having more varied content than photo-led dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, using Feels was designed to be a fun experience rather than a focused date-search leading to “swipe-fatigue”.
Cheaib said: “You go on Feels, you see, ‘Ah, profiles are nice, and I’m having fun just flipping through the profiles’. And when I start a discussion it’s always fun because I’m reacting to specific content.”
Premium accounts on Feels are relatively expensive. In April 2021 it cost $9.49 a week (with discounts for buying monthly subscriptions) for a premium subscription, allowing profile boosts and the ability to return to profiles you’ve already scrolled through. Cheaib said the company was experimenting with price points, so costs were likely to change.
A test run of Feels demonstrated that building a content series with photos, videos and comments is more fun and expressive than simply uploading selfies to Tinder. Sadly, conducted in a fairly rural part of the UK, the test was a lonely experience. The app automatically widened the search parameters to reveal one other user, based in Dunkirk, on the north coast of France.
Indeed, unless you live in a densely-populated area of France, the chance of you meeting your next lover, friend or life partner on Feels is currently relatively low. Around 80 percent of the app’s users are based in France, but Cheaib has wider goals.
“The ambition is definitely not to be niche,” he said. “Our ambition is to replace Tinder usage. In the sense that we want to make it feel boring to try Feels then go back on Tinder.”