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Five dating apps that are just the worst

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Feb. 16, 2015
Online dating used to be a way for shy, socially awkward people to meet their (shy, socially awkward) soulmates and begin relationships based on, well, more than just looks and sex. But when dating sites moved from the wired Internet to smartphones, well, let's just say things started to go downhill.

I know, I know — traditional dating involves a lot of give and take, money-wise. Carrot Dating is just cutting to the chase, right? I don't know about you, but putting the money on the table bluntly screams of an "arrangement," not a relationship. And, not surprisingly, the creator of Carrot Dating is also the creator of sugar daddy/sugar baby online dating website Seeking Arrangement.


Looks-based rating apps (think Tinder and Hot or Not) are...not great, unless you're looking for a quick, shallow hook-up. But FaceMatch(free), formerly known as HotScore, is somehow even worse

On the surface, FaceMatch looks like your typical Hot-or-Not type of app — it's a gamified dating app in which you're asked to choose the hotter of two people. Each "game" consists of five matches; once you're done "playing," you can go back and take a look at the people you thought were hot (or rather, hotter). And then you can message them.

Oh wait, no you can't. See, there's another level to FaceMatch: Social currency. According to creator Val Lefebvre, the big problem with dating apps today is that they don't separate the wheat from the chaff. And thus, super sexy hot people (such as myself — duh — and, apparently, Mr. Lefebvre) are stuck getting messages from less attractive people, and that's just...terrible, I guess. So, to fix this, Lefebvre has introduced the idea of social currency — the more "likes" your profile gets (that is, the more people who think you're hot), the more you can communicate with others on the site. If you have a highly ranked profile, you can message just about anyone you want. But if you have a low-ranked profile, well, you have to wait to be messaged by other people. 

There are a few obvious issues with this setup. First of all, it's completely biased toward conventionally attractive people. But life is already biased toward conventionally attractive people, so is it really a great idea to exacerbate this? Second, if two less attractive people like each other, but neither has enough social currency to start a conversation with the other, well...I guess they're just stuck in weird dating app limbo. And, you know, this whole concept is degrading.


Lulu (free) technically isn't a dating app — it's a researching app. But because stalking — er, researching — a guy online fits within the realm of online dating, I've decided to include it in this round up.

The premise of Lulu sounds somewhat noble: It's a private, anonymous, ladies-only network where women can "share their experiences" and "make smarter decisions." In other words, it's a shameless rating app where girls can rate guys they've known or dated with hashtags like #AlwaysPays and #ManChild. Women can also give guys scores (out of 10) for various categories, including style, humor, manners, ambition, and commitment. Again, the idea here is that women can "research" potential partners by, um, looking at other girls' experiences with said partners (to be fair, most of the reviews on the app appear to be from guys' friends, rather than one-night stands).


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