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New dating app allows users to video chat with potential matches

Arielle Bader | Assistant Photo Editor
A new D.C.-based dating app allows users to video chat with their potential matches.

A D.C.-based dating app launched last Thursday allows users to video chat with their potential matches.

Spottle goes live on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 to 9:15 p.m., allowing users to spin a virtual bottle on the app and enter a 30-second video chat with the person the bottle lands on. Creators of the app said the game fosters a more genuine connection between potential couples than messaging-based dating apps by setting up face-to-face conversations.

Before users play, they have the option to preference the gender, age and location of potential matches they want to land on. Users have a five-second buffer window where they are given an icebreaker question like “Tell me about your perfect date” or “What do you think about Trump?” Players can also use the five seconds to cancel the video chat.

After the conversation, users can “kiss” the person by selecting the option on the app. If both people select “kiss,” they match and can continue communicating with more video chats or through a messaging section of the app.

Max Rosenberg, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Spottle, said the app is an easier way to talk with random people than heading to a bar but “more genuine” than messaging people on Tinder because users can see and hear the person they talk with. He said video chats may seem nerve-wracking at first, but the conversation eliminates situations where two people text each other for weeks but lack a connection once they finally meet.

“We’re trying to combat catfishing culture in a lot of ways, and when I say that, I’m not specifically talking about a 60-year-old man who is pretending to be a 23-year-old girl,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said other dating apps give people an outlet to boost their ego by getting matches and likes, but Spottle users need to talk and see one another before they can match.

“Our users are people that are actually interested in meeting other people,” Rosenberg said. “They’re not just on there looking to get matches – that’s the whole point of this. We want to facilitate real relationships, real interactions, and the other apps don’t do a great job of that.”

Another feature of the app is called a “direct hit,” which allows users to use coins they either buy or win for free to choose someone “around the bottle” to chat with. Users can see the photo, first name, age and location of individuals who enter the session.

Each of the two spin-the-bottle rounds on Thursday and Saturday lasts 15 minutes. Rosenberg said the 15-minute rounds ensure potential users have enough time to enter the app and play.

“The app does not work if some people want to play at 6 and some people want to play at 9, so that’s why we gave a 15-minute window,” he said. “Everyone gets in at the same time, and it gives you the best chance of finding quality matches.”

Spottle also has facial recognition features. If there is no face on a screen, the entire image will be blurred, and users can also report others who use the app.

“Safety is a huge thing for us,” Rosenberg said. “We want people to really want to meet in real life, but we don’t want them to be worried that they don’t know who they’re meeting.”

Rosenberg said Spottle will add more live spin-the-bottle games in the future after receiving feedback from users. The first live game took place Thursday evening, and Rosenberg said his friends and family participated and offered feedback about their experiences on the app.

“We designed it based on what we thought would be good, and that’s a good start, but the best way to build an app that the masses really like is to continually get feedback,” Rosenberg said. “We haven’t had thousands of users on it yet, but the users are growing and the feedback has been really positive so far.”

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