Ciao Date: When Tinder awkwardly met Uber

Thomas Wellburn
April 21, 2016

As a bit of a latecomer to Tinder, I never really got what all the bravado was about until recently. Ciao Date is a new contender in the world of dating apps that tries to bring people together in a pretty unique way… But we’d argue that it still has a way to go before things can get ‘long term’.

You see, Tinder is not just a success story because humans are filthy creatures who want to joust / be jousted at any opportunity… It’s also incredibly simple. The swiping mechanic came about during the early days of web games such as Hot or Not and it’s lasted because we don’t want unnecessary hoops that postpone the inevitable. Dating apps work best when they’re simple, which is why my short time with Ciao Date felt a bit disjointed.

The application seems to focus more on the social aspect of dating and where to take your perfect date. Before you even begin, you’ll have to answer the incredibly difficult question of: am I hosting a date, or am I being taken for one? Maybe you enjoy both? For me, the obvious choice was to be taken on a date. As a male, I figured this would severely cripple my chances… But any chance for a free meal when you’re on the breadline is welcome change from eating stray gum off the pavement. Creating a profile was pretty straightforward and the amount of information I needed to input was surprisingly slim. A short bio and six images is your main point of call, plus five main categories that you can highlight to show your dating interests.

After this, you’re taken a world map that sort of feels like Uber for dating. You can see various peoples locations (or potential dating venues, I really couldn’t tell); then it’s a simple case of clicking on them to find out more information. You’ll see things such as their dating budget and when they’re available. For a normal guy like myself, seeing the amount of five star budget requirements made me wince considerably. Yes, I can probably buy you a steak… But it will be a Steak Bake. And it won’t even be from Gregg’s. It’ll be from dodgy Dave’s shop round the corner who spends most of his time on the roof gunning down pigeons to pass off as meat. You’ll also see which of the five main dating categories they’re interested in, so you can decide if your proposed date measures up.

Showing your interest in somebody is done via nudging, which is the equivalent of a like on Tinder. The chat menu looks surprisingly similar to Tinder, to the point where you could even do a double take and think you’ve switched apps by mistake. The basic conversations also go much the same: once you both have a mutual nudge for each other, you’ll make terrible small-talk before arranging a meetup… Except that didn’t happen with me at all. Zero matches, perhaps because the app still only has 1000-5000 downloads on the Play Store. Perhaps because my cat pictures are not on point enough. Who knows?

Ciao Date definitely has potential. It puts a nice spin on the usual social dating paradigm by offering a deeper experience and much more customization. It seems like they’re going for the comprehensive in-app dating experience, where everything can be sorted and saved for convenience. For those who desire the ability to really calculate and monitor their dating experiences, it could be the perfect application. For those who want a casual hookup, we know where you’ll be heading…


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