Illustration by Max Fleishman The new wave of online dating apps is right under your nose. When it comes to hookup apps, two platforms dominate the market for queer men: Launched in , Grindr quickly became the most successful app in the world for men seeking connection with other men—with more than 10 million users worldwide.
Meanwhile, the Scruff app boasts 8 million members. I am one of those users. But while these are the most popular options, they are far from the only apps out there. What sets it apart from the rest? The only problem is that to actually click on their profiles and talk to these alleged hotties, you have to pay for the premium version. Free users have to go fishing in the general pool. In order to view their entire face or bod , you have to tap the screen and wiggle the image up and down.
This allows for a much better spotlight than the overwhelming checkerboard menu of men with tiny profile thumbnails. Now, as a gay man at least, a session with the swipe reveals a much less veritable pool than it did a year or two ago. This, unfortunately, dims the appeal of Surge, known for being way too similar to Tindr.
Plus, being able to go incognito and chat with only your selected favorites filters any riff raff you may not want to come across. Hey, its immaculate five stars in the App Store must be indicative of some success or another. But you know the old saying when it comes to saving money: While the design is passable, what I miss is the ability to signal your interest to users you like without messaging them first. With this, one gets an experience with more options and no ads. But most curiously, it offers touch ID.
Others maintain that the new version freezes regularly. The app is primarily populated by guys who are likewise seeking older men, but if you can get over that, the platform does a lot of things very right. My favorite thing about DaddyHunt is that the browser—in which photos of men in your area are stacked like tiles on a chessboard—allows just three profiles per line.
That means each image is larger and easier to see without clicking on the photo first. Whereas Grindr is populated by headless torsos, DaddyHunt is surprisingly face pic-centric, which gives the community a warmer, friendlier vibe.
Aside from the mismarketing, my major complaint is something that any startup app is going to be dealing with: Given that DaddyHunt has a smaller user base than Grindr and Scruff, it means your options are limited, but growing.
The sleek browsers look nearly identical, lacking many of the banner ads that bog down other free apps, but where Hornet bests DH is quantity: You actually get a lot of bang for your buck with the free version of Hornet although upgrading to the paid version does allow you to see which users visited your profile. Screengrab via iTunes Be prepared for a more menacing interface to go along with the darker desires of the kink mindset, though.
Friend requests can be sent and accepted while scrolling through a newsfeed of YouTube videos that help humanize the kink community.