You want to spend Valentine’s Day staring longingly into your true love’s eyes over an overpriced set dinner. But you’ve exhausted all the possible swipes on Tinder and the thought of writing a hilarious-yet-uncontrived OKCupid profile fills you with dread. Where to turn to find your online Liebe?
If you fancy yourself (slightly) less superficial than your average Tinder user, try Israeli-founded dating app MISHU, launched in Berlin on January 16. You’re invited to swipe left or right on potential matches, but the swipes are interspersed with deep-reaching questions such as “Which cult film do you like best: The Big Lebowski or Pulp Fiction?” to help further pin down your soulmate. You can also add in yes-no questions of your own to find your match. Having successfully launched in Tel Aviv in early January, the team (which is partly based in Berlin) has high hopes for the Hauptstadt given the similarities between the two cities (see page 8). All they need now is a critical mass of users – and a promotional campaign is underway. The IOS-only app is free to download and use (though paid premium features will potentially be added in the future), with sign-up through Facebook.
Sticking with the Tinder model, Berlin/ Dresden app LOVOO lets you browse through users in your area in order to “chat, flirt and perhaps even find your true love.” Or your false one: last summer, prosecutors accused the Lovoo founders of placing fake profiles on the site to lure customers, leading to a police raid and hefty €1.2 million fine. It’s now the first dating app to publish a quarterly “Fake and Spam Transparency Report”. That hasn’t deterred its 2.5 million monthly German users, though, and when I signed in in a quiet corner of Prenzlauer Berg ( just looking!), the app revealed 33 people within a 1km radius, including some cuties. The app makes its money through paid ads within the stream, which were pretty frequent, and “VIP” features (from €11.99/month) with added benefits including a profile highlighter and a “ghost” mode to browse profiles unnoticed.
Ever the egoist, I tapped my own name and number into the app and found… nothing.
If you’d rather try your luck IRL but could use a digital stalking aid, OKEM (IOS/ German only) purports to help you find out whether that cute guy you were chatting up at the bar last night is as single as he claimed. The Kreuzberg-based “social check” app, was founded by students Lisa Maria Mino and Charlotte Marxen to tackle dating frustrations, after a disappointing third date on which Mino found out that her Romeo in disguise had a girlfriend all along! You’ll need to register by Facebook or phone verification, and then tap in the phone number of your crush. You can then register your relationship to that person (interested, flirting, dating, relationship), and then any subsequent user will see your findings – all without the permission or knowledge of your dearly intended. The potential for misuse is high, and it does open itself up to some tricky ethical questions, but in reality, there’s barely anyone using it anyway. Ever the egoist, I tapped my own name and number into the app and found… nothing.
With scroll-downs in place of swipes, the online magazine IM GEGENTEIL offers a slower-paced, more personal approach to the challenges of Berlin’s dating scene. Since 2013, founders Anni Kralisch-Pehlke and Jule Müller have posted weekly portraits of the city’s most eligible singles. The interviews, written in German but featuring native and non-native Berliners alike, give a deeper insight into the lives and likes of those looking for love than the standard “NONS, DTF, WLTM” intros found elsewhere. If you like what you see (the interviews are all accompanied by a series of chic photos of hopefuls in and around their home and hood), you can contact the object of your intentions through the site. It’s an approach which seems to work, with many of the charming candidates no longer on the market but “in love”, like the lovely Mandy or cutey Chris, both profiled in November and taken already! The site caters for girls and boys of all orientations, and with a growing team it’s been expanding to lovesick bachelors and bachelorettes throughout Germany. It’s free to apply – the duo makes money through partnerships and endorsements – and best of all, someone else does the laborious work of writing your profile.