Despite the wave of positive reviews for dating app Tinder and the huge number of user successes - some 100 marriage proposals since September 2012 - feedback from friends tells a different story: one where people misuse the app and refuse to take it seriously, with only a handful securing (mainly future-less) dates or hook-ups.
But when I put these (presumed revelations) to Tinder's co-founder Justin Mateen, who met his own girlfriend through the app six months ago, he batted them off cool as a cucumber. It turns out Tinder met similar criticism in the US, while the app was still in its infancy.
Here is what he had to say...
Justin Mateen, co-founder of Tinder
Do people use Tinder seriously?
Many seem happy to interact with people through Tinder - whether that comes in the form of innocent chat or outrageous flirtation - but it seems that few are prepared to accept date offers, with hardly any ballsy enough to make the first move.
"It's not unusual that early adopters are hesitant to use the product in the way it was intended," says Justin. "But the stigma will go once there is social proof that Tinder works. Once users see friends going on dates or finding a girlfriend or boyfriend, all will change."
I can testify to Justin's claims. Since I signed up to Tinder - and started raving about it - plenty of single female friends have followed suit. And once more people start taking the plunge and going on real dates, that too will become commonplace. There clearly is safety in numbers.
He predicts that the UK, where most users are London-based, is about a month away from people finding valuable relationships through the app. "London is where the US was in January 2013," says Justin. "We're seeing a real correlation."
Since the app was launched in the US, there have been more than 100 marriage proposals. And now, with two million matches globally per day, it seems it's only a matter of time for London.
I hear some users misuse the app, clicking 'like' for people they are not physically attracted to only to tease them or lead them on. What are you doing about this?
"This kind of misuse isn't very common," says Justin. "It's quite an immature way to using the app and I doubt it will last. The small percentage of people who use the app in this way will soon get bored."
But if a user is misusing their account you can report them - just click on the right-hand side button of your message thread - and Tinder will investigate individual cases. And permanently block users if necessary.
Isn't judging people purely by their looks a bit superficial?
This initial focus on the exterior simply echoes the way the real world works, says Justin.
"The first thing you notice about someone is how they look, it says so much about a person," he says. "And it also determines whether you are drawn to them or not, and if you are you willing to engage."
Justin says that it is only after this initial point that people connect through commonalities, mutual friends and shared interests.
HERE'S MY TINDER VERDICT, ONE WEEK AFTER SIGNING UP
- It's easy to sign up (perfect for online dating virgins)
It's based on your Facebook profile, so no need to write a lengthy monologue describing your likes/dislikes/physical attributes while trying to remain funny and likeable.
The pictures are already there, as are your interests (based on pages you've liked) and your friends. This is all Tinder uses to build your profile - together with your first name, age and location (at any given time).
- You can weed out losers, creeps and those you have nothing in common with, before you waste time and money on a first date
You get to talk one-on-one from the comfort of your own home or that long bus journey or the stolen moments in the pub when your friend nips for a wee.
You can verify with friends you have in common (if any) whether the person on the receiving end of your flirtations is going to kidnap you, before you meet up.
Justin says there is a lot of profile matching going on backstage - If you've got 5000 friends, Tinder won't match you with someone who has just 52. For example. Which is a relief.
- It teaches you a lot about your type
After playing for just a short while, I found that I like beards (which I knew already), but dislike blondes.
Additional previously unknown information includes: men with brightly-coloured trousers make me wince, as do those who wear vests and post pictures of themselves jumping off things - be it ski-jumps or cliffs.
- There is no 'negative rejection'
Users are only matched when they both 'like' each other. So you're not really putting your heart on the line, and you're not going to get laughed at by anyone when you get snubbed. Because the nature of the app means you can't get snubbed.
- The novelty will soon wear off
It's fun for a while, but trawling through photographs gets boring.
- When you're fishing from the same pool as your friends, there's a chance you could all be chatting up the same people
(As my housemate and I have already discovered.)
- It makes you realise how generic everyone is (and how Instagrammed our lives are)
Generic man profile photos include: man with dog, man Djing, man doing impressive ski jump, man at festival wearing vest, man shirtless by pool, man in sunglasses
Generic women profile photos include (so I hear): woman hugging friends, woman with big grin, woman at festival, woman in fancy dress, woman in front of sunset, woman in sunglasses,
- It's addictive
And therefore time consuming. You can waste a lot of time on there.
Tinder is available to download now on the app store. Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on.
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