SEATTLE, Jan. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Seattle Dating App (seattledatingapp.com@seattledating) launched on September 19, 2019 and swiftly connected thousands of single Seattleites. Building on this success, the Portland Dating App (portlanddatingapp.com@portlanddating) launched on January 23, 2020, becoming the #1 Trending Dating App on the Google Play Market its first week. Less than 45 days later, COVID-19 had captured the world's attention and inextricably altered modern dating.
"When the lockdowns started in March, activity on the apps spiked," said Ben Mussi, Founder. "Over 5,000 users signed our Safer Dating Pledge that month, volunteering to refrain from meeting their matches in-person and to get creative with new dating approaches. We committed to engaging our users in a focused dialog about improvements they wanted in the apps to better navigate the lockdowns as a community."
In the following months, the apps introduced a host of new features designed to more readily connect local singles by lowering barriers to communicating. The most popular feature became the Introduction Button that allows people to exchange messages before matching. Since implementing the new feature during the summer of 2020, the apps have facilitated 35,000 Introductions, leading to more than 20,000 people matching around the Pacific Northwest. In total, 6 million swipes on the apps have generated over 200,000 chats amongst more than 50,000 people who have already matched.
Another advancement came when the apps partnered with dating coach Shantelle Canzanese (date-struck.com@datestruck) to offer free 20 minute consultations. A first for dating apps, these free dating coach consultations equip users with personalized profile suggestions, expert advice for simplifying the complex world of modern dating, and an introduction to the many services Shantelle offers to help singles date smarter and more successfully. "Teaming up with an expert like Shantelle was a no-brainer. Singles have become much more intentional about dating during COVID. When people have better profiles, they tend to enjoy higher-quality matches," said Mussi.
Adapting quickly to feedback is nothing new for the Seattle Dating App and the Portland Dating App. Every feature has been brainstormed and voted on by local singles on social media platforms to continuously improve the apps through user-generated ideas. "We implement a new feature when nearly everyone wants it. For example, 96% of our users voted for schedule-based matching so finding a date on your day off is much easier. We released more than a dozen similar feature updates throughout COVID in 2020 to help more locals connect."
The efforts are paying off for some lucky singles. A former app user, Christina, wrote to the apps in October to say, "Please remove my profile. I met a great guy from the app about a month ago. We're so thankful to have met during these crazy times. Thanks!"