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Dozens of platforms claim to help us find “the one”. Yet, there are two that dominate the worldwide dating games. You don’t have to go far to guess America’s favorite — Tinder. The app is single-handedly connecting most relationship-seekers in the US and Canada. Yet, when it comes to Europe, South America, and Asia — Tinder meets a strong contender.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at Badoo — the most popular dating app worldwide. While it’s yet to take over North America, the platform’s user base spans over 400 million people.
What is Badoo?
This post is an in-depth Badoo review — the assessment will cover the following facets:
- Affordability — how much does the app cost? How versatile are the subscription plans?
- Audience quality. Out of a tremendous number of accounts stated by official reports, how many users are real and active? Is there a risk to be threatened or catfished on Badoo?
- Interface. We will evaluate if the platform is easy to use, mobile-friendly, and has all the needed features to connect with potential dates freely.
- Security and privacy. Considering that hackers don’t shy away from using dating apps to transfer data and sell it on black markets, safety is crucial for platforms like Badoo. We will evaluate whether or not the website meets security standards.
- Odds of successful matching. You will find out how the platform contributes to forging a steady relationship between a matched couple.
After a thorough evaluation, I’ll give a grade that’ll be a mean average of its scores for each criterion.
Badoo has a wide user base in developing countries. As the average wages around the world vary, so does people’s readiness to invest in dating websites. To attract the highest number of users possible, Badoo created a flexible system of subscription plans and credit-based perks.
A free version includes most features needed to connect with a match:
- Viewing profiles;
- Uploading profile pictures.
There’s a two-message limit for contacting users you haven’t been matched with, so don’t be hasty when connecting with potential partners. As soon as a prospective partner matches you in return, you’ll be able to exchange as many texts as you want.
Credit-based features are supposed to help users forge connections without having to commit to a monthly subscription. You can use credits to unlock new perks:
- Be the first profile featured in search results;
- Unlock stickers and emojis for texts;
- Raise a two-message limit to 5;
- Notify a match when you’re active on the platform.
The cost of Badoo credits: 100 credits — $2.99; 550 credits — $9.99; 1 250 credits — $19.99; 2 750 credits — $39.99.
Subscription plans enhance Badoo dating experience. If a Badoo user is committed to the platform and uses it regularly to find dates, getting a recurring subscription with a number of advanced features might come in handy.
The list of subscription-based features:
- View the people who liked you;
- Browse Badoo in invisible mode;
- Chat with popular Badoo users directly;
- Make message the first one displayed in a partner’s inbox.
Badoo is agile in terms of the subscription duration. You’ll be able to choose a plan that fits your commitment to the platform.
Badoo subscription cost: daily subscription — $0.79/day; weekly — $3.99/week; monthly — $12.99/month; 3-month subscription — $24.99; 6-month — $34.99; lifetime subscription — $59.99.
With a versatile pricing policy, Badoo fills the bill of the affordable dating space. Here, you’re able to choose what features to pay for instead of investing in tools you will never use.
Audience quality: 3/5
To understand the way Badoo’s user base is dispersed, take a look at the website’s market share breakdown:
- North America — Tinder;
- South America — Badoo;
- Western Europe — Tinder;
- Eastern Europe — Badoo;
- Asia — Tinder;
- Middle East — Badoo;
- Africa — Badoo.
If you’re a North American, Asian, or a Western European dater, keep in mind that Badoo dating website doesn’t have the lead in the area. For other parts of the world, using the platform will be the best way to widen the match pool.
Number of fake accounts
As an answer to the question: “Whats Badoo”, you’ll likely hear people mention fake user profiles. In online daters community, you will hear about getting messages that look “too good to be true”. Experienced users have as much as determined emergent patterns that help flag fake profiles:
- Short messages with spelling errors and grammar mistakes;
- Jobs that have a positive public perception — civil engineer and others;
- Multilingual users — they are likely to be scammers who want to attract the most attention;
- Users who go on about upcoming business projects in private texts — they are likely to ask for financial help down the line.
According to Badoo reviews, the website users have little luck getting in touch with customer support. Given the fact that Badoo is a huge platform and is challenging to maintain, there’s no reason to chalk these cases off as individual.
Account verification policies
A few years ago, Badoo tightened the grip on account verification. Since 2016, a user might be randomly asked to take a picture repeating a given pose.
This way, the team of over 5000 moderators assesses the genuinity of accounts and the relevance of profile pictures. Badoo users will no longer be able to get away with an outdated selfie.
It will take time to verify millions of profiles. If you are not up to waiting, the website offers a filter that’ll show verified profiles only.
While Badoo has international dominance by a sheer number of users, the website is not fake-free. In 2016, it implemented photo verification as a way to fight catfishing and bots — in a few years, the change will likely result in a lower percentage of active fakes on the platform. As for now, be prepared to browse hundreds of profiles, keeping a vigilant eye on fakes.
After fully renovating the logo and page design, Badoo has become much nicer to look at. Until 2017, the website has become extremely cluttered with features, full of sidebars and drop-down lists, and, most importantly — increasingly more uncomfortable for mobile usage.
The good news was — the development team didn’t lack awareness of interface issues. When, to quote Badoo’s founder, the platform started looking like a “little Frankenstein”, the old look has been stripped down and replaced.
Let’s compare the “before” and “after”.
The interface fell in line with modern design trends — it’s sleek, minimalistic, and no-nonsense. It takes a few clicks to set up a profile and start browsing through matches. Also, Badoo is ad-free, with no heavy imagery and over-the-top pictures of zoomed naked bodies.
After having explored Badoo for a while, you will not get lost on the platform. Certain navigation aspects are quite noteworthy:
- Guided registration. The platform instructs users through every step of setting up a profile. You will need no video guides or online tutorials to get started.
- Elaborate filtering. There are more than a few criteria that help users sort through profiles — preferred age, gender, location, expectations from a connection (friendship, romantic involvement, and so on), and distance from a user.
- Card-based blocks. All the profiles are displayed in separate blocks that look like a sleek postcard. You can find the age, name, and location of a user on the search page along with the profile picture.
- Intuitive sidebars. The website has a wide main window where users view each other’s profiles and look for matches. There’s a sidebar on the left side of the screen as well — here, you see the list of matches and their activity status.
Bamboo is mobile-friendly. In fact, the app has more features than the website — there’s a “Bumped Into” feature that offers potential matches with people you crossed in the street. The platform is available both on iOS and Android.
Security and privacy: 3/5
In terms of security, Badoo has been over the place for a decade. Back in 2009, when a group of Cambridge researchers assessed privacy policies of most popular dating apps, Badoo got the lowest score. Things didn’t change for the better — the website has recently made headlines in Australia after a woman was repeatedly raped by a Badoo match.
Let’s examine some of the reasons related to Badoo’s safety issues.
- Popularity in zones with high crime rates. Badoo is a leading platform in Mexico and Colombia — both turbulent — as well as South Africa, the country with the highest rape rates. Naturally, maintaining high-level security is more challenging in some regions than others.
- Poor data protection. Back in 2013, Badoo was at the center of a major data breach. Hackers managed to lay their hands on over 112 million unique email addresses and got ahold of user’s data.
- Data mining. The tech community repeatedly blames Badoo developers for taking advantage of low privacy awareness. In exchange for advanced features, daters granted the platform access to their Facebook profiles. Badoo used the data to get more information on users as well as their social media contacts. Data mining is frowned upon in cybersecurity as it’s not fully consented and a user has no idea as to what the platform uses collected information for.
While things are still looking grim on the Badoo privacy front, the platform is actively taking steps towards creating a safer dating environment. Here’s what the development team has to show in the security field:
- Using AI to blur lewd images. Badoo has rolled out the Private Detector feature to ensure you don’t get an inappropriate text. As soon as a D or other over-the-top stuff is detected, the platform blurs the contents of the image immediately. The platform will also notify you if you received an inappropriate text.
- An on-demand selfie feature for female daters. After matching with the guy who looks like the right one, feel free to request a selfie from him. This way, you’ll be able to ensure there’s a real person on the other side of the screen.
- Using social media accounts for verification. A user needs to connect a Facebook or a different social profile to Badoo as proof of identity.
- Photo verification. The platform confirms the identity of users by asking them to take pictures. According to the official statistics, over 100,000 users verify their profiles every day.
- Video-in-profile. Users are encouraged to film short video clips with personality descriptions. Here, you can discuss your passions and hobbies or elaborate on the expectations from relationships.
Badoo is not in the clear yet on the security front. The platform is flooded with fakes, according to users. However, the efforts Badoo development team puts into improving security and privacy protections seems to be efficient and promising. In the long run, Badoo is likely to become a safe dating space.
Odds of successful matching: 2/5
Badoo online dating app stayed away from the swiping crazy. Instead, the platform committed to the searching features and improved it with advanced filters. Users have quite high odds of finding a stable partner on the Badoo dating service. Here’s why:
- A broad user base. By the rule of common sense, the more users the platform has, the higher the odds of matching successfully.
- Searching instead of swiping. You will be able to filter the matches by preferences instead of simply judging on what the platform caters. Badoo users have power in decision-making — so the odds of building a lasting connection increase by numbers.
- Location-based matching. On Badoo, you get to browse through users who live in the area. This way, there’s a better chance of scheduling a face-to-face date and moving the relationship to the next level.
- Chat without matching beforehand. While there’s an annoying two-message limit, a possibility to send even a small number of messages freely increases the chances of steering the relationship wheel more successfully.
- Recent safety improvements. Features like photo verification and on-demand selfies help users steer clear of fakes and invest time and effort in building a stable connection with a real partner.
Challenges in building connections
It’s not all peachy when it comes to matching odds at Badoo. There are hurdles that the website users have to put up with. A few examples:
- Low entry barrier. Badoo is free to use — everyone can create an account. As a result, there’s no “natural selection” of users. When it comes to paid-only apps, you can expect of meeting financially independent matches, with jobs and formed worldviews. On Badoo, there is no such filter — finding a responsible match takes time and experience.
- A high number of fake accounts. It has only been a short while since Badoo improved its security policy. Up to 2017, creating a fake profile was a breeze. As a result, be ready to get texts from fishy users and learn to distinguish the fakes from genuine users to avoid trouble.
Badoo is an active platform, that is continuously updated and improved. The popularity of the Badoo free dating site took a hit after the upbringing and sprouting growth of Tinder — yet, the platform is still going strong.
The odds of finding your next relationship here are not as high as you might think. Unfortunately, Badoo lacks science-based matching, yet, it doesn’t have the versatility and a no-commitment attitude of a hookup platform.
10 facts to know about Badoo
Looking at Badoo’s statistics is all it takes to know the platform is worth giving a try. Some of the numbers listed below are provided by the official website — thus, they might not be 100%-unbiased:
- The total number of users in 2019 — 418 million;
- The number of monthly active users — 60 million;
- The number of countries that use Badoo — 190;
- Supported languages — 47;
- The number of daily sign-ups on the platform — 300 000;
- Every day, users send 350 million messages;
- In 2018, the app created over 4 billion matches between users;
- More than 500 employees are handling Badoo’s maintenance;
- In 2019, the Badoo dating site, as well as the application, started using artificial intelligence.
Which dating website to choose: Badoo alternatives
Badoo is one of the most popular dating websites out there — yet, it’s not your only option. There are other platforms that, despite the lack of such a massive user base, have dozens of exclusive features to offer.
If you want to join a secure, modern, and easy-to-navigate dating space, Pure is the right pick. Here’s how the platform makes a cut above Badoo:
- Tight security. On Badoo, user profile data is stored for years. As a result, you can never be sure your personal information will not be used or leaked. On Pure, all profiles self-destruct in an hour after signing up. No one will have access to your data anymore — not even the platform founders.
- A legit user base. Pure is a paid platform though it offers a free trial. It means that a website user has to be committed to looking for a significant other. The odds of catfishing or dead-end chats are way lower on Pure.
- Most users are located in the United States. Unlike Badoo, Pure doesn’t have a worldwide user base. Most of the platform’s 300 000 users live in the US — as a result, dating pools have higher density. Ultimately, a smaller platform like Pure might find you a higher number of suitable matches than an established industry giant.
All things considered, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to dating platforms. There are a plethora of options for users with different relationship expectations, financial status, age, gender, or sexual orientation. As long as you’re committed to success in online dating and patient enough to test websites, it’ll take no time to come across the right platform.