Not a fan of Trump? Cant stand country music? Think selfie culture is the worst? Wouldnt go camping if someone paid you? Bonding over the things you hate can be more powerful than bonding over what you like, studies have shown. Now, a new dating app called Hater can help you find better matches by focusing on those things you and others mutually detest.
Yes, an app that connects you with people who hate the same things sounds like something of a joke.
In fact, thats how it started.
Explains Hater founder and CEOBrendan Alper, the idea for the app came up around a year and a half ago, but he hadnt envisioned it as being a real product at the time.
Instead, Alper, aformer Goldman Sachs employee, had left the banking biz to pursue his passion in writing comedy. Haterwas originally going to be a part of an online comedy sketch he was planning to publish. But the more he talked about it, the more it seemed like the app might actually have real appeal, he says.
It was just in the idea phase. At first I told some people about it mostly people I was writing comedy with, says Alper. Everyone had the same reaction: That makes so much sense. Its really funny, but why doesnt that exist?, he explains. It really got my gears turning.
I had always wanted to start my own companyIt was kind of this viral idea, but it needed a product that could back it up, Alper adds.
While Haters focus is on dislikes, its not the only dating apptrying to suss out more informationabout its users personalities as a means of differentiating itself from the hot-or-not, photo-driven apps like Tinder and Bumble.
OK Cupid, for example, has regularly featured Q&As for its users, which are used for matching purposes. And these will be given more prominence in the apps redesign. Meanwhile, Hinge recently pivoted to better emphasize peoples storiesby requiring its users answer questions about their favorite things, past experiences and other interests.
Hater, on the other hand, kicks off not by showcasing a stream of peoples photos, but rather a series of topics to weigh in on. There are now around3,000topics available in the app, with more added on a continual basis. You swipe on the topicsin order to like, dislike, love or hate them, depending on how strongly you feel about the subject.
Items you dislike or hate are given more weight in Haters matching algorithms, the founder notes.
Some of the topics are truly personality-defining, like whether youre a fan of a particular singer or activity. But others still seem a little off.
Like, how do you answer if you hateHBOs Girls? Sure, we generally hate it now, but thefirst season was not as terrible, right? And doeshating that you have to payfor extra guacamole make you sound cheap? Is there really not a singlereality TV show that you enjoy (after all, doesnt this category include cooking, home makeover and travel shows, too, not just real housewives and Kardashians?) And who in their right mind would say they like airplane seats? (Yes, these all real questions on todays Hater.)
In other words, some of the items are too broad, while others wouldrequire more nuanced responses.Thatmeans the appmay fail to find that certain someone who passionately hates on the same niche topics you do. These are thingsthat could be addressed in time, though. If the app allowed users to create their own topics, or if it let you drill down into topics by category, you may better find your truehatin-on-the-same-stuff soul mate.
Alper says these sorts of changes are on the roadmap, too. While the app will moderate user-submitted items for inappropriate content or abuse, if it goes that route, he does see a way for the app to leverage ideas from the community in the future.
In addition, Alper wants to expand Hater beyond dating.
We can offer an experience thats more social and less about meeting strangers online, that would be able to grow more organically, he says. With dating apps, everyones there for the same reason it creates an unbelievable amount of pressure. In the real world, it doesnt work like that we want to be a place where everyone can interact, not just single people, Alper notes of the transition to social, planned for around 4 to 6 months out.
But today, the app is focused on finding matches. You can jump into asection to swipe on peoples photos, with the added benefit of seeing their hates with an extra tap. You also can message with your matches, or even play a Cards Against Humanity-type game with them. And you can edit your profile, which consists of Facebook-pulled photos and other basic information like your age and match preferences. (Adding a non-Facebook sign-up method is also on the to-do list.)
Thanks in part to its viral buzz, Hater has had a surprising number of sign-ups since its launch into beta in December. The app now has 310,000 users, and is averaging 30,000+ daily active users, with 1-day retention rates of 25-30 percent. Of course, its hard to tell what the app will look like when thehype wears off.
Alper is aware of this challenge, which is why hes planning the expansion to social, more Facebook ad tests and a partnership with Cosmo, which will publish stats pulled from the app. Brands are also talking to Hater about future integrations, which could see them being able to place their own items into the apps list, then analyze the results of who likes and hates those topics.
Hater will also use push notifications to pull in lapsed users by giving them the chance to weigh in on more timely questions. (It tested this in NY and LA following the Oscars, for instance.)
Given its quick climb the app is also nowbeing featured by Apple on the App Store Hater is attracting inbound interest from investors. The team is taking meetings with VCs and angels outside of its home base of Brooklyn, New York, as well as with locals.
For now, however,Hater has a full-time staff of four, including Berlin-based CTO Stefan Wirth, and is available only on iOS.