A new survey conducted by Travel Gay Asia and Gay Star News has found many users of gay dating apps have had serious issues with their use.
Fifty-six per cent report encountering ‘fake photos or misleading profiles descriptions’.
Thirty-five per cent said they had experienced ‘abuse and harassment online’, while one in five (21%) reported experiences in which their ‘sexual limits were not respected by their date’.
Five per cent of users reported being physically threatened whilst on a date arranged via an app.
The survey was answered by just over 2,000 respondents and was conducted online in early November.
Much of the survey was to ascertain which apps were being used around the world and how satisfied people were with their functionality.
Of those polled, Grindr was the most popular gay dating app, with 74% of responders saying they used it. Following Grindr, the top five were composed of Scruff (31% of responders said they used it), Hornet (27%), Tinder (27%) and Jack’d (24%).
It’s worth noting that more than 50% of app users use more than one app with 86% of both Scruff and Hornet users saying they also use Grindr.
Only a small percentage of users in the survey actually pay to use a their chosen dating app. By paying, users typically gain additional functionality and unlimited usage.
Twenty per cent of Scruff and Grindr users reported said they paid to use the app (the highest among the apps mentioned), while 80% said they used the free versions of the those apps.
Most dating app users reported that they were successful in meeting guys they met through their app use.
At the forefront is Grindr, with 31% of users reporting that the app got them at least one date a month. This was followed by Growlr (29% got a date per month), Planet Romeo (25%), Scruff and Hornet (22%).
Check out Travel Gay Asia for more detailed results.
Gay networking apps have become business. Earlier this year, Grindr sold a 60% stake in its business to a China-based gaming company for $93million.
Last week it was announced that Hornet, which is particularly popular in Asia, had raised $8million in investment funding from Ventech China.
Nigel Phillips, Managing Director of Travel Gay Asia said in a statement: ‘Gay dating apps have transformed the lives of millions of people around the world in a very positive way, particularly in countries where being gay is still illegal or not socially accepted.
‘However, the survey highlights issues that need to be tackled by app providers and the caution users should take when meeting someone for the first time.’
Last year, a survey by grabhim.net of 4,000 gay and bisexual men found that three in ten admitted lying about their age, height or weight on their app profiles.
Issues around the safety of meeting guys via dating apps have featured prominently in the UK press in recent weeks, following three high-profile murder cases.
Stephen Port, 41, of Barking, Essex, was found guilty last week of murdering four young men he met via dating apps.
Earlier this month, Londoner Stefano Brizzi was found guilty of murdering policeman Gordon Semple after meeting him on Grindr, while an 18-year-old, Ben Bamford, was found guilty of murdering a 52-year-old Paul Jeffries, after first making his acquaintance via Grindr when he was 15.
Tris Reid-Smith, Editor of Gay Star News said, ‘A few individuals have amassed large personal fortunes from the gay dating business. I’ve got no problem with that – I admire their ingenuity and entrepreneurship.
‘But I would like to see them do more to protect users. I’m not saying that’s easy. But it is possible. And in a month when we’ve seen court verdicts on the murders of six gay men in the UK linked to one app, I don’t think we should shrug off the scale of this problem.
‘Most people get a positive experience from these apps, as the survey shows. If you are having fun, keep going. But if you’re not, know that there is help out there and go get it. These apps can throw up problems with sexual health, personal safety, privacy, self-esteem and more – but you don’t have to deal with them on your own.’