Good news from the guys at Gaydar
Online dating specialists Gaydar have been helping gay guys to connect with each other for over 20 years.
We caught up with John Edwards, the Managing Director of Gaydar, to talk about some of the latest developments in the world of gay dating.
How has Gaydar been supporting its members during lock-down around the world?
Like all of our users, lock-down has given us some issues. Most social platforms have seen an increase in usage and a decrease in income – that’s also been our experience at Gaydar. Our first priority is to make sure we keep the lights on – or, in the case of an online platform, keep the servers going. We’ve beefed-up our infrastructure where needed to cover the extra demand.
To support our members, we’ve been making some of our VIP features free-of-charge to all users – things like adult pictures, and limits on profile views. We want to make sure that we’re helping our members stay connected during this difficult period.
We also took a close look at our development schedule. We’ve been working for some time on a complete rebuild of our chat system. Earlier this year, we completely threw out a rebuild we were working on because it just wasn’t good enough. We decided to take a different direction and have been rebuilding the chat system as a completely bespoke system. This gives us quite a few advantages – the biggest being that we can make it do whatever we want. We’re very close to getting the new web platform up and running – this will be closely followed by a chat app on Android and iOS. The new chat system will also have some automatic anti-spam features built in. We’re assuming that social distancing is going to be with us for quite some time, so online chat will be more important than ever.
Where are Gaydar members located?
Gaydar’s biggest concentration of members is in the UK. After that, our biggest communities of users is in English-speaking countries such as the US, Canada, Ireland, and Australia. In Europe we have a high concentration of members in Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Italy.
The platform lost language functionality during a rebuild back in 2017. We’ve realised that this was a mistake and have been working at bringing this functionality back. We now support Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, and French on the apps. Next on our list are German and Dutch.
In recent months, we’ve also seen an increase in our membership in India. This seems to be linked to the decriminalisation of homosexuality. We’re also seeing increases from countries in the Middle East.
Our recent improvements in functionality really seem to be working – our volume of daily registrations has doubled. There’s a lot more guys on Gaydar than there used to be.
Gaydar is the original when it comes to online dating, but the world has changed a lot in the past 20 years. What are some of the latest features that have been rolled out to Gaydar users?
One thing you learn in business in the 21st Century is that being there a long time is no guarantee of doing well. In recent years, we’ve seen many household names disappear.
Over the last year, we’ve been following a multi-stage plan. Stage one has been making sure the platform worked. There were some very poor aspects to the platform that needed improving – the chat system is the last of these to be put into place.
This year, we’ve introduced a lot of features to speed up the platform. We’ve also brought in micro-payments on the apps. Micro-payments allow users to purchase individual aspects of functionality – such as adult pictures, who’s viewed my profile, or read receipts – all for the price of less than a cup of coffee.
What are some of the features in the pipeline that will be rolled out in the months to come?
The new chat functionality is the big launch for us this year. This won’t just be a replication of the current system, we’ll be launching chat on mobile apps – these apps will link automatically to the main Gaydar app. In other words, when you’re in the Gaydar app, you’ll be able to open the chat app from the Gaydar app without having to log-in again.
We also plan to create a new level of membership, non-dating members that only use the chat rooms. These users will not be able to access all chat rooms but will be able to interact with existing Gaydar members in general chat rooms.
Obviously, functionality launch plans have been thrown up in the air a bit because of the current lock-down. But, if possible, we also want to relaunch the Gaydar Girls platform. We want to make sure we have a fully-inclusive platform for the LGBTQ community.
On a smaller scale, we’re looking at reintroducing the Friends feature which enables members who are partnered to link their profiles.
That’s the main list of things that we’re working on, but there’s lots of smaller functionality improvements also on their way.
What makes Gaydar different to all the other dating apps out there for gay guys?
Because of our history and the length of time we’ve been in the market, we feel we have a duty of care when it comes to Gaydar.
Gaydar lost its way in recent years – bringing it back from that point has been hard work.
It’s always been felt that the chat rooms gives us something a little different, enabling us to create more of a community. Obviously, the chat functionality has to be made better and expanded so we can see this grow.
This year, Gaydar is 21 years old. We need to continue to move with the times in order to be part of the future.
Gaydar remains gay-owned and gay-run – we think this is really important. We don’t want to become a large mindless corporation taking advantage of the LGBTQ community purely for commercial ends.
How’s your lock-down experience been?
I have a beard now, and I’ve certainly put on a few pounds. As a company, we’re all working remotely but have managed to keep our spirits up.
At the moment, we’re asking our members to share their lock-down experiences with us. It’s part of our ongoing conversation that we call How’s Your Gaydar?
I’m really interested in hearing from our members how they’re managing to get through lock-down, what they miss, and the first things they’re planning on doing when lock-down ends.
For me, I’m working a lot, but outside of work I’m doing a lot of DIY on the house. It’s hard work but very rewarding to actually achieve something positive. I miss singing. In an earlier life I used to be a professional singer – now, I work with a few choirs and teach the odd singing lesson. After lock-down, what I’m planning on doing first is to visit family and friends – some of whom are on their own and have been for some weeks.
Word of the day: Gaydar
How finely tuned is your Gaydar? Can you intuitively tell if someone that you meet is queer? Is having a Gaydar even a thing?
What is a Gaydar?
The Oxford Dictionary defines the term ‘Gaydar’ as: “The supposed ability of homosexuals to recognise one another by means of very slight indications.”
The origins of the word Gaydar aren’t particularly clear, but it’s a pretty ingenious mash-up of the words gay and radar that seems to have first appeared sometime in the late-80s and embedded itself into popular culture in the 90s.
The use of the term went next-level when Gaydar was adopted as the name of one of the first major online dating sites in 1999.
Is there any science to being able to tell if someone is gay?
Is there any truth to the concept of having a Gaydar? As queer people, do we have an inbuilt intuition? Are we able to interpret verbal and physical indicators in order to recognise what we have in common, even in the most closeted of situations?
Perhaps surprisingly, there’s been quite a bit of scientific study to try and assess whether you can tell if a person is LGBTQ just by what they outwardly present to the world. This type of research is generally categorised as Physiognomy.
Physiognomy was particularly popular in the 19th century, but then fell out of favour as it was frequently used for racist stereotyping. However, in recent years – with the rise of research into artificial intelligence – there’s been renewed interest in the field of Physiognomy and trying to determine what we can learn from the outward appearance of each other. However, no one has really been able to come up with any hard evidence about how to objectively determine if someone is gay.
Are all queers the same?
Making lighthearted jokes about whether or not someone has set off your Gaydar might seem like harmless fun, but it’s often unintentionally reinforcing a lot of the stereotypes that have been used against LGBTQ people.
We all know that the LGBTQ community is incredibly diverse – we come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, there’s lots of things that we have in common, but we definitely don’t all look the same.
Means Happy is part of the Gaydar family, so it’s a word that we love and that we’re proud to identify with. It feeds our X-Men fantasies that we’re somehow building a Cerebro machine to help connect and bring together LGBTQ people around the world.
Having a Gaydar isn’t about thinking that you might somehow know more about a person than they’re comfortable revealing. Gaydar is about feeling part of something that’s bigger than yourself. As LGBTQ people, we may all be different but we’re never alone.