Online dating services are not a novelty these days with quite a range of websites providing their help to those looking for different sorts of relationships. However, if you take a closer look at what the companies have to offer in this heart-shaped web industry, you will come across the same pattern: user profiles, pictures, message fields and pretty often a necessity to pay to get a membership which enables communication.
Even though finding a long-term relationship and even a lifetime partner thanks to the virtual web service has long entered our reality, there are lots of flaws in this sphere. Not mentioning scams and harassment that people on the site can get exposed to, such obvious imperfections as female users being flooded with emails, fake profile pictures, lack of the possibility to see a person live, not enough privacy - discourage people from using dating websites.
Is there going to be any change in this popular type of social service? And the answer is: Yes, in fact it’s already there!
Instamour is a mobile app. By looking at it’s name you can easily guess what the story is all about: instant + amour (French well-known word for love). A love version of Instagram? Almost there!
Instamour is indeed a dating app whose main point is to breathe a new life into the world of online dates. The essential difference between all those existing services and Instamour is that it cares about users so much as to eliminate all the disadvantages described above! Positive user experience is of the highest importance for these guys and video-profiles-only is a tool to make it possible.
Apart from video profiles, Instamour includes live video chat, instant chat, virtual phone calls, communication only with the desired people (all the secret here lies in the "Heart" feature - a magic wand for an online date made possible only when pushed by both parties). All in all it definitely looks interesting and new! That’s why we couldn’t miss a chance to have a little talk with Instamour founder Jason Sherman.
Me: What was your main idea when you made up your mind to create Instamour?
Jason: I’ve been single my whole life and for the last 15 years I’ve been using dating websites. There were many problems I had to deal with, like a girl’s profile was one thing and she was something else in person. So I would always try to ask: Can we use skype video chat right now so I could see what you look like? But most women are hesistant to give out their phone numbers let alone their Skype ID.
I decided to create Instamour as I was tired of fake profiles and frustrated with all those websites, which are all the same thing over and over again.
Our main idea was to create an app for people who are serious about finding a relationship.
Me: Since the dating websites that have pictures and text don’t seem to cut it anymore in this world of technology, what do you see as the future of online dating?
Jason: I think that what we have is really the future! To be able to talk to someone before you meet in person is so much better. You don’t want to go on a date with a person you don’t like and a video chat is the only way to make sure this unwanted date does not happen.
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Me: The fact that Instamour only lets people talk if they expressed interest in each other is a unique feature of this app but at the same time may cause some complaints with people who failed to find enough matches. How are you going to tackle this difficulty?
Jason: We are actually working on that now. We constantly check the videos people create to avoid issues in that respect. For a small fee, in our next version we will be adding a feature to allow members to send a short message if they like someone without having to push their heart. We try to teach our users what to do to be successful in getting a match and not violating our rules. The biggest challenge is to teach people how to use the app properly.
Me: What happens when a couple finds each other? Do they keep communicating on Instamour? Have you thought about how to make user interaction within the app last longer?
Jason: When the couples have a video chat and spend a good time on the app then they could meet in person. You can’t stop them from taking things offline and sometimes you can’t get them back to the app. What we are thinking of doing is adding restaurants’ videos to the app so that you and your boyfriend can watch a video and decide if you want to go to this restaurant. You will then be able to check in, get a discount, make a reservation, or even buy tickets to a concert. And that’s how you can get people to continue using the app. But, of course, the main idea is to find a partner.
Me: What methods do you currently use to gain new users?
Jason: Right now we host singles events, look for large events that we can co-sponsor, like college concerts, for example. We have been getting on TV programs, news publications, and we create funny or relevant graphics for Instagram. One of our biggest things is shooting funny or informative videos that promote our product. We are also very big into social media and have quite a following of people who look for advice or relevant articles from our team.
Me: Video filters, profile picture borders, sticker packs in the videos or instant messages, being able to buy gifts for other members - is what you get if you upgrade, right?
Jason: Yes, when we finish the next version, it’s going to include those features. For now the app is completely free and will continue to be free, the upgrade is optional.
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Me: What is ahead of Instamour? Are you looking into a web version?
Jason: We do have a web version but that’s only for us to use on the back end for monitoring. It’s a combination of Pinterest and Twitter with some great analytics thrown in for good measure. If we have a website it can be open for potential hacking of videos. We are trying to protect all the users, especially women, so that nobody could steal their videos and upload them on some other site.
What’s ahead? To have a lot of new features and really solidify our current apps functionality. We really want to push this out to everybody who is tired of flirting, dating, and ultimately meeting the wrong people. We try to make sure that users who want to have a relationship post videos, chat, get to know people. We are trying to be the go-to app when you truly are serious about meeting someone.
Me: What was the most important lesson you’ve learned being in charge of the Instamour production process?
Jason: The most important thing for an idea that has potential is to show your passion, your beliefs to your team, and your investors. You have an idea and you’ve got to put it out there, you have to believe in it, care about it. It has to be almost like a baby, helping it grow up. The most important thing I learned is how to do that with the people that I work with.
We have roughly 10 people on our team and I was able to bring them on board because of my passion and belief, but also because of the fact that Instamour is such a unique idea. Also it’s really important to show your appreciation to your team, and to be thankful for their work.
Me: And that’s an absolutely the perfect approach. I hope Instamour becomes a breakthrough in the dating industry. Good luck to you guys! Jason, thanks for a wonderful talk!