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For Latinas, dating goes mobile

Everything is going mobile, so why not dating too?

Top dating sites like OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and Match.com have added mobile apps which allow their users to access their site’s features through theirsmartphone.

“If you start getting more than 10 to 20 percent of your users doing anything you have to pay attention,” says  Tai Lopez, CEO of DatingHype.com, who believes convenience is the main driver of mobile growth.

“There’s no signing in to a website,” says Vicky Barrios, 34, who is pursuing her PhD in developmental psychology and has used Match.com’s mobile app. “It’s the easiest access and the best way to read all of your messages and respond quickly.”

Match.com says around 30 percent of its traffic comes from mobile apps.

Barrios, says that she is a huge proponent of online dating but mobile apps make the process easier for professionals who are on the go.

Sujeiry Gonzalez, 33, and author of Love Trips: A Collection of Relationship Stumbles, recently jumped into online dating and quickly moved to the mobile apps.

“I’m 33 and I’m single and it’s hard to meet men,” Gonzalez says. “I signed up during Thanksgiving which can be a lonely time when you’re single.”

She realized during the first week that she didn’t have the time to be on the computer all the time. “I would get 20 to 30 emails at a time and some websites don’t look the same on your phone, they’re not as user friendly,” she says. “Now I can see the winks or interests and see who’s online and I’m able to reply to emails instantly.”

Gonzalez uses the OkCupid and Plenty of Fish mobile apps but the services have yet to completely take off in the larger Hispanic market.

OkCupid says 7 percent of its users are Latino and Plenty of Fish says 9.3 percent are Hispanic.

“I think the Hispanic market has been a little slow to adopt online dating,” says Lopez who is based in Los Angeles. “Here, this is a large Mexican-American community, which is a little bit more conservative. I think the adoption rate has lagged behind a tad bit but we see it coming, which is kind of exciting.”

Lopez adds that location-based mobile services have worked in the gay market, with Grindr, which is a 100 percent mobile site, but that it hasn’t transferred over to the general market because women don’t like the idea of men knowing where they are at all times.

“Partly because of privacy, a lot of girls out there are not super excited about a guy knowing they are 20 feet away,” he says.

Barrios, who calls herself a “relationship activist,” says the mobile dating experience is here to stay.

“The fundamental thing that every human wants is to be loved,” she says.


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