When it comes to affairs of the heart – at a time when physical contact is off-limits – it’s time to get creative. And that is exactly what online dating platforms are doing: using video interaction as the date itself.
While it’s clear that dating is innovative, exciting, and evolving rapidly, how can website owners ensure they keep users safe?
Necessity breeds dating innovation
Video dating is nothing new. Well, in its current, interactive form, it’s brand new, but the use of video to introduce yourself to potential dating partners took off in the 1980s and 90s. But back then, agencies were involved. And like recruiters, it was their job to vet, interview and engineer love matches based on compatibility and common likes and dislikes.
However, fast forward 35 years, and how we interact has shifted significantly. And they keep innovating. Services like eHarmony, Tinder, and Bumble each offer their unique approach to self-service matchmaking. And while social media platforms (Facebook Dating, anyone?) have been dipping their toes into the dating pool for a while, nothing groundbreaking has taken the sector by storm.
Most industry insiders saw the use of video as an add-on to dating platforms, but no one was entirely sure how this would play out. And then, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Lockdowns are ensured internationally. Suddenly video took on a whole new role.
Communication evolved in one major direction – online video calls and meetings. Replacing face-to-face with face-to-screen encounters in a time of social distancing represents a huge cultural shift unimaginable in 2019.
Whether learning at home or working remotely, how we stay connected has changed significantly. Substituting in-person conversations with video meetings is now par for the course.
Despite the ensuing Zoom fatigue, being advised to stay at home has undoubtedly led to a spike in online dating. And with traditional dating venues no longer a COVID-safe option, video dating has organically risen to the forefront.
Why video dating?
While not every dating site or user engages with video dating yet, many are trying it out. But what are the benefits of video dating? If your online dating platform is not already providing that service, are your users missing out?
Compared with traditional online dating, video dating has some great benefits. The most obvious reason to choose video dating is that it enables participants to experience the social presence lacking in written communication. As a result, it can feel much more authentic than just exchanging messages or swiping photos.
With a video date, users have the experience of getting to know someone more slowly, finding out if they’re a good match in terms of personality, sense of humor, and other qualities. If you don’t click with someone, you’re more likely to find out sooner. Particularly at a time when in-person meetings are restricted, this is a huge advantage in terms of leaping to meet in person.
But swapping a bar or restaurant for a video meeting carries different risks for participants. And video dating poses tough new challenges for online dating platforms for content moderation, especially with live-stream dating with an interactive audience.
Dating live & in public
Dating in front of a live audience is nothing new. In the 1980s, television dating shows like ‘Blind Date’ in the UK experienced huge popularity. Contestants performed in front of a live studio audience and put themselves at the mercy of the general public – and the tabloid press.
In the 2010s, the television dating game show-style format was revived – though it followed a wider trend for ‘reality TV’ with dating shows such as ‘Love Island’ emerging and growing in popularity. However, the legacies of these shows have been tainted by a small number of poorly-vetted contestants – some even had previous convictions for sex offenses – suffering serious mental health conditions due to their appearance on the show.
Despite these warning signs, it seems inevitable that the trend for dating-related entertainment has been adopted by interactive online technologies – live stream dating. Often described as “speed dating in a public forum,” the trend for watching and participating in live video dating seems a logical extension of platforms like Twitch and TikTok.
But sites like MeetMe, Skout, and Tagged aren’t just a way of making connections – they’re also an opportunity for daters to generate revenue. Some platforms even provide users with the functionality to purchase virtual gifts with real monetary value.
Needless to say, these kinds of activities continue to raise questions about users’ authenticity: in terms of dating in pursuit of love. This is why, over the last decade, many industries have consciously moved towards authenticity – to build better brand trust. The dating industry is no different, especially since – despite exponential growth – there are still major retention and engagement issues.
Video offers that sense of authenticity, particularly as we’re now so accustomed to communicating with trusted friends and family via live video.
Dating also has universal appeal, even to people already in committed relationships. There is an undeniable voyeuristic aspect to watching a dating show or watching live-streamed daters. And, of course, there are inherent safety risks in that.
Like other interactive social technologies, the live stream dating trend carries its intrinsic dangers in terms of mental health and user experience. And just like any other interactive social media, users will always be there to make inappropriate comments and harass people.
That’s where content moderation comes into play.
Content moderation can support safer dating
One-to-one video dating and live stream dating is happening right now. Who knows where they will evolve?
Setting your brand apart in an already crowded dating industry is becoming more complicated in a time when social media technologies are rapidly evolving. How will you stay ahead of the curve and keep your users safe?
Of course, video moderation is not the only challenge you will face. The associated unwanted user-generated content that goes with running an online dating platform includes:
- Romance scams
- online harassment
- image quality
- underaged users
- escort promotion.
After all, brand trust means a better user experience. And a better user experience increases user lifetime value – and revenue.
On average, 1 in 10 dating profiles created is fake. Scammers and inappropriate content hurt your platform’s reliability. Left unanswered, undesirable content undermines user trust and can take a heavy toll on your acquisition and retention.
– but it does mean taking a leap in terms of your overall digital transformation strategy and adding AI and machine learning to your service.
With an all-in-one package from Besedo, you can get your content moderation in order across multiple areas. It’s built on over 20 years of experience and has manual video moderation capabilities.
You can now review play, pause, timestamp, and volume control videos. More importantly, you can delete videos that don’t meet your site’s standards for user-generated content.
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