Which Dating App Is Your Perfect Love Match? CarpeDM’s 2023 Dating Apps Round-Up

We review popular online dating apps and services so you don’t have to. See how CarpeDM compares so you can choose the best fit for your dating needs.

Alright, you keep asking, and now we’re sharing! “What’s CarpeDM and how are y’all different from every other dating app?” We get it, CarpeDM is the new kid on the block and everyone wants to know how we got into the crowded online dating neighborhood. Well, we’re giving you all the details on our exclusive member-only black dating community (a real black love dating app) and how we square up against the dating apps and services you’ve grown to know (and hate).                                                      

CarpeDM is the most exclusive and best dating app for black singles. Learn more about our community and dating site for black professionals!

Let’s get started with a brief background on dating culture and answer some important questions like “WTF is going on with dating” and “how did dating apps for young professionals get here.” Dating apps have been mainstream for a while now and became popular way before the pandemic, but thanks to social anxiety and a call for safer dating culture, they’ve now become the primary way singles meet. By allowing people to conveniently form romantic connections from the comfort of their couches, dating apps have cemented their position as the cornerstone of contemporary dating.

While the increasing popularity of dating apps has opened the door for new players and competitors in the space, the plethora of options has created a very real problem for singles. You’ve heard of the paradox of choice, right? Having too many choices causes decision paralysis; which makes us less happy, less satisfied, and results in an inability to make decisions. Online dating services are expected to reach 441 million active users worldwide by the end of 2023. How are you supposed to find “the one” among the 441 million?! We blame Tinder and Hinge swipe culture for decision paralysis and we know you do, too.

Michelle Obama Swiping

Looking to learn more about how to hype yourself up before a date? Check out the CarpeDM blog page for all things dating and relationships.

So, why are you here and how can we help you find the best dating apps for black people?? Dating apps these days have us acting like kids running around in a (stale) candy shop. Dating for professionals (i.e. dating for grown-ups) is not the same as dating during your college years or your 20s. Dating in your 30s and beyond is completely different and requires intentionality because nobody has time to waste on nothing but the best. Though people can actually find love thanks to online dating, some are still skeptical and find it challenging to believe genuine connections can be made on a dating app. Finding the dating app or matchmaking service that best suits you among the many choices available doesn’t have to be that difficult. The trick is to first find an app that offers the right kind of experience based on your specific lifestyle and relationship needs. Second, go to the apps where people are most likely to be looking for a relationship with someone like you.

Now, buckle up, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about the best black dating apps and worst apps out there and why CarpeDM may be the right choice for you if you’re looking for a black professional dating service or the best place to meet black women.

Meet our team of professional matchmakers and schedule a free consultation today!

Round 1: Bumble

Pro: Women focused dating app

Con: Lack of vetting process

Bumble refers to itself as the best dating app for women who want to take charge of their dating lives. Unfortunately, some of us are tired of casual dating, having to take the lead, and wasting time on the wrong matches. Bumble’s key differentiator is that women make the first move, messaging their matches first. So if you’re the type of woman that likes to do the pursuing (or man looking to be pursued), this may just be the platform for you.

Bumble may be the go-to dating app for women, but the vetting process for joining the app is not thorough enough to guarantee you won’t end up on a date worthy of nightmares. While Bumble has an option for users to verify their profiles through selfie verification, that’s just not enough in our opinion. It’s one thing to verify using a selfie, it’s another to verify whether the person in that selfie really is who they purport to be. We need real receipts!

And knowing you’re not going out with Ted Bundy isn’t just important for women. We conducted male focus groups and 80% of the participants said having a match’s identity verified is most important to them when speaking to a match on a dating app or site. And for that, we got you, fellas. At CarpeDM, we conduct a thorough background check to verify every member’s identity.

As no shock to anyone, the participants in our black women dating focus groups overwhelmingly said knowing a match’s relevant criminal history is most important. For that, Bumble’s selfie verification, Google and Instagram “background checks” ain’t it ladies. Now, we realize we may be putting your designated, investigative best friend out of work but we gotta say we’re just better at this. It’s our job. Let us handle it.

Read more about why CarpeDM says it’s time to require background checks and identity verifications in online dating because Google and Instagram sleuthing ain’t it

We appreciate that our sisters over at Bumble advocate for women’s empowerment in online dating. But we believe that having a woman message first doesn’t make online dating any safer (nor really put the power in the woman’s hands). We’re taking it three steps further and implementing a service that actually contributes to a safer experience. This is especially important for our members because Black women face higher rates of intimate partner violence, rape, and homicide! That’s why protecting our community, by checking whether potential members have histories of violent behavior, is of the utmost importance!

By conducting a one-on-one interview process and working with our accredited background check partner, our team verifies every member’s identity and criminal history to ensure Black women can take the initiative to date while feeling safe during the process. For our team, it’s more than just about making the first move, it’s about providing a safe and curated community to empower Black women to make any move, first or otherwise.

Now, let’s talk about community. CarpeDM and Bumble build community in different ways. CarpeDM connects like-minded singles through curated events, aiming for meaningful romantic connections. Check out our events here!

CarpeDM Event

Bumble, on the other hand, builds community through Bumble Bizz for networking and Bumble Friends for making friends. Stop Bumbling around, sis. Take real control of your love-life and apply to CarpeDM, the best dating app for black women and for those looking to meet professional black singles like you.

Round 2: Hinge

Pro: Simple design and curated profiles

Con: Mainstream with potential of biased algorithm towards Black singles (the algorithm is not algorithm-ing for us)

Hinge is a dating app that aims to help users find lasting relationships, promoting itself as “The dating app designed to be deleted.” However, the more unvetted users a dating app has, the greater the chance of encountering apathetic users, serial ghosters, and potentially more dangerous individuals in the prospect pool. What we like about Hinge is that it  tries to enhance the profile experience by requiring responses to three questions for match compatibility.

On Hinge, users sign up and choose three questions as conversation starters. However, while some profiles have interesting responses, many people remain vague, leaving others unsure about their interests and true values. Although Hinge displays users who seem compatible based on signup information, it isn’t preventing catfishing, ghosting, and feeling disconnected in conversations. There’s only so much an algorithm alone can curate! Dating apps like Hinge just can’t match the personalized and highly curated approach provided by CarpeDM’s human matchmakers.

Despite Hinge’s growing user base, online dating success is not solely about numbers; it’s about finding a space where people genuinely want to connect (and with someone like you). This raises questions about whether Hinge’s approach and design may lead some users to ultimately delete the app because it doesn’t deliver the desired results.

A more significant drawback for mainstream daters, who rely on apps like Hinge, relates to the well-known bias in dating app algorithms that has a disproportionate negative impact on black singles. A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality revealed that while individuals from various ethnic backgrounds are generally more prone to experiencing rejection on dating apps, Black users face the highest likelihood of being turned down when seeking romantic connections online. The analysis revealed a distinct “penalization” faced by individuals of Black, Asian, and Hispanic backgrounds, with the effect being particularly pronounced for Black individuals. The data indicated that participants were 2.3 to 3.3 times less likely to swipe left on a Black person than a white person.

Stephen Curry Upset

Need more stats about racist dating app algorithms? Authors of “The Dating Divide” found that black women dating face the most racial and sexual discrimination on dating apps. They argue for race-blind dating apps — and the removal of filters for race and ethnicity. Most mainstream dating apps allow you to add your race and also indicate your race preference in a partner adding to the bias.

The authors of the book arguing for race-blind dating apps found that race-related “preference” filters on digital dating platforms help foster racist attitudes — especially toward black women. The authors found that racial filtering on dating apps exposed black women to more exclusion and rejection than white, Latina and Asian female daters. Black women were the most likely to be excluded from searches, as well as the most likely recipients of offensive messages. Hinge has an ethnicity filter but only unlocks it when you upgrade to its premium paid features. We’re not making any assumptions about bias in Hinge’s algorithm, however, if this research holds true, Hinge may not be the best dating app option for Black singles.  

Don't shoot the messenger

But let’s face it, Hinge has a certain allure that keeps singles coming back. It could be because it seems like the most promising option in a field of Tinder clones.. Or, maybe it’s just FOMO because it sure feels like everybody’s been on Hinge at some point in their dating journeys. How many times have you deleted and re-downloaded the app this summer? 👀  

At CarpeDM, we believe in prioritizing genuine, quality connections over sheer numbers. Our dating app does not have swiping and is focused on providing a no-nonsense experience that respects your time and values. It’s a carefully selected community designed by and for Black people because, let’s be honest, if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? #BlackLove

Round 3: The League

Pro: Smaller dating pool with higher quality users

Con: Expensive, elitist, and not for Black singles

Let’s talk about the dating app from Insecure. On The League, you get placed on a waitlist while its team reviews your profile and decides if you’re worthy of acceptance. It’s super selective and the waiting process can take months. You can get bumped up the waitlist by referring a friend or becoming a League member and paying for service. While breeding elite power couples can be an exciting concept for a novel, singles want to avoid exaggerated and anxiety-filled dating journeys.

While CarpeDM strives to provide the best quality when it comes to matches and matchmakers, our perspective on exclusivity and premium experience differs significantly from The League. CarpeDM is proud to be an exclusive dating community for black professionals. Our members-only dating approach guarantees that we provide a smooth experience to the people in our community and ensure our trusting members get all the perks a black matchmaker can offer.

So, while we share the selective approach (because you really don’t need to be interacting with everyone in the dating pool and it takes time to vet members), the similarity stops there. We encourage exclusivity for the sake of ensuring quality and safety, not for the sake of elitism. Dating while pursuing elitism as the end goal will only lead to superficiality and vanity in a relationship, and a relationship based on power or social status is a recipe for toxicity. In 2023, we’re throwing out toxic dating and relationships and focusing on genuine connections based on trust and respect.

Molly Insecure

What we like about The League is that members pay for a premium experience. Different membership levels give you access to various features. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. And on dating apps, if you’re riding the freemium wave, you’re probably not going to have much success because the apps are not incentivised to actually help you find a partner – you’re the product and how they make money! So, paying for an app or service not only incentivises results, it also provides a better user experience because you can filter out those who aren’t serious about dating. If someone is not willing to invest in a dating app, they might not be committed to finding a long term relationship. But at The League’s price tag of $300 a month, you might as well get yourself a professional matchmaker. At this price, you can afford one. Perhaps a black matchmaker who’s focused and experienced at organically connecting black professionals dating (wink).

Also, when or if you decide to use The League, you might be surprised by the lack of black or brown prospects at your fingertips. League users have shared that there’s absolutely no diversity on the app. In all seriousness let’s call The League what it is: Elite (white) Tinder. This may be because of how they vet members and move people through the waitlist; almost like an insider mentality, if your friend is already a member you’re more likely to get in. This means similar people will make up the member base. Or if the app consciously chooses to exclude applicants of various races, classes and other backgrounds.

I said what I said

The League’s lack of diversity contributes to the low engagement single Black men and women receive on these platforms and exacerbates our inability to find compatible partners. The League is not one of the best dating sites for black people. CarpeDM is designed with professional Black singles in mind. Our elevated dating experience removes the competition from “others,” provides a way for high quality Black single men and women to connect, and curates highly compatible matches for our members.

Round 4: Raya

Pro: Hyper-exclusive and private

Con: Prioritizes networking over dating

Another hyper-exclusive app on the market is Raya. Until recently, the app, and access to it, were a mystery to most people, but claims of celebrities actively using the app put its popularity on the rise.

The app has been around since 2015, and it started as a membership-based community for people in the entertainment industry. Nowadays, it offers friendships and networking opportunities for the ambitious type – from tech bros to real estate execs – and it’s reportedly popular among celebrity users, from Channing Tatum to Lizzo. But for people looking for a real romantic connection with someone they can build a long-lasting and genuine relationship with, celebrity status is irrelevant. So is networking! And does occupation matter when dating? Sure, it can matter. But as a community specifically designed for black professionals dating, CarpeDM is focused on helping singles find meaningful connections with people with the same values v. those with specific occupations or celebrity status.  

We did a quick Google search to understand the appeal of Raya because frankly we have yet to meet a couple who’ve met on the platform. According to Vida Select, Raya works like most dating apps: you create a profile, check out matches, and exchange messages. That’s really it. No bells and whistles. It’s like every other dating app except it’s elusive and for influencers, professionals, and celebrities. We do like that, like on CarpeDM, due to the exclusivity of its members, Raya has strict privacy guidelines. That means no screenshots which we also employ. Dating is sensitive and hard so let’s not further complicate it by making fun of dating profiles in the group chat.

Let’s dive into the profiles on Raya. Vida Select shared that a Raya profile consists of a slideshow of photos, IG info, and location. Again, that’s really it. It’s difficult to determine if someone shares the same values from the very limited user information Raya profiles include. While IG is a great resource to do some due diligence, it’s far from enough. People curate their IG profiles, and the curation is hardly a true representation of a person’s actual life.

Spitting facts

We also think some details are too important to not include in a dating profile, like religion and politics. There’s really no reason to entertain a match with completely different preferences if you desire someone with similar religious and political beliefs. And in the Black community, we know how important it is to be with someone who shares core beliefs and perspectives that impact us.

CarpeDM member profiles not only include religion and politics, but we take a step further and ask how important they are to you. Members answer a 50-point questionnaire. We know what ya’ll are thinking… 50 questions! Is that really necessary? We think so. Think about how many times you’ve gone on a date and realized within the first 5 minutes that it’s not someone you should’ve gone out with – now you are stuck with them for at least another hour. Trust us, knowing important information upfront will save you time, energy, and money!

While the prospect of dating a celebrity may be appealing, getting on an app like Raya does not guarantee you’ll get to date your favorite movie star. Name dropping the celebrities is just a marketing tactic that Raya uses to grab attention; in reality, it’s unlikely that Channing is going to be your match.

At CarpeDM, the best dating site for black professionals in the DC area, our primary focus is providing a personalized experience that will connect you with the best matches based on your needs, interests, and vision for your future. Our unique combination of tech and team is beautifully designed to enhance your life, and we’ve made sure every time we send you an alert, it’s time to meet someone amazing.

Round 5: Tawkify

Pro: A matchmaker curates dates

Con: Blind dates, lack of pricing transparency, and very limited pool of Black singles

In the same year that Tinder formed, a new matchmaking startup  decided to take a more traditional approach to dating that doesn’t rely on algorithms and technology. Tawkify is a matchmaking service where personal matchmakers set up clients on blind dates. You heard that right, blind dates! That means you won’t know what the person looks like before the date. This approach is intended to counter the superficiality often seen in online dating, where quick judgments are made based on a few photos and a profile bio. While it’s not all about looks, physical attraction does play a significant role in people’s decision-making process.

The key differences between CarpeDM and Tawkify’s matchmaking service lies in two areas:  how we match and who we match. We understand that people don’t want to spend money on awkward dates with strangers. It’s not worth the stress and a waste of time. That’s why CarpeDM lets our members gauge chemistry with a 5-10 minute video date within 72 hours of matching! You get to know your match from the comfort and safety of home before meeting in person. Members who agree to remain matched after their first video chat are able to take their relationship to the next level. And their matchmaker is there to support them every step of the way.

jada picket red talk table

When it comes to who we serve, it should be clear to you by now that CarpeDM specifically caters to black singles, offering a tailored and culturally sensitive experience to help them find compatible partners. CarpeDM understands and addresses unique challenges faced by black singles in the dating world. CarpeDM Members share with us that they’ve been turned away from matchmaking services, like Tawkify, because Tawkify doesn’t cater to or have sufficient black members to match them. This is especially true for black women dating. At CarpeDM, we believe matchmakers with cultural competence enhance the matchmaking experience. Sometimes the only way to be heard and understood is by working with a service that is designed with your needs in mind.

Meet Naza Shelley Founder of CarpeDM and Learn Why Matchmaking is the Future of Online Dating for Black Singles

We also believe in upfront, transparent pricing. We’ve heard from many singles that Tawify hides the ball on how much the service actually costs. It was even difficult for us to find their pricing, we had to rely on customer reviews/articles that state Tawkify charges over $500 per blind date with some of their premium packages exceeding $15,000! Now, we understand the value a dedicated matchmaker can bring but that’s a hefty price to pay for a blind date. Check out CarpeDM’s memberships and ask about our introductory pricing!

Round 6: BLK

Pro: Designed for Black singles

Con: No shade but it’s “Black Tinder”

By now, you may be asking where are all the black online dating sites and what’s the best dating apps for black people? We believe in going niche when it comes to dating! BLK is an option if you’re specifically looking for Black singles interested in casual dating. BLK, dubbed “Black Tinder,” is a more casual app. Like Tinder, swiping is BLK’s main feature. It’s no coincidence the BLK and Tinder are twinning with a similar look and feel as both apps have the same parent company.

BLK works very similarly to other swipe dating apps. BLK profiles have photos with basic information. Most profiles do not include any additional bio besides names, gender, and birth date. As with any swipe-based app, there’s a high chance of fake profiles. Reviews claim that the app has a large occurrence of spam accounts which is typical for swipe-based apps. Did you know around 1 in 10 online dating profiles is fake? What about that 60% of all online profiles are inactive? Or that 42% of dating profiles on apps like Tinder belong to people already in committed relationships? Sheesh! Check out our blog post about online dating stats and why dating apps should promote transparency and safety in online dating.

While CarpeDM and BLK are two melanin dating apps specifically for Black singles, we have significant differences. BLK is an option if you’re specifically looking for Black singles for casual dating. On the other hand, CarpeDM takes a curated approach (with personal matchmakers and detailed dating profiles) and is more focused on helping you find a serious and meaningful connection with “the one.” Sorry, BLK! A mission to promote #BlackLove is not quite the same as a mission to elevate #BlackWomen and cater a service to their needs.

Learn more about CarpeDM’s mission here.

2023 Dating Apps Round-Up Outcome: To swipe or not to swipe?

There are a lot of options to choose from so who’s the winner in your opinion? We may be a bit biased on which dating app is worth giving a try (and your money). But our goal and advice is simple. Consider your individual preferences and experiences when evaluating the pros and cons of any dating app. We’ve done our job and shared important information for you to consider, the rest is up to you. Dating is complicated; set boundaries and rest often, stay hydrated, and be kind to yourself in the process. We’re here when you’re ready to try something new!

At CarpeDM, a top black dating site, we take pride in offering a premium dating service, specifically tailored for black professionals. We understand the challenges of finding genuine black love and aim to provide a positive, cat and mouse relationship free experience throughout the dating process. Our dedicated team of professional matchmakers are here to support and guide you, ensuring a safe and seamless journey. If you’re looking for the top dating site for black professionals and information about black singles events near you, join our exclusive dating community for black professionals at CarpeDM.

Don’t be shy, apply today, and get the chance to meet someone amazing!

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