Tinder owner Match is suing Bumble over patents

Drama is heating up between the dating apps.

Tinder, which is owned by Match Group, is suing rival Bumble, alleging patent infringement and misuse of intellectual property.

The suit alleges that Bumble “copied Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise.”

It’sย complicated because Bumble was founded by CEO Whitney Wolfe, who was also a co-founder at Tinder. She wound up suing Tinder for sexual harassment.

Yet Match hasn’t let the history stop it from trying to buy hotter-than-hot Bumble anyway.ย As Axios’s Dan Primack pointed out, this lawsuit may actually try to force the hand for a deal.

(It wouldn’t be the first time a dating site sued another and then bought it. JDate did this with JSwipe.)

I have, um, tested out both Tinder and Bumble and they are similar. Both let you swipe on nearby users with limited information like photos, age, school and employer. And users can only chat if both opt-in.

However, Tinder has developed more of the reputation as a “hookup” app and Bumble doesn’t seem to have quite the same image, largely because it requires women to initiate the conversation, thus setting the tone.

We’ve reached out to the companies for comment.

from Social โ€“ TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/16/tinder-owner-match-is-suing-bumble-over-patents/
via Superb Summers


Suspicious likes lead to researcher lighting up a 22,000-strong botnet on Twitter

Botnets are fascinating to me. Who creates them? What are they for? And why doesn’t someone delete them? The answers are probably less interesting than I hope, but in the meantime I like to cheer when large populations of bots are exposed. That’s what security outfit F-Secure’s Andy Patel did this week after having his curiosity piqued by a handful of strange likes on Twitter .

Curious about the origin of this little cluster of random likes, which he just happened to see roll in one after another, he noticed that the accounts in question all looked… pretty fake. Cute girl avatar, weird truncated bio (“Waiting you”; “You love it harshly”), and a shortened URL which, on inspection, led to “adult dating” sites.

So it was a couple bots designed to lure users to scammy sites. Simple enough. But after seeing that there were a few more of the same type of bot among the followers and likes of these accounts, Patel decided to go a little further down the rabbit hole.

He made a script to scan through the sketchy accounts and find ones with similarly suspicious traits. It did so for a couple days, and… behold!

This fabulous visualization shows the 22,000 accounts the script had scraped when Patel stopped it. Each of those little dots is an account, and they exhibit an interesting pattern. Here’s a close-up:

As you can see, they’re organized in a sort of hierarchical fashion, a hub-and-spoke design where they all follow one central node, which is itself connected to other central nodes.

I picked a few at random to check and they all turned out to be exactly as expected. Racy profile pic, random retweets, a couple strange original ones, and the obligatory come-hither bio link (“Do you like it gently? Come in! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š”). Warning, they’re NSFW.

Patel continued his analysis and found that far from being some botnet-come-lately, some of these accounts โ€” and by some I mean thousands and thousands! โ€” are years old. A handful are about to hit a decade!

The most likely explanation is a slowly growing botnet owned and operated by a single entity that, in aggregate, drives enough traffic to justify itself โ€” yet doesn’t attract enough attention to get rolled up.

But on that account I’m troubled. Why is it that a single savvy security guy can uncover a giant botnet with, essentially, the work of an afternoon, but Twitter has failed to detect it for going on ten years? Considering how obvious bot spam like this is, and how easily a tool or script can be made that walks the connections and finds near-identical spurious accounts, one wonders how hard Twitter can actually be looking.

That said, I don’t want to be ungenerous. It’s a hard problem, and the company is also dealing with the thousands and thousands (maybe millions) that get created every day. And technically bots aren’t against the terms of service, although at some point they probably tip over into nuisance territory. I suppose we should be happy that the problem isn’t any worse than it is.

from Social โ€“ TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/16/suspicious-likes-lead-to-researcher-lighting-up-a-22000-strong-botnet-on-twitter/
via Superb Summers

Zoosk relaunches dating app Lively as a way to meet new people while playing trivia games

Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of trivia applications like HQ Trivia, dating app maker Zoosk has just released an experimental app that combines trivia with the potential for meeting someone new. The app is a relaunch and complete makeover of Zoosk’s Lively, which first debuted in July 2016 as a dating app that used video to tell stories, instead of static profile images.

The new version of Lively is nothing like its former namesake.

As Zoosk explains, the previous version of Lively’s group video chat app was fun, but people didn’t know how to connect and relate to one another using the video format. It felt awkward to start conversations, with no reason to be there besides wanting to date.

The company went back to the drawing board, so to speak, to think about what sort of experiences could bring people together. Trivia, naturally, came to mind.

Lively aims to reproduce the feeling that comes with competing at a bar trivia night. When you join, you’re placed in a group video chat team of two to four people. Together, the team works to answer a series of 12 questions while discussing the answers over video in real-time. When they finish the questions, they’ll be able to see how their scores compared with other teams.

The “dating” component to the app isn’t quite what you would expect. In fact, it’s less of a way to find a date for a night out, than it is to just make new friends. After the game wraps, you’ll have the option to continue chatting with the other players, if you choose. You can also add people as a friend, if you hit it off.

And when trivia isn’t in session – the games run twice daily at 3 PM and 7 PM PST – you can group video chat with others on Lively.

Because you’re not added to a team with nearby players, your ability to make friends who are also possible real-life dating prospects is decidedly limited. That’s something that Lively could change to support in time, if it’s able to grow its user base. But for now, it needs to match users with any live players in order to fill out its teams.

It’s understandable why it went this route, but it doesn’t lend itself well to meeting someone special – unless you’re open to meeting people anywhere (which some are), or are fine with just making new friends and seeing where that leads.

Unlike HQ Trivia, which features live streams with a host, Lively is just group video chat with a trivia component. That means it won’t be as challenging for Zoosk to operate, as it doesn’t have to worry with bandwidth issues and other costs of putting on a live game show. Also, because there are no prizes or payouts, you can join anytime during the 30-minute gaming session to be placed into a team and play along.

Lively is not the first app to support a group video chat interface where gameplay is an option. A number of video chat apps over the years have integrated games into their experience, including older apps like Tangoย orย Google+ Hangouts, Line, and more recently, Facebook Messenger. But none have integrated games for the purpose of facilitating new relationships.

Zoosk today has 38 million members, but wanted to find a way to reach a younger demographic, which is why it originally launched Lively. The app was the first product to emerge from Zoosk’s in-house incubator, Zoosk Labs, where the company experiments with new ideas to expand its core business.

Whether or not Zoosk can turn trivia players into love connections remains to be seen, but it’s interesting how HQ Trivia’s success has led to this wider market full of knock-offs (e.g. Genius, Joyride, Cash Show, The Q, TopBuzz, Live Quiz, Live.me, Halftime Live!, Jam Music, etc.) and other tweaks that follow its idea of live trivia games.

Lively is available on iOS only for now.

from Social โ€“ TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/16/zoosk-relaunches-dating-app-lively-as-a-way-to-meet-new-people-while-playing-trivia-games/
via Superb Summers