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badoo logo
Web address
Commercial? free, but with a charge for higher prominence
Type of site Social networking service
Registration required
Available language(s) Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Ukraine, Spanish, Swedish, Slovak, Czech, Indonesian, Turkish, Hungarian, Hebrew
Owner 332 Agiou Andreou Street, "Patrician Chambers", 3035 Limassol, Cyprus.[1]
Alexa rank negative increase 157 (April 2014)[2]
Current status Active

Badoo is a dating-focused[3] social networking service, founded in 2006,[4] which uses controversial tactics to attract new users.[5][6] It is managed out of its Soho, London headquarters[7] but owned by a company based in Cyprus, which is ultimately owned by Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev.[1][8][9]

The site operates in 180 countries[10] and is most popular in Latin America, Spain, Italy and France.[11] Badoo ranks as the 136th most popular website in the world, according to Alexa Internet.[12]

However, Daniel Stuckey warns that, in certain cases, "the site sends messages to all email addresses it can find through your accounts, with minimal consent, promising that a message from you awaited them at the other end."[5]


Badoo was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev and launched in London in November 2006.[13]

In January 2008, the Russian investor Finam Capital paid US$30 million for a 10% stake in Badoo. The funding will be used to build Badoo in Russia, where the market for social networking is beginning to grow.[14] As of 2009, Finam now has 20% ownership of Badoo.[13]

In September 2011, The Economist published an article that explained how Badoo had a shot at becoming "one of Europe’s leading internet firms" and that Badoo seems to have discovered a large new market.[15] That month, Blendr, "powered by" Badoo, appeared in the iTunes app store.

According to its website FAQ, Badoo claims to employ over 200 people internationally.[16] In April 2011 Badoo was threatened by Facebook with an audit and potential removal if it didn't make its Facebook app less viral.[17] According to, during the week of January 11, Badoo was ranked 17th in growing Facebook apps.[18]

The official Badoo USA launch was on March 23, 2012 with Nick Cannon introducing the service in the US.[19]

In April 2012, the company entered into a marketing agreement with the site Hot or Not to display its members in the companies service.[20] It is unclear if that led to Hot or Not profiles becoming Badoo profiles, and if original Hot or Not contributors had given consent for their images to be resold.

On April 19, 2012, Badoo announced it had appointed long-time Google executive Benjamin Ling as Chief Operating Officer to push its mobile and web platforms and US growth.[21]

However, in October 2012, Badoo's COO Benjamin Ling left the company after a short tenure in the position.[22]

In May 2012, the company claimed in a press release it had exceeded 150 million registered users.[3]

Website & features[edit]

Badoo is a freemium service where the basic service is free for everyone but users have an option to pay for premium features. As soon as members sign up they can chat,[23] upload photos and videos. Users can see and contact people who live in their area using the 'People Nearby' feature[24] or in a different city or part of the world using the 'Search' feature.[24] Another free feature is the 'Encounters' game where users click a yes, no, or maybe option on other users' photos and if there is a match then the two users are notified.[25]

There are several premium services that users can pay to use including the "rise up" feature to promote oneself higher in the search results and so attract greater attention. Users can also pay to their your profile photo more widely visible across the site.[26] Users can also buy "Super Powers" to see more search results, who wants to meet them, and see which of their messages have been read.[27]

Deceptive bulk email[edit]

Badoo draws many users into its contact-scraping practices by offering them extra functionality in return. In a 2012 article, Daniel Stuckey writes: "What data will you give away to join the party? Will it be your Gmail account? Yahoo? Facebook? MSN? If you have a contact list somewhere on the web ... Badoo wants to source it ... and get your friends hooked too. The site sends messages to all email addresses it can find through your accounts, with minimal consent, promising that a message from you awaited them at the other end."[5] Badoo tells these people that they must join the website in order to see the promised "message". However, in truth, the "message" never existed at all.[6]. There have been no recorded complaints to the UK Data Protection Commissioner[28] .

Other criticism[edit]

Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported that numerous Badoo profiles have been created without people's consent, and that people have reported Badoo's actions to the police.[29] The same article states there are images of women in hospital just after giving birth, raising suspicions about whether one would willingly upload such images to a dating service.[29] It also states that Badoo may use several Facebook applications to automatically gather Facebook users' personal information.[29]

In a peer-reviewed study[30] conducted and published by Cambridge University in 2009, it was given the lowest score for privacy among 45 social networking sites examined.[31]


As of April 2011, Badoo is censored in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Techcrunch reports that as of January 2010, access to Badoo in Iran is blocked by the Iranian government.[32]


Badoo is a Freemium web site and generates income through a "Rise Up" feature which allows users to pay to have their profile given more prominence on the site for a limited time. In the end of 2007, it was reported that 20% of Badoo's then 22 million users accessed this function once a month.[33]


  1. ^ a b Badoo – Terms of Use Accessed August 2009.
  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c Stuckey, Daniel. "Badoo is an Enigma Wrapped in a Puzzle Wrapped in Spam". Motherboard. Vice Media. Retrieved 12 September 2013.  The writer adds later that he received a voicemail from his mother: "I got this thing on my email… it said, 'Daniel is trying to send you a message through Badoo' and I don't know if it's legit or not."
  6. ^ a b Motherboard user "stfual". In a comment to: Stuckey, Daniel. "Badoo is an Enigma Wrapped in a Puzzle Wrapped in Spam". Motherboard. Vice Media. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Another Russian IPO?". Retrieved 2010-11-18.
  8. ^ Badoo Privacy Policy 28 Aug 2009.
  9. ^ How Badoo built a billion-pound social network... on sex by David Rowan, Wired Magazine, 6 April 11. Accessed April 2011.
  10. ^ Rooney, Ben (2012-01-24). "A Very Social Network". The Wall Street Journal. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  12. ^ "Alexa Internet report on Badoo". Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  13. ^ a b "Project Portfolio – Badoo". Finam Capital. 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  14. ^ Butcher, Mike (21 January 2008). "UK’s Badoo pulls $30m for Russian launch, ahead of a home push". Techcrunch. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  15. ^ "Social networking: A nightclub on your smartphone". The Economist. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Badoo". Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Calderon Inés, Sara January 11, 2012. “Spotify, Yahoo, Bing, Badoo and more on this week’s top 20 growing Facebook apps by DAU.”
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Frommer, Dan. "The Biggest Startup You've Never Heard Of Is About To Hit 108 Million Members". Business Insider. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Fromer, Dan. "The Biggest Startup You've Never Heard Of Is About To Hit 108 Million Members". Business Insider. 
  25. ^ Frommer, Dan. "The Biggest Startup You've Never Heard Of Is About To Hit 108 Million Members". 
  26. ^ Rowan, David. "How Badoo built a billion-pound social network... on sex". Wired. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  27. ^ Adam. "Badoo Social Networking". Affiliate Colony. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  28. ^ "Search UK ICO Website". 
  29. ^ a b c "Treffipalvelu varastaa profiilitiedot: Varo tätä sovellusta Facebookissa" (in Finnish). Iltalehti. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  30. ^ Bonneau, Joseph; Preibusch, Sören (2009), "The Privacy Jungle: On the Market for Privacy in Social Networks", WEIS '09: Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop on the Economics of Information Security. 
  31. ^ Social networks ‘failing users’ The Daily Telegraph 21 Jul 2009.
  32. ^ Butcher, Mike (January 5, 2010). "No flirting! Social network Badoo was banned in Iran". Techcrunch. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  33. ^ Elevator Pitch: Why Badoo wants to be the next word in social networking, Mark Sweney, The Guardian, December 24, 2007 , Accessed March 2008.

Further reading[edit]

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