Grindr

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Grindr
GRINDR Logo Yellow.png
Initial release March 25, 2009; 7 years ago (2009-03-25)
Stable release
3.0.8 / September 20, 2016; 5 days ago (2016-09-20)
Operating system Apple iOS and Android
Type Geosocial networking
Website Grindr.com

Grindr is a geosocial networking application (or app) geared towards gay and bisexual men, designed to help such men meet other men in their area. In a 2014 article in the Independent, the founder of the app discusses its origin.[1] It runs on iOS and Android. Available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play, Grindr comes in both free and subscription-based versions (the latter called Grindr Xtra). The app makes use of mobile devices' geolocation, a feature of smart phones and other devices which allows users to locate other men who are nearby. This is accomplished through a user interface that displays a grid of representative photos of men, arranged from nearest to farthest away. Tapping on a picture will display a brief profile for that user, as well as the option to chat, send pictures, and share one's location.

Grindr was the first gay geosocial app to launch in the iTunes App Store and has since become the largest and most popular gay mobile app community in the world. It is currently available in 192 countries.[2][3]

History[edit]

Grindr was launched on March 25, 2009 by Nearby Buddy Finder, LLC.[4] Initially, cautious but positive remarks circulated through the gay blogosphere on sites such as Queerty[5] and Joe My God.[6] Though based in the United States, the app quickly gained worldwide popularity through word of mouth and various media outlets. On June 18, 2012, Grindr announced that it had officially hit 4 million users in 192 countries across the globe with 1.1 million users online on a daily basis.[7] Beyond the U.S. and Australia, founder Joel Simkhai has reported activity in countries as far as Iran, Iraq, Israel and Kazakhstan.[8] As of July 2015, the United States hosts the highest number of Grindr users with 2,660,472, while London topped the list of cities with 698,252.[9] In 2012, British users increased by 30,000 alone after the app was mentioned by Stephen Fry in 2009 on the popular TV show Top Gear.[10]

In January 2011, Grindr won the award for "Best Mobile Dating App" at the iDate Awards 2011.[11] Grindr announced in March 2011 that a straight version of the application was under development temporarily titled Project Amicus.[12][13] On September 8, 2011, Grindr launched Blendr, a similar app for people of all sexual orientations, with additional features intended to facilitate non-sexual friendships.[14]

In January 2012, Grindr announced it was named the winner of TechCrunch's 2011 Crunchies Award for Best Location Application at the Fifth Annual Crunchies Awards Ceremony in San Francisco at The Davies Symphony Hall.[15][16] Separately, Grindr was crowned the winner of the 2012 iDate Awards in two of the 12 categories for Best Mobile Dating App and Best New Technology at the ninth annual Dating Industry & Internet Dating Conference in Miami. In April 2012, Grindr announced that About.com's readers named Grindr the Best Dating App for the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards, with 74 percent of readers choosing Grindr over Are You Interested, SKOUT, Tagged, Tingle and Zoosk. In 2011, About.com added the Best Dating App category, and out of all the nominees, Grindr is the only exclusively gay app to be nominated – not to mention the first gay app to win the coveted title of Best Dating App.

Additionally, both Grindr and Blendr were selected as Official Honorees of the 2012 Webby Awards for award-winning work in the Social (handheld devices) category.[17] Out of nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 US states and over 60 countries, the Official Honoree distinction is awarded only to the top 15% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement. In August 2013, Grindr released an updated version of the app which requires users to create an account. Grindr says this was done to reduce spam and improve portability. This new version also adds iPhone 5 screen support, so users on newer iOS devices such as the iPhone 5 no longer see black bars along the top and bottom of the screen when using the app.

On September 30, 2013, Grindr released version 2.0 and began rolling it out on the iOS and Android. The user interface has been redesigned and brings stability improvements, a new endless scrolling feature, larger grid images and a unified chat inbox. Grindr also introduced an added filter called Grindr Tribes, allowing users to identify themselves with a niche group and narrow their searches to help find their type of man. Grindr Tribes include: Bear, Clean-cut, Daddy, Discreet, Geek, Jock, Leather, Otter, Poz, Rugged, Trans and Twink. In addition to Tribes, Grindr users can also filter by Age and Looking For.[18] As of Grindr's fifth anniversary on March 25, 2014, the app had achieved more than 10 million user downloads and had more than 5 million active monthly users worldwide.[19] In January 2016, Grindr announced that it sold its 60% stake to a Chinese gaming company, Beijing Kunlun Tech, for $93 million.[20]

Grindr Xtra[edit]

Grindr Xtra is the advertisement-free, subscription version of Grindr, which makes use of the Apple Push Notification Service. Additionally, Grindr Xtra contains features such as loading up to 300 users at once, unlimited blocking of other users and quickly swiping between profiles.[21] Grindr Xtra also allows users to filter users by additional criteria such as age, height, weight, body type and ethnicity.[22]

Grindr for Equality[edit]

In 2012, the operators of Grindr used the service to deliver 'Grindr for Equality', geotargeted information about political campaigns and the views of candidates on LGBT-related issues.[23]

Controversy and criticism[edit]

Drug use among gay, bisexual and queer men[edit]

Grindr has been found to be a primary source for the seeking out of illicit drugs (crystal methamphetamine, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, mephedrone, MDMA and others) among gay, bisexual and queer men.[24] Additionally, Grindr has recently been cited by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2015) as one of several ‘apps that promote illicit drug use’ (see Bindham et al 2014) via the actions of some drug-using members who supply drugs and/or share drug experiences using the app.[25]

Technical issues and software vulnerability issue[edit]

The Android version of Grindr has a substantial number of negative reviews stemming from unresolved issues, but has increased to a 3.5 star rating, as of January 2015. In August 2013, Grindr released an update that requires users to verify their accounts by providing a valid email address and creating a password to resolve user issues.[26]

In January 2012, a software vulnerability potentially exposed the personal details of hundreds of thousands of users. Grindr subsequently commenced legal action and pursued software changes to block the site responsible. The site impacted a small number of primarily Australian Grindr users and it remains shut down.[27]

Potential triangulation[edit]

In August 2014, it was reported that Grindr's relative distance measurements could facilitate triangulation thereby pinpointing individual users.[28] A proof of concept has been published and more than 2 million detections were performed within a few days.[29] One unauthorized client allows any logged in user to pinpoint other user's exact location.[30] After public protest from the LGBT community and the appearance of reports that the Egyptian police uses Grindr to hunt gay people,[31] Grindr responded and globally disabled distance display.[32][dubious ] As of May 10, 2015, distance display has been re-enabled and location pinpointing is still possible.[citation needed]

In May 2016, a group of computer scientists from Kyoto University had demonstrated to Andy Greenberg at Wired Magazine how location pinpointing is still possible even when the "show distance" feature is disabled.[33] By exploiting a novel attack model called colluding-trilateration introduced by the group,[34] locating any targeted user becomes a very easy and cheap task without employing any hacking technique. The attack model not only works with Grindr but also with "Jack'd".  and "Hornet". , or any LBS app that shows photos of nearby users in order of proximity.

Offensive and racist speech[edit]

Grindr has been criticised for not taking sufficient action to prevent the display of offensive, racist, and homophobic language by some users.[35] However, it has been noted that such explicit 'prejudice is not exclusive to Grindr – racial filtering is alive and well on mainstream dating and hookup websites, which give users the option of checking ethnic preferences alongside ideal body types and social habits like smoking and drinking'.[36] Grindr has been accused of lax enforcement of profiles that use the language as cited above, having stated that it considers statements such as "No Asians" to be only sexual preference, and not racist.[24] Grindr claims that a large team of moderators enforce the system's policy guidelines. In 2014, when asked about offensive and racist speech on Grindr, the app's creator Joel Simkhai said in an interview with the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz that he "didn't like it" but he "[isn't] a sixth grade teacher" and it "[isn't his] job to police such things.[37]

Holocaust Memorial imagery[edit]

In January 2013, a controversy sparked after the blog Totem and Taboo posted a collection of profile pictures from Grindr, taken at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.[38][39] The emerging trend met with mixed responses - while Grindr's CEO was "deeply moved" by how app members "take part in the memory of the holocaust" others found using the memorial as a backdrop for dating profiles to be disrespectful.[40] Later, Grindr stated that "what started as users expressing themselves on a topic not often discussed in social networking profiles, has now become disrespectful." They added that the company "strongly encourage our users to engage in a respectful manner and honour the memory of those who perished in others ways outside of the app."[41]

Censorship[edit]

The app is partially or entirely blocked in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates,[42] and has been used by police in Egypt to track and arrest gay men.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grinder Founder Joel Simkai - I've found love.....". July 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Co-Founder Behind Gay Social App Grindr Opens Up About Success, Sanity and Happiness". April 1, 2014. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ "CEO OF GRINDR ON THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY AND BECOMING AN UNINTENTIONAL ACTIVIST". January 24, 2014. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Kincaid, Jason (March 25, 2009). "Gay Dating Makes Its Way To The iPhone". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cruise Local Guys On Your iPhone". Queerty. March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Q: Location? A: Right Behind You, Dude". Joemygod.blogspot.com. March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ Carmody, Sarah. "Grindr's Global Dominance Hits 2m". bent News. bent. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ LaVallee, Andrew (August 17, 2009). "App Watch: Grindr Says It's More Than a Hook-Up Service". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Grindr advertising" (PDF). Grindr. Retrieved August 28, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Stephen Fry drives out Reasonably Priced Car again part 1". topgear.com. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Grindr Named 'Best Mobile Dating Site' at 2011 iDate Awards". Grindr. January 24, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  12. ^ Rushe, Dominic (February 6, 2011). "Grindr app goes straight – but there are different rules for women". The Guardian. London. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  13. ^ Kapp, Matt. "Grindr: Welcome to the World's Biggest, Scariest Gay Bar". Vanity Fair. Conde Nast. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  14. ^ Vara, Vauhini (September 8, 2011). "App Watch: IPhone-Assisted Dates Go Straight". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Crunchies 2011 - San Francisco - January 31, 2012". TechCrunch. 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  16. ^ "Grindr Recognized as Winner of TechCrunch Crunchies Awards and 2012 iDate Awards - LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/". Prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  17. ^ "Home". 
  18. ^ "The New Grindr: Zero Feet Away". prnewswire. September 30, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Grindr Turns Five!". Queer Me UP. March 26, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Chinese Gaming Firm Buys 60% Of Gay Dating App Grindr For $93M". TechCrunch. January 12, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  21. ^ "App Store - Grindr Xtra". Itunes.apple.com. September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  22. ^ "New Grindr. New Useful Tips - Grindr". October 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ Snow, Justin (October 22, 2012). "Grindr's Political Bedfellows". Metro Weekly. 
  24. ^ a b Frederick, Brian Jay (2016). Exploring the (Sub)Cultural Dynamics of Gay, Bisexual and Queer Male Drug Use in Cyberspace. Doctor of Philosophy [PhD] thesis. University of Kent, University of Hamburg. 
  25. ^ Internet and drug markets. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction. 2015. 
  26. ^ Garcia, Adrian. "The Grindr Spambot Dilemma; Grindr Announces Unique Log In Accounts". TheGailyGrind. 
  27. ^ Allen, Danny (January 20, 2012). "Some Sydney Grindr Accounts Reportedly Hacked". Gizmodo Australia. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  28. ^ Avari, Jamshed (August 20, 2014). "Alleged Grindr Security Flaw Exposes Exact Location Data, Endangers Users". Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ "GrindrMap". Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Fuckr". Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  31. ^ "EGYPTIAN COPS USING GRINDR TO HUNT GAYS". August 31, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  32. ^ Mowlabocus, Sharif (September 8, 2014). "Grindr's locator 'glitch' was a major fail. It revealed the company's lack of empathy for its gay users.". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  33. ^ Greenberg, Andy (May 20, 2016). "Gay Dating Apps Promise Privacy, But Leak Your Exact Location". Wired Magazine. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  34. ^ HOANG, Nguyen Phong (May 15, 2016). "Your Neighbors Are My Spies: Location and other Privacy Concerns in GLBT-focused Location-based Dating Applications". ResearchGate. IEEE ICACT. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  35. ^ Woo, Jamie (June 28, 2013). "Open Letter to Grindr Users: I Am Not Rice, He Is Not Curry". The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  36. ^ Bielski, Zosia (February 23, 2012). "'No Asian. No Indian': Picky dater or racist dater?". The Globe and Mail. Phillip Crawley. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  37. ^ "WATCH //Israeli founder of Grindr talks about growing up gay and coming out to his family - Culture". 
  38. ^ Stebner, Beth (January 31, 2013). "Outrage as Grindr users post revealing pictures of themselves in front of Berlin Holocaust memorial". The Daily Mail. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Totem and Taboo: Grindr remembers the holocaust". Grindr-remembers.blogspot.co.uk. June 25, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Grindr Users Post 'Sexy' Pictures From Holocaust Memorial In Bizarre, Ironic Trend". The Huffington Post. January 31, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  41. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (January 30, 2013). "Grindr's odd Holocaust fetish". Salon.com. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Unable to access Grindr due to government block". Grindr. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  43. ^ Culzac, Natasha (17 September 2014). "Egypt's police 'using social media and apps like Grindr to trap gay people'". The Independent. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 

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