CAS sophomore Tanner Nelson developed an iPhone dating app called Ego Match with the hopes of challenging the likes of Tinder and OkCupid.
Ego Match allows users to rank possible dates and receive matches based on their ratings of others through an algorithm written by Nelson.
“The difference is that when you log on [to Ego Match] you rate people on a scale, and are rated by people,” Nelson said. “Then the ratings are analyzed by a script and sorted by location and gender [and sexual] preferences to produce a set of possible matches.”
For Nelson, the app is a labor of love, and not just in the dating sense.
“During my freshman year, some friends and I had an idea for an app where people rate you and you see people that are similarly rated,” Nelson said. “Finally this year I got around to actually writing it and did all of the coding over the course of two weeks during my spare time.”
Before releasing the app on the App Store, Nelson asked a small group of friends to beta test it for feedback.
CAS sophomore Josefa Bitenc said she enjoys using Ego Match.
“It’s fun to be able to rate people on a more graduated scale than the ‘left-right-swipe’ system Tinder uses,” Bitenc said. “I could certainly see it becoming the next big thing for dating apps, especially among NYU students.”
Nelson’s roommate, CAS sophomore Jillian Branchaud, has been integral to developing Ego Match since its inception.
“We came up with Ego about a year ago on our way back from having lunch at Hayden, and this semester we decided, why not make this idea come to life?” Branchaud said. “One thing I dislike about the app is the fact that until it really takes off, the rating system can be a bit skewed.”
CAS junior Mark Muster said he has mixed feelings about dating apps in general.
“I have lots of friends that use Tinder, but I just don’t see the appeal,” Muster said. “What’s so hard about just saying hello to someone in real life?”
Ego Match was released on March 8 to the iTunes store and Nelson said the app has already received around 100 downloads.
Nelson’s next step is promoting Ego Match to expand his user base.
“The hardest part is figuring out how to advertise it,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he hopes that word of mouth advertising can help Ego Match spread throughout the NYU community and beyond.
Even though developing for iPhone is just a hobby for now, Tanner would eventually like to see a return on his efforts.
“If it were to gain Flappy Bird status, I would definitely want to monetize it somehow,” Nelson said. “But not through making people pay for the app, I hate that.”
(Disclaimer: Jillian Branchaud is a member of the WSN staff.)
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 7 print edition. Graham Rapier is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.