Dating app giant Match Group, already home to Tinder, Match, OkCupid, Hinge and others, is today launching the latest addition to its dating services lineup with Stir, an app designed exclusively for single parents. With the new release, the company aims to address the 20 million single parents in the U.S. who are under-served by existing dating apps, the company says. Stir’s key feature will be a scheduling option called “Stir Time,” which allows parents to overcome the often difficult aspect of coordinating time to date between two different people’s schedules which may have to take into account co-parenting arrangements, children’s activities and other parenting-related commitments.
The dating app maker said one in four single parents (27%) reported that coordinating schedules is something that keeps them from being able to go on dates, which is why it introduced Stir Time.
With the in-app feature, users can optionally indicate which days of the week and times of day they tend to be free, in general terms, like “morning,” “afternoon” and “night.” That way, parents who may only have a few open slots per week of so-called “free time” can get matched with others who have similar schedules.
In addition to making the coordination of dates easier, the app also prompts users to answer questions to help better describe what sort of relationship they’re looking for and to showcase their personality, similar to Hinge.
For example, during the onboarding process, Stir may ask you questions like what a perfect night without the kids would look like, how you approach social situations, what you do on weekends, your favorite guilty pleasure, whether you drink, what sort of pets you have and more. Users are then prompted to add their photos and fill out the rest of their profile.
Stir generates revenue via subscriptions that offer users the ability to see who likes them, message people before being matched, set their profile to only being visible to those they like for privacy, have their profile boosted, rewind to view profiles you accidentally passed and get Super Likes to stand out, among other things. The subscriptions, however, can be fairly pricey, considering the market is single parents — some who may not even be receiving child support. A number of negative App Store reviews from the app’s test period reference this issue, saying the pricing doesn’t make sense for them, even though they would otherwise like the app.
As a result of the user feedback, Stir shifted to a freemium experience, allowing people to use the app and message for free, or optionally upgrade to the paid features via subscriptions.
For one month, Stir costs $39.99 and only offers the messaging and profile control features. While the monthly cost can be reduced by paying upfront for three or six months, to get the full set of upgraded features, users are directed to a three-month premium subscription starting at $89.99 (or $30 per month).
The app itself works a lot like Match Group’s Tinder or Hinge, as it focuses on allowing people to browse photo-centric profiles to determine who’s a potential match. But instead of swiping, users tap an X or heart icon to indicate a pass or a like. A center button lets them buy packs of Super Likes at $1.60 per pack of 5 and up.
“Having kids shouldn’t be a dealbreaker when dating,” said Dinh Thi Bui, vice president of New Verticals at Match Group, in a statement about the app’s official launch. “We’re dedicated to giving single parents a dating experience where they are celebrated and feel like they can be themselves. With that, our hope is that they can truly focus on having a personal life beyond navigating parenthood,” he added.
But despite “Stir Time” and the app’s focus on single parents — which at least eliminates the headache of being matched with people who aren’t interested in dating people who have kids — the app doesn’t offer a comprehensive set of features for parents.
For instance, the company is missing the opportunity to connect parents with background checks on their potential matches — a considerable worry for parents who are dating, given how sexual predators often target single women to gain access to their children. Match Group, meanwhile, had invested in the background check service Garbo and has since integrated it into Tinder, and soon will do the same with other Match dating apps. But it’s not available within Stir, oddly.
The app also doesn’t allow parents to specify the age (or even general age range) of their children — another oversight, given that some people are open to dating those with older kids, but aren’t ready to go through the baby years again. Plus, it lacks the advanced filtering options of dating app rivals, like Bumble.
Stir joins other niche dating apps developed by the dating app giant, including BLK, Chispa and Upward. These are developed within Match Group’s Match division, which supports the development of the company’s flagship app (Match) and the other niche dating experiences. Stir, like the others, has a dedicated team within Match.