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#FUVLove: New Female-Led Dating App Seeks to Curb Bad...

online dating apps

Plum, a new dating app from Jenna Birch, a dating coach, journalist, and author seeks to eliminate some of the bad behavior that's commonplace in online dating.

(Illustration by Hailey Morey for WFUV News)

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Navigating romance online can be dicey. Ghosting and sexual harassment are among the many pitfalls one can face. One app, that is launching in March, is aiming to change the game.

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"Twenty-five...ish." That's the number of first dates Jennifer Abbate says she's been on in the past six months. 

She says she always has fun on a first date but is hesitant to go on a second one. Abbate says the more time she spends with someone the more she's worried they're not being upfront about what they want.
 
"What I don't like is when a guy will sort of act like they want something more, but they really don't," Abbate says. "That really turns me off. I'm a big fan of genuine people." 
 
Abbate says she doesn't want to invest her time in a relationship that doesn't have the potential for a future. She says she's made the mistake of dropping guys for someone who seemed interested in the long-term. She says she's been disappointed way too many times.
 
"You're developing a level of intimacy with somebody and exposing yourself and just learning how to be vulnerable with somebody, "Abbate says. "And then they just are poof: gone from your life." 
 
Jenna Birch gets what Abbate is going through. A dating coach, journalist, and author Birch has conducted research on the dating scene for years. She's decided to take this information to help launch an app for dating. Plum Dating will allow women to rate dates they've had with men. Birch said the rating system is based on core ideals: communication, honesty, and respect. She said she wants plum to be a community.
 
"It's not just you had a bad date and you're going to rate them a low score," Birch explained. "You can say this person might now be right for me but they might be right for someone else, and you can rate them accordingly." She compared the rating process to rating a restaurant on Yelp or reviewing Uber drivers. "All these different things that we have reviews on in the world, but we don't really have it in online dating. It's kind of the Wild Wild West right now," Birch said. 
 
Birch says people are prone to be less serious when they meet someone online as opposed to when they meet someone through friends. She says the rating system holds them more accountable. So it makes it more difficult to cut someone off without communicating -- like ghosting. 
 
"We really want people to use the rating system accordingly and really think about the investments they make and how they approach their matches, "Birch said. "That will actually change the game a lot when it comes to creating investments and what will actually stick online."  
 
Birch says the higher a guys' rating is, the more matches he'll get. She says she's hopeful plum helps solve some of the 21st centuries dating issues. But most importantly she's hopeful people will fall in love.