Bumble Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged In-App Purchase Abuse

image credit: Alvesgaspar / CC BY-SA

By Chand Bellur

August 28, 2020 at 9:07 p.m. PT

  • Online dating platform Bumble, which enables women to make the first move, has over one hundred million users worldwide.
  • As with many dating apps, the company uses aggressive tactics to sell and renew expensive memberships.
  • Accused of renewing in-app purchases without user consent, the Austin-based company settled the matter out of court, offering a small payout to affected users.

A Brief History of Bumble

Bumble is an online dating platform designed to enable women. Instead of being bombarded with messages by men, Bumble lets women make the first move. Men seeking women can only swipe on matches and communicate after initial communications from a female “bee”.

The company also supports same-sex matchmaking, as with most dating apps. Same-sex users can message freely. Touting a pro-feminist user experience, the company protects women from a supposed onslaught of harmful text messages from men. In the Bumble world, only women and men seeking men are allowed to initiate conversations.

Founded by ex-Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble’s foundation rests on lawsuits and sociopathy. Herd, a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member and Southern Methodist University alum, sued Tinder for alleged sexual discrimination and harassment. Tinder settled for over $1 million, and Herd left the company, poaching two high-level employees shortly thereafter. With assistance from Badoo founder Andre Andreev, Herd founded Bumble, a dating site where women can make the first move.

Herd’s morally-questionable maneuvering created bad blood between the dating app titans. Tinder accused Bumble of intellectual property infringement. The two apps look and function almost identically, in a landscape where most dating apps differ significantly. Only singular and obvious features, like a back button and different skins, separate the two.

Both companies have been involved in litigation for years over intellectual property, trade secrets, and other matters. The Match Group, owners of Tinder and several other dating apps, attempted to acquire Bumble. The conflict isn’t just about money. Lawsuits, poaching talent, IP theft, and other machinations tend to create feuds, like Steve Jobs’ “thermonuclear” reaction to Google’s Android operating system.

Bumble, currently a privately-held corporation, is striving toward an IPO. Initially backed by Andreev, Blackstone Growth now owns Bumble’s majority stake. A Bumble IPO could result in the company’s acquisition by the Match Group, parent corporation of Tinder, and several other dating apps.

Bumble: Online Sausage Fest

I successfully stayed away from online dating for years. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area during the height of progressive politics and technology, it was relatively easy to meet women without an app. I enjoy live music — an opportunity to meet like-minded women in real life, like a normal human being. The women I met were high quality and interested in stable, respectful relationships without games and manipulation. I was able to have relationships that lasted more than a few weeks.

Friends warned me that it’s unlikely I would find high-quality matches with online dating. For one, Bumble is a sausage fest, with a male to female ratio of 7.3:2.7. For every seven men, there’s less than three women on Bumble.

Racism on Bumble

Non-white men do poorly in online dating. I have read this in countless publications such as NPR.org, The Independent, and others. Rolling Stone just published an article days ago, stating that dating apps are racist, even when they remove race filtering features. Even women supporting Black Lives Matter hope that those black lives find a black woman. The sad reality is, most black women are swiping for white men.

I tested this using profiles with different races. My white guy profile gets exponentially more matches and can treat women like dirt. He never gets blocked or banned. Every other ethnicity, apart from African American, gets no interaction in online dating. My black profile gets about one match for every twenty that the white account obtains.

Women have higher racial purity standards than the third Reich, but support all of these magnanimous, progressive endeavors. It’s how they camouflage racism. The ones portraying themselves as the most progressive are actually the most racist. No one will question why they only date white men, if they embrace racial justice superficially and half-heartedly as camouflage.

#Metoo doesn’t apply to white men like Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, or Brett Kavanaugh. Aziz Ansari almost had his career destroyed for much less, while these men brutally rape women and get away with it, because they’re white.

My “white guy” dating profile treats women like dirt, and they keep communicating with him. Many women, who claim they want relationships, capitulate to his constant, rude overtures for meaningless sex. Non-white profiles that engage women like this face permanent, lifetime bans within minutes.

Non-white men learn to walk on eggshells and opt for costly assistance from dating platforms. The racism produces desperate men willing to spend a fortune on in-app purchases.

Bumble Profits From Racism and Muting Non-White Men

The Austin-based company takes advantage of desperate men by charging almost $11 per week for premium memberships. That’s over four times as expensive as Netflix for an app with little to offer and member-created content. Without the premium membership, men must navigate the app blind, with a minimal UI.

If you’re a white man, women will make the first move and you’ll be engaging with matches shortly. Non-white men get very few messages and have no way of winning over a woman with their personality. Bumble profiles only allow a few hundred characters of text. It’s all about the heavily moderated and verified photos, which ensure that a white man is indeed a white man. Bumble’s user experience favors white men and mutes men of color.

Most Women Don’t Want to Make the First Move

From all appearances, women aren’t flocking to Bumble so they can make the first move. Tinder actually has a slightly better male to female ratio than Bumble.

App Store reviews further reveal that many women don’t like making the first move on Bumble. Reviews also show that many female Bumble users don’t even understand that they need to make the first move and are frustrated that men don’t message them.

Few Bumble Bees Are Looking for Love

Undermining the already unbalanced male to female ratio, many Bumble Bees are present only to gain social media followers or sell sexual services offline. Other women just want a pen pal.

Most of the women I met were already in a relationship, hoping to coax a wavering white man into commitment using jealousy. Dating a man of color, for the sake of inspiring jealousy, seems to make white men commit to a relationship. Others were attempting to upset a former spouse. The actual number of women who are willing to date anyone is minuscule.

The resulting dynamic makes Bumble a sterile environment. Some of my friends swiped on everyone and didn’t get a single match. When I tried the service, I matched with one woman for every 200 swipes. That’s actually a good response for a non-white man. I’m six feet tall and have an athletic body, yet short, chubby white men do much better on Bumble.

With Bumble, I would get one real-life date for every 20 matches. Of those few dates, I eventually learned that I was being used to make an existing unfaithful partner jealous and commit. Unless you’re white, most of the women just want to use you.

Three Horrible Bumble Dates

I dated a woman I met on Bumble for about three months, only to discover she used me to upset her ex-husband so he would increase support payments. The other woman I dated from Bumble was a pathological liar, making up stories of abuse and male stalkers to engender pity and seem more desirable.

My friends were right about the poor quality of online matches. Unless you’re Nordic-white, you have to date the lowest of the low, if you’re lucky. I dated women I would have never dated before, because the experience of being shut out makes one desperate.

My most memorable Bumble date was with an unpleasant woman who invited me to breakfast only to scold me for being too thin. She married her personal trainer, who forced an extreme diet and exercise regimen on her. The resulting psychological damage turned her into someone who dates men out of spite. We politely chatted and “vibed” online for a week, and then she just let me have it on the date.

I was utterly blind-sighted and shocked at the lack of politeness and civility on the actual date. She spent an hour debasing my body. I work out ten hours a week, run a six-minute mile, and have 8% body fat, yet she spent an hour criticizing my body, claiming I’m too thin. She wanted to exact revenge on her ex-husband, but he wasn’t there. I was the symbolic surrogate of this severely mentally ill woman’s attempt at therapy. 

Between contempt for her ex-husband and the inability to achieve her desired body image, I became the target of this stout, pathetic woman’s scorn. A woman, so out of touch with reality, she claimed that all women dislike six-pack abs! People like different body types, but I’m well aware that many women want athletic, fit men who don’t have beer bellies.

These are the types of psychos I met on Bumble. Apparently, I’m lucky to have these few dates. Friends’ experiences and App Store reviews reveal countless men who never even have one match on Bumble. Sometimes I think they’re the lucky ones!

Bumble Profits from Desperate Men

If you live in a community where there’s no nightlife, meeting people can be difficult. Platforms like Bumble market their product as a viable method to establish relationships. The truth is much different.

I joined and quit Bumble three times. Each time I joined, I had two potential matches in my “bee line” shortly after joining. The “bees”, obscured with large pixelization, are visible only after paying $11 a week for a premium membership. Given the apparent pattern, it’s possible that the developer created these bots to lure lonely men into upgrading to premium services. Many App Store reviewers also find this remarkably suspicious.

When you do sign up, your subscription will automatically renew, whether you use the service or not. The App Store handles renewals, and unless you turn this almost-hidden setting off, you’ll end up forking over almost $50 a month to Bumble. That’s the most expensive in-app purchase I’ve ever made.

Bumble’s business practices resulted in upset and outraged customers. The company recently settled a 2018 lawsuit over unwarranted renewals. Affected users can get up to $85 from the settlement.

Men of Color Pay to Enable Racism on Bumble

In my limited experience using Bumble, the company fleeced me out of hundreds of dollars. The women who used me to upset their ex or exorcise their demons cost me about a thousand dollars in dates. Bees may make the first move, but it’s never for the credit card.

Feminism often seems to end at the pocketbook. It’s an a la carte movement where women cherry-pick the aspects that suit them — equal pay, equal rights, but men should pay for everything and open the car door like a chauffeur. I don’t see a high percentage of women willing to take on combat roles in the military. Unlike many foreign women who live truly feminist lifestyles, most American women abuse it for their ends.

It’s not feminism. It’s female supremacy, which seems to dovetail into white supremacy. These violations don’t apply to white men. It’s as though white men and all women ganged up on men of color, while smirking behind BLM camouflage. Bumble lets men of color pay the bills so that women can meet their white knight in shining armor. It’s despicable.

The lack of engagement non-white men encounter on Bumble all but forces them to either stop using the app or pay up. Women and white men can fare well without paying for anything. It’s the ultimate insult to injury. We pay to keep Bumble running, so women can have a space to meet white men. Don’t do this anymore. Stop hitting yourself, men of color!

Bumble Free Trials Aren’t Always Free

Beyond renewing memberships for inactive users, Bumble also presents free trial offers to users who aren’t eligible. I used a Bumble free trial and then stopped using it because I thought I found someone decent. A few months later, I was back on Bumble and accepted the free trial, yet was charged. The company does not refund these payments, unless compelled to do so by legal action.

I wasn’t actually eligible for that free trial; however, Bumble placed the offer in the “bee hive”. When I accepted it, I was charged and couldn’t get a refund. It’s just another dirty trick from a heartless American corporation and an opportunity for yet another class-action lawsuit.

How to Get Your Bumble Boost Settlement

Although the settlement is underway, the actual sign up form has yet to be created. A placeholder for the Bumble Boost Settlement claim form is currently available. Claimants must complete the form by November 23, 2020. For more information on the case and claim eligibility, please visit the Bumble Boost Settlement website.

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