BBC - Oct 28 - In a bid to tackle fake profiles and fraudsters, gay dating app Hornet plans to offer a sort of "verified" badge to identify authentic members. But rather than moderators checking ID, the app will use algorithms to decide who gets a badge. So why do gay dating apps not offer a "verified" profile badge, like on Instagram or Twitter? "Not everyone wants to or even should be identified," said Eric Silverberg, CEO of dating app Scruff. ID checks would create a list of "verified LGBT people" that could be used by those wanting to do harm, including governments. Hornet says its system will not involve checking ID. Instead, algorithms will evaluate how people behave on the app over time. Profiles that are judged to be genuine will display a "Hornet badge" as an indicator of trustworthiness.
BBC - Aug 16 - Gay dating app Hornet has accused Google of discrimination after its app was removed from Google's Play store several times without warning. Hornet said Google often employed moderators in Malaysia, where same-sex relationships are illegal, to vet apps. In January, gay dating app Scruff introduced stricter profile image guidelines, banning photos of men in underwear or swimwear. The app had also been suspended from Google Play several times prior to the change.
HORNET BLOG - May 23 - The LGBT Foundation, the world's only token and blockchain initiative aimed at empowering the LGBT+ community, has appointed its first CEO, Sean Howell. Howell currently serves as President of Hornet, the gay social network, where he has spent the last six years helping the company grow its user base to 25M. At Hornet, Howell also oversaw the company's corporate responsibility efforts under Hornet Impact, organizing thousands of social justice and health related activations annually, all over the world.
HORNET BLOG - Apr 20 - Hornet Gay Social Network is partnering with Planned Parenthood Federation of America as well as the LA LGBT Center to build a culture of consent and respect within the LGBTQ community. Together they'll be creating and sharing social media and editorial content to educate users on why and how to talk about consent.
SLATE.COM - Feb 28 - With Grindr and other queer platforms, the burden of keeping safe shouldn't fall solely on users. In late September, Egyptian authorities began a crackdown against the country's queer communities after fans of Mashrou' Leila, an outspoken Lebanese indie rock group with an openly gay band member, displayed a rainbow flag at the group's concert in Cairo. To find and arrest their targets, security forces, among other tactics, created fake profiles on queer dating apps like Grindr and Hornet. The app creators should be responsible for protecting their users. The majority of dating apps don't transmit pictures securely. All of the major dating apps, too, are able to access messages stored on company servers, meaning their contents could be compromised in the event of a government request or, if stored insecurely, in the event of a data breach. To try to protect themselves, users often turn to software that only partially addresses privacy and security issues. But VPNs won't hide a user's location from a dating app, which relies on a phone's built-in GPS sensor for its geolocation features. What's more, in countries that have banned these kinds of tools, downloading or using certain known VPNs or circumvention software might land a user under increased scrutiny. Grindr and Hornet began providing safety info&tips in Arabic to inform users about risks but without implementing changes to protect them too - say, eliminating watermarked app logos on photos, which have been used as evidence in court and blackmail attempts.
by Norman Shamas
See full article at Slate.com
HORNET BLOG - Jan 17 - Hornet, the gay social network, has released its first-ever research with Nielsen around the efficacy of LGBTQ-themed branded advertising on the LGBTQ consumer. The custom study examines advertising content across various industries including consumer packaged goods, hospitality, automotive and banking.
Amongst its key findings:
HORNET BLOG - Jan 13 - Hornet, the gay social network, launches an LGBT Foundation, a not-for-profit organization for the global good of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The LGBT Foundation will conduct an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in the Q1 2018 to raise funds and allocate cryptocurrency tokens to private investors and individual participants.
REUTERS - Oct 23 - After a rainbow flag was raised at concert headlined by Mashrou' Leila, whose Lebanese singer is gay, over 70 people have been arrested in Egypt. Gay dating apps such as Grindr and Hornet are sending users tips on how to protect themselves from entrapment.
INSTINCTMAGAZINE - June 28 - In commemoration of National HIV Testing Day, gay dating app Hornet has launched an ad campaign featuring the experience of people living with HIV.
by Nigel Campbell
The full article was originally published at Instinct Magazine, but is no longer available.
VICE.COM - June 7 - It only takes a quick scroll through gay dating apps to see guys who express dismay with them; statements like "no hookups," and "no unsolicited nudes" are common in user profiles. That dissatisfaction is reflected in Grindr's 2.5-star rating on the Apple App store. Chappy claims to be different. Launched this year in London, and funded by Bumble, Chappy lets users toggle between categories called "Mr. Right" and "Mr. Right Now". Chappy isn't the only app trying to distance itself from the hookup culture. Hornet and Scruff are launching new features to introduce new ways to interact beyond hooking up, such as Facebook-style activity feed.
PR NEWSWIRE - Dec 21 - Fabrice Le Parc has been named GM for France, Tim Greene for New York and Darien Chan for Taipei operations. Le Parc, Greene and Chan will lead business development and customer acquisition strategies for Hornet. Le Parc has worked as a web entrepreneur, having co-founded and sold various companies. He served as the MD for be2 before founding his own dating site, Smartdate. Greene and Chan are seasoned executives who have helped build businesses for numerous online properties through their combined experience in financial, marketing and technology services.
PINK NEWS - Dec 18 - As part of the cooperation, Blued will be participating in an extension of the funding round to help expand upon the momentum and growth rates Hornet has been experiencing. Hornet raised $8M earlier this year from venture capital fund Ventech China. Hornet, founded in 2011, claims to be "the world's second largest gay social network" with 15M users, and 3M monthly active users.
VENTURE BEAT - Nov 22 - Hornet has raised $8M in its first round of institutional financing. The Series A round was led by Shanghai-based VC firm Ventech China, and adds to the $500k angel round Hornet raised back in 2012. Hornet says that the cash will be used to "support rapid business growth and user adoption" around the world. Ventech China participated in the Series C round of China's gay dating app Blued in June this year. Blued is big in Asia, and has claimed to be twice as big as Grindr.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
PR NEWSWIRE - July 5 - "With the acquisition of Vespa, Hornet will provide the most innovative set of apps to the 250M strong consumer segment of gay men worldwide, and will be able to extend its innovation lead by integrating gay places and events in 300 cities in 70 countries worldwide into its products." Vespa's founder and CEO Christof Wittig, who co-founded Hornet in 2011, has been appointed the new CEO, while co-founder Sean Howell is now Chairman and President of Hornet. With 15M total and 3M monthly active users, Hornet is the second largest gay social network worldwide after Grindr.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
GAY TIMES - June 8 - While they've promised to keep their traditional grid feature they're also offering up Discover and the Activity Feed. With Discover users can browse guys that have similar interests and use hashtags to make searches more effective, as well as 'New Guys' and 'Who Checked You Out' features.
by Anthony Sinclair
See full article at Gay Times
WIRED - May 20 - Computer researchers in Kyoto, Japan discovered a stalking method which is cheap, reliable, and works not only with Grindr but other gay dating apps like Hornet and Jack'd. It's known as trilateration. If Grindr or a similar app tells you how far away someone is—even if it doesn't tell you in which direction—you can determine their exact location by combining the distance measurement from three points surrounding them. In the US that's not a problem but in Islamic countries or in Russia, it can be very serious that their information is leaked like that.
In late 2014, Grindr responded to security researchers who pointed out that risk by offering an option to turn off the app's distance-measuring feature, and disabling it by default in countries known to have "a history of violence against the gay community". The lingering issue, however, remains: All three apps still show photos of nearby users in order of proximity.
GAYSTARNEWS - July 11 - Samsung and Google Play have taken down gay networking apps including Jack'd in South Korea. Samsung refuses to list apps like Hornet, Grindr or Scruff in its country owing to 'local moral values.' Jack'd has ~500K users in South Korea.