Muslim matchmaking app Muzmatch is getting (slightly) involved with video: It’s adding a button to enable users to request a video chat with a prospective match’s father.
If the user impresses on camera, the dad can grant a ‘Dad Verified’ badge to add to their profile — as an added layer of parental vetting for a community that’s seriously focused on finding a life partner.
YC backed Muzmatch has been building out a community-sensitive approach to app-based swipe-to-match ‘dating’ for Muslims for around five years at this stage, broadening its early focus on the UK and the US to include Muslim majority markets last year. In January it passed the 2 million user mark globally, up from 1.5M last summer.
Back in July, when we chatted to founder Shahzad Younas, video was on his mind — though his preoccupation was on how to incorporate “elements of video” in a sensible and safe way for a user base that’s intent on finding serious connection for the purpose of marriage. Muzmatch users definitely aren’t interested in casual dating or hook-ups. So “simple video” wasn’t on the cards, he said then.
In the event Muzmatch is starting by opening an indirect video chat channel between a potential match and a parent — to augment existing chaperone elements within the app, such as an optional wali/guardian feature for female users (which lets them elect to have their in-app chats emailed to a third party).
To access the new video dad chat feature — which must surely rank as one of the most nerve-wracking types of live chats available in the broad-brush dating app world right now — a Muzmatch user needs to navigate to their chat options and tap on the Dad Verification button.
Be warned: This will immediately trigger a video call with a potential partner’s dad. Evidently it’s not a button to be pressed when casually dressed or lost for words.
Unlike the wail/guardian chaperone feature, the Dad Verification button is universally available to both male and female users — so both sides of the community of users can opt to seek the approbation of a match’s father to advance their suit, per Muzmatch.
It’s not clear whether the startup is manually verifying a user’s dad is who they say they are. We’ve asked for more on that.
“To support the women who are complaining that men simply aren’t as serious about marriage anymore and the ones who have been ghosted and led on, the revolutionary Dad Verified feature will allow both men and women on muzmatch to check if their match is ready for marriage by getting them to speak to their father and get the seal of approval,” it writes in a press release.
It’s the latest tweak for the app which underwent some spring cleaning in January.
A v3.0 launch then brought updates to the interface, including support for richer profile content; a new card layout to showcase potential matches; and a cleaner view of matches/unmatches. Browsing and discovery, explore and chat also got a refresh at that point. But with dad video chats Muzmatch is taking a bigger step in the hopes of bringing its community along for the ride — and fending off growing competition for its target users in the process.
Zooming out, while dating apps are facing a curious time right now, as a result of the coronavirus crisis putting a dampener on face-to-face meet-ups with so much of the world under de facto house arrest, such physical restrictions seem likely to offer less of a disruption to Muslim dating apps — where the focus is on remote courtship to establish if there’s a marriage connection, rather than applying digital chatter as an accelerant for meeting in person.