It was only three years ago that Grindr launched, but it’s almost impossible to remember a time when we weren’t all addicted to meeting guys on our smartphones. Since then, of course, other companies have attempted to replace it as the quintessential gay hook-up app, but so far none have succeeded.
Enter Mister, a new entrant in the world of geosocial-networking application (the technical term for such things). Instead of trying to be all things to all gays, Mister, which launched in December, is carving a niche for a certain kind of guy—maybe a little older, maybe looking for something a little more substantial than a one-night-stand (though not necessarily).
Zeroing in on a million downloads by the end of the year, Mister has also differentiated itself with a user “code of conduct” aimed at fostering a more respectful environment. Some 4,500 profiles have been deleted for being offensive.
But its not all serious: Mister has been rolling out a hilarious (and sexy) series of viral videos that poke fun at common dating interactions.
We sat down with Carl Sandler—CEO of both Mister and its parent site, DaddyHunt—to get the download on the app and what sets it apart from the rest.
What made you decide to launch a dating app when there are so many on the market already?
We realized the other apps were dominated by younger guys mostly looking to hook up or just kill time. We say Mister is for guys over 30, not necessarily to exclude younger guys, but as a means to weed out the “evil twinks”—the guys who want to hate on older guys. At its core, Mister is an alternative app for the honest, drama-free guy of any age that’s interested in more than a headless torso.
Aside from that, what else makes Mister different?
Well, we offer members the option of using either the Mister app for iOS and Android, or misterapp.com if they’re at a computer. They can actually use both simultaneously, and it’s a lot easier to search for guys on the Web than on a phone.
Also, users can upload up to 10 photos for free versus just the one image that’s standard with many other apps. So less time is wasted asking for more photos. And since the photos are already out there, our users interactions tend to be a little richer than on other apps. Members are more likely to create more in-depth profiles and use more than one-word questions and answers.
In general, is there a kind of guy you’d see more of on Mister—a certain age or type or nationality?
We get guys of all ages and types, but Most use multiple apps and websites. What sets MISTER members apart is that, while they are using MISTER, we encourage them to be as genuine as possible with as little attitude as possible. MISTER is the app where they can be more open-minded, more conversational, and more upfront about who they are and what they really want.
Mister welcomes an older demographic than some other apps. Has that changed how users use Mister or behave with each other? Are more users looking for LTRs, for example?
Absolutely. The vast majority of guys on Mister say they want something more substantial. A lot of our members would prefer sharing a beer together first, even if they ultimately hook up.
You’ve taken care to foster a more respectful environment among members, too.
It’s very important to us that members feel proud to use our brand. We try to foster a more friendly online environment by asking all our members to sign the MISTER Code, an acronym that encourages members to treat each other with respect. As far as we know, Mister is the only app that promotes a code like this.
So, I think the code and the diversity of men on the site create a more welcoming community. I mean, we can’t guarantee that everyone will get along, but do what we can to encourage certain types of behavior. Users lie about their age on every app, but on Mister you know you don’t have to lie just to meet other men. And, of course, physical attraction is still important, but Mister users value connections based on intellectual and emotional connections as well. That’s just something that comes with age.
There’s been a fair amount written about supposed racism, ageism, etc., on dating sites and hook-up apps. Is that a legitimate concern or should people not be judged for what they do or don’t find attractive?
People have preferences in who they want to date or even chat with, and you have to respect that. We recently introduced age filter and preferences into the iPhone version to help people do that. We just ask users to do a few things: To say what kind of guys they do prefer, not what they don’t want; to have an open mind; and to be respectful of others.
I think in general, though, concerns about racism are legitimate—especially considering how much time gay men spend on these apps. This has become the way many of us socialize , and a few narrow-minded individuals shouldn’t be allowed to create a hostile environment for everyone else.
Lets get down to the important stuff: What’s the difference between the free version of Mister and the paid version?
The paid version has a lot more features, including a photobucket for easily sending private photos, the option to upload up to 25 photos to a profile, twice as many men on the grid at a time, and full premiere access to misterapp.com. As a nice little addition, paying members—we call them Magnum members—get a cool logo on their profiles and are featured prominently on the ManGrid.