A new twist on online dating is happening tonight as the app Filteroff hosts an event where singles can meet face to face virtually.

Filteroff is an American-based dating app with a difference. In essence it is speed dating with no swiping needed.

The company bills itself as the world’s first video dating app. Users sign up for a date night event and, based on your interests and location, they are connected with five or more potential dates over a video call.

Screenshot of Filteroff’s app in the Apple App Store, June 22, 2022.

Filteroff is hosting a speed dating event tonight from 8 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. for people planning to attend RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. The Filteroff team describes the event as, “a great way to meet like-minded singles prior to the in-person event!”

So far, 32 singles are signed up through the event page.

Michelle Miller, a spokesperson for Filteroff, the company “wanted to make it easy for blues fans to meet one another in an authentic and efficient manner.”

Other apps such as Tinder do not offer such face to face meetings.

Ethan Sherwood, 20, used Tinder in his first year at Carleton University. And while he didn’t meet someone because of it, he said that the app gave him the confidence to pursue a person who eventually became his girlfriend for a year and a half.

While Sherwood says he had a good experience with a dating app, he’s reluctant to use them again. He much prefers meeting people in real life.

“Meeting people through [online dating] creates somewhat of a disconnect, I find, between the two parties because they’re just another person you met from a dating app,” he said. Sherwood also added that he does not like the small talk that such apps force users to engage in.

Sherwood said that he would prefer the face to face interaction that Filteroff delivers, “but it still doesn’t compare to actually meeting someone in person,” he added.

In a recent interview Filteroff founder Zach Schlein explained that he believes the pandemic changed online dating forever.

“Prior to the pandemic, singles saw video chats as being quite vulnerable. With the onset of the pandemic, people started face timing with friends and loved ones, and it became normal. Today, research suggests that most singles prefer to video chat before meeting up in person. From a safety as well as efficiency perspective, the acceptance of video dating has accelerated,” he told the website the Financial Express.

Screenshot from businessofapps.com showing the amount of subscribers Tinder has had in the millions each year by quarter. June 22, 2022.

Liam Crozier, 22, has been using dating apps more because it has been difficult for him to meet people in person, especially during the pandemic.

However, Crozier too says that, “there is something nice about meeting people more organically through friends or something of the sort.”

Dating apps, he added, are a good tool for meeting new people once in a while.

The app ‘Tinder’ being opened by Liam Crozier on June 24, 2022, at Bel-air Park in Ottawa. [Photo © Trevor Corcoran]

But “[they] do give you much better results if you pay for a membership or premium version, unfortunately,” mentioned Crozier.

“Tinder Plus” ranges from $1.39 to $27.99.

Filteroff’s in-app purchases range from $3.99 to $69.99 and give access to better “matchmaker dates” and event tickets.

Crozier said he is shy so Filteroff doesn’t appeal to him but he believes it could be an interesting new way for some singles to meet.

He added that Filteroff also may be more time-consuming compared to simply swiping left or right when you have a spare minute.

“It probably could have a decent user base and be good for the people that prefer that,” he explained.

Screenshot of a graph from the article, “Disintermediating your friends: How online dating in the United States displaces other ways of meeting” pg 3. [Article and graph provided by Micheal Rosenfeld.]

Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist from Stanford University, has studied dating apps and published his results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

He found that heterosexual couples are more likely to meet a romantic partner through online dating than they are in person. In one of his earlier studies, Rosenfeld found that 22 per cent of the American couples he surveyed had met online.

By 2017, he says he found that online dating and in-person connections in a bar were equally common for couples.