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2012/03/09

Scruff Equals Hot Stuff, Grindr Needs a Kick in the Behindr

I recently discovered that my phone does more than annoy the shit out of me.  You can download applications and make contact with other people!  Yeah, I know, I’m always the last one on the boat.  I still do not have a Facebook page, nor do I ever want one.  I briefly tried it because I really wanted to play that Sims game.  Well, the game kind of sucked (spent a lot of time planting tomatoes, going to the bathroom, and taking naps), and so did Facebook – for all the reasons I had feared it would.  It  put a whole bunch of people from my past on my trail.  I try to keep a low profile on the web – hence no face pic, etc.  My internet brand is uptonking, and I have been really consistent about using it for all on-line related business. But still people figured out it might be me… so, good-bye Facebook.

I have downloaded only 4 gay male related apps so far.  Why?  Because something called BoyAhoy makes me nervous.  Just the name.  Ick.  Also something called u4Bear: Gay Bear Finder?  Not sure I want to make that leap yet  (though, based on my experiences on GROWLr, I might).   The other one that intrigues me?  Gay Chat +: Maleforce 2.0.  But what is it?  I need to Google that one before downloading.  I am, so far, avoiding the gay dating sites.  I don’t date, so why would I bother? 
But, as I promised last week, this week’s entry is dedicated to my review of two apps that I have been playing with.  I will be reviewing two others next week.  First up…

Grindr
So this was the first app I downloaded.  And then promptly deleted from my phone a mere three days later, only to download it again two weeks later.  Yeah – it pissed me off and I found it less than user-friendly (or friendly at all, for that matter).
Interface:
Real straight forward, I guess.  Provided you know what the menu button on your phone is for (I did not).  Sending pics is really easy.  So is contacting someone.  Opens, eventually, to a screen full of little boxes, sorted by GPS by proximity to your location.  Revealing where you are is optional.  They place limits on the number of people you can view, in order of proximity, though you are able to buy “Xtra” profiles.  I wouldn’t bother.  If they can see you and want to contact you, they will.  A small bright green dot will appear in the bottom left corner of a person’s profile if they are actually on-line.  The basic menu includes: Go On/Offline, Load More Guys (up to a point, then you have to pay), Refresh Location, Edit Profile, and Settings   In order to remain signed in you cannot ‘back out’ of the program, rather you have to hit the home button.   If you have a message from someone, a number will appear in a red circle in the bottom right of their profile.  Select a profile and you will have the option to Chat, choose them as a Favorite, Block, or Report them.  To view the pick without the text boxes on it, simply touch the picture anywhere there is not a text box or button and the other stuff will disappear – leaving you with the unadorned photo.  If you choose someone as a favorite (I do have one!), that person’s profile will always appear next to yours, regardless of proximity, with a yellow star in its upper left corner.
Features:
There are a bunch of features you can pay for.  The basics are chat with an individual or send a pic.  You have to actually send a little ‘hi’ though.  Or a pic.  There is no way to just notify someone that you may be interested in talking to them.  That makes it a little intimidating, breaking the ice.  They notify you on your main phone page if someone from the app has contacted you, but only if you remain signed-in.  I would have to say this is the most limited program of the bunch.  Considering they are they industry leader, they really should up their game.  All they need do is see what the competition is offering and they would realize that they are already lagging horribly behind.  You can block or report annoying people. 
Profiles: 
They are really picky about what they allow you to upload for a photo.  Which is too, bad, because you only get one photo.  Most dudes have a face pic, but since my face is not my strong suit, I lead with a torso shot.  So, apparently you cannot show the waist band of what you are wearing, unless your face is also part of the pic.  They deleted my first photo.  I then cropped it until they accepted it.  Then, when I got a nice gym shot of me in a jock, I uploaded it.  I cropped it so that just the top of the jock (the band) showed.  The rest was my chest and arms.  They deleted it.  Re-cropped, it looked like shit, so I went back to my original photo featuring me in a pair of Tommy Hilfiger’s .  Considering that this is named Grindr and that it IS A HOOK-UP SITE (yeah, I know, people are in denial, but that is what it is folks and that is why you are on there – so knock off the bullshit), they sure are uptight.  Standard handle applies (uptonking) and appears above your pic.  You can place the basic info on top of your photo in a shaded box: height, weight, age, etc. and what you are looking for (chat, friends, dating, etc.).  In a larger shaded box, riding on top of your photo, you can write a headline and whatever you want.  But they don’t want anything sexual, or at least, you shouldn’t put something very overt.  Initially I declared myself a bottom and they nixed that (although others have that term right in their handle and profile and do get away from it, so I really don’t have a clue what is allowed and what is not).  I now end my little missive with “use backdoor” (subtle, huh?).  One is very limited on space, so choose your words carefully.  That said, I am amazed by how many members use this space to disparage other members who choose not to show their face.  But then, I think that says A LOT more about who they are, so good to know before I bother.  I read that stuff and just block ‘em. 
Performance on Droid:
Really crappy.  It makes my phone freeze a lot, to the point where I have to take my battery out and reboot my phone.  With every upgrade it just seems to get worse.  It takes forever to load, too.  Can be very frustrating.
Issues: There’s no way to filter who is on your main page.   Frequently someone is shown to be on-line, when, in fact, they are not.  There’s no way to tell who has looked at your profile and no way of indicating whether you are interested in someone without actually contacting them directly. Aside from the slow load time and the freezing, the other main gripe would be that people can contact you, but you will probably be unable to see their profile or even their handle.  If you hit the back button to go to your main page in order the person’s profile does not make itself apparent and frequently you are left wondering who the hell just sent you a message.  It can also take a long time for that profile to appear fully – as in, to reveal their pic.  It also seems to take the administrators of this site a long time to approve a new profile pic.  Another problem are the ads that run at the bottom of the app.  When you go to hit send message or something, you will frequently accidently also touch the ad, which then sends you immediately to that site.  This sucks, is frustrating, and probably done on purpose, because every one of those accidental hits register as a real hit for the site, so then Grindr can turn to the advertiser and say – but look at the numbers!  That is a kind of a sucky way to dupe your advertisers. Yeah, I really do not like this application.  And the only thing worse than the app, would be the…
Members:
I guess this is my biggest gripe about this program.  A lot of these dudes need to have a reality check.  They are on a website designed to put gay men in contact with one another.  So things of a sexual nature may come up from time to time.  If that bothers you, maybe a program named Grindr is not for you.   Get a grip.  Get a life.  Grow the fuck up.  I have blocked more people on this site because of what they have to say about themselves in that tiny info box provided on the profile.  I can spot a nice dick from quite a distance.  I can spot a person who IS a total dick a lot quicker.   There are a lot of men who are real big dicks on Grindr, probably because they have such tiny ones.  That, or their bodies look like shit and they can’t seem to get their asses to a gym.  Don’t hate on those of us who do make an effort and want to share those results with the world.   (Are you starting to get a hint of my real motivation for writing this entry?)  I feature a body pic because I want to lead with my best stuff.  If I was really handsome I would post a face pic, but a good face pic is an elusive butterfly where I am concerned.  However, please, feel free to dismiss me and write me off because I choose to display my headless torso.  Because if that is the type of person you are, I don’t want anything to do with you. The type of guys that frequent this site run the gamut from very young to about 50 years.  I would say the bulk of them are snobs/elitists of one kind or another.  That bores me, and, therefore, so does this app.  You will find your young professionals, your twinks, your fashion queens, your PNPer’s, your party bois, and a number of escorts on this site.  Ick.

Scruff
This is the second app I tried.  Much better.  Much more relaxed.
Interface:
Real straight forward, I guess.  Again, the menu button on your phone is key.  Sending pics is really easy.  So is contacting someone.  Opens to a screen of little boxes.  At the top are several menu items: Global, Nearby, Favorites, and Messages.  If you have a message waiting, a little red dot will appear by the menu item.  They place limits on the number of people you can view, in order of proximity, but a lot more than Grindr offers.   A small bright green dot will appear in the bottom left corner of the person’s profile pic, if the person is actually on-line.The basic menu includes: Reload, Lad More, City Search, Viewers, Store and More (under which you will find Events, Checkin, and Settings).The Nearby screen will show profiles in order of proximity via GPS.  Again, revealing your location is optional.To sign off of the program completely, you have to go through Settings.  In order to read messages you must be on-line.  Even if you exit the program when prompted, you may still be on-line.  You will be notified on your main phone screen if you have a message, provided you are still on-line. Overall, even with its many features (and maybe because of them), I find this to be an easy app to navigate.
Features:
There are tons.  You can contact others with a ‘woof’.  I woof everyone.  It can mean you’re interested in them, but I just use it as a way to say hi and be friendly.  If they woof back or message me, then I know if they are interested.  I stop woofing someone after not hearing from them after a couple of times.  You are also able to see who took a gander at your profile.  Usually if I see that someone has looked at my profile, I hit them up with a woof.  The City Search feature is real convenient when looking for a profile outside of your immediate area or if you are traveling.    Uploading a photo to someone is easy.  I also find that it takes a lot less than half the time that it does on Grindr.
Profiles: 
They are picky about what they allow you to upload for a photo.  Again, you only get one! Most dudes have a face pic, but many do not.  Currently, I have a headless body shot of me in a jock strap.  As long as you keep your goodies covered, I think all is good. Standard handle applies and appears above your pic.  You can place the basic info on top of your photo in a shaded box: height, weight, age, etc. and what you are looking for (chat, friends, dating, etc.).   Then you need to scroll down in order to learn more about a dude. 
You can provide a lot of additional information if you like, including What I Do, What I’m Looking For, Activities + Interests, and Where I Live.  Overt sexual pandering is not allowed, but you can make allusions to what it is you are looking for. 
Performance on Droid:
Quite good.  Quick to open, quick to upload photos.  I have no complaints.
Issues:  You have to use the menu items at the top to get around.  Just hitting the back key is not sufficient.  I frequently forget when looking at messages to use the menu button to view the person’s profile.   Otherwise, this is a pretty trouble-free site.  Probably my favorite of all those I have experienced.
Members:
The type of guys that frequent this site run the gamut from very young to about 60 years.  I would say a bulk of them are good eggs; nice guys!  Most understand what the site is used for and are not uptight.  I would say you are more likely to run into a bear, and alternative scenes are likely to figure into to most dude’s profiles.  The term I would like to apply here is ‘real men’.  They are not fashion queens or gym bunnies.  And, yes, as one might guess, facial hair is featured predominantly by its members.  I have only had one issue with one member, and that was because I failed to read his profile before sending him pics.  Granted, the only reason I sent him my pics is because he contacted me and his primary photo featured him shirtless, licking his armpit.  But, hey, I guess the dude has issues with nude pics.  Fuck him.  I blocked him.

Conclusion:
Scruff had is all over Grindr.  And, yes, while my personal experience may have a lot to do with this perception, I think my opinion is still quite on the mark.  Scruff simply offers more features and is easier to use.

Next week: Jack’d and GROWLr

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