Following a trademark dispute with Zynga, the team behind the hookup app Bang With Friends rebranded as Down, adjusted their approach, and launched on Android. Now those changes have come to iOS as well, with an update that was quietly released earlier this week.
I never tried Bang With Friends (that's my story and I'm sticking to it), but in addition to a revamped user interface, it sounds like the new Down app differs in two big ways.
First, it's no longer just focused on, well, banging. Instead, users are asked to distinguish between people they want to date and those they just want to hook up with - they swipe up to “get date”, swipe down to “get down”, and swipe left to skip. (People are only notified of your response if they say they're interested too.)
In addition, Down has expanded its potential matches, so it doesn't just show you Facebook friends but also friends of friends. That doesn't just expand the pool, but may also make the “get down” dynamic feel a little less awkward. (I felt pretty mortified when I opened the app for the first time and was immediately asked about my interest in various Facebook friends.) Plus, you can now search through friends and friends of friends by name.
Founder Colin Hodge told me via email that many of the changes came “directly from our female users.” For example, here's how he explained he expansion to friends of friends (for readability, I've tweaked some of the spacing and capitalization):
One of the things women told us they loved in the first version is that it feels safer than other dating apps because you already know the other person is real and you're connected to them (you are friends on Facebook). We took this to heart when thinking about the best way to expand everyone's dating pool. Now many users have thousands of potential dates or hookups because we expanded it to people your friends know. By looking at who your Facebook friends are connected to, we can show you real people who likely have lots in common with you – and at a minimum, you run in the same circles.
The company says that the new version on Android has already encouraged repeat usage of the app, with more than 300 percent growth in two-day retention and 200 percent growth in one-day retention.