Breaking Ice: A Dating App That Was Years Ahead of Its Time
Media, Publishing & Entertainment
James McCarthy and Regan Theil came up with an idea for a dating app that nobody had ever tried before, and in 2011 they founded Attaboy Productions to bring it to life. The husband and wife team from Stratford, Canada, believed there was a market for a different online dating experience—one that used geolocation to connect users in the same bar, park, restaurant, or neighborhood. Users could still search broad geographic areas. However, the primary emphasis of Breaking Ice, as they would come to call the app, would be to connect users who were physically nearby at any given moment.
James and Regan believed that Breaking Ice would be a welcome departure from the way most dating sites worked, where users scanned profiles and reached out with a message. The process was slow and drawn out, and it lacked privacy since anyone on the site had access to a user’s entire profile. Also, most dating sites were full of spammers and harassers. James and Regan wanted Breaking Ice to be different.
Convinced they had a winning idea, James began his search for a development partner that would turn their vision into a reality. He stumbled across Net Solutions, and he was impressed by their vast experience and expertise, so he decided to hire them.
The team responded quickly and efficiently. Everyone was amazing.
Net Solutions adopted an Agile methodology to first build a backlog and wireframes for the product. Next, they had James review and sign off on the concept, confirming that Net Solutions shared James and Regan’s vision for the platform.
Net Solutions' Sprint-based development meant that the team gave regular updates to James, demonstrating their progress at every step as they moved toward the anticipated launch date. In the end, they produced an app with the following features.
Private profiles: Each user could create a complete profile of themselves, but most of their information would remain private until two users matched.
Geolocation-based searching and matching: A user could narrow the search for other users by their geolocation, limiting the search to the immediate vicinity (e.g., a bar or nightclub) or expanding out gradually. They could also choose to search someplace far away from their current location, allowing them to find a match with users in another city they planned to visit.
Powerful filters: Users could filter results to find a specific match by searching for, or weeding out, specific criteria. This delivered users relevant results and increased the probability of finding a better match.
Advanced privacy controls: Way ahead of its time, and largely thanks to James’ own working experience in the data protection industry, the app protected users’ privacy with features like “Invisible Mode” that hid their location. It also allowed for anonymous chatting until both users agreed to disclose their complete profiles to each other.
Spam & abuse blocking: Net Solutions implemented an algorithm to detect spamming on the platform and automatically block spammers. The system then generated an alert to the admin so they could investigate the problematic messages. The admin could also manage a profanity dictionary, which the app used to mute abusive language. A user could add more words to the profanity dictionary themselves, identifying any words they wanted to hide from the conversation.
Attaboy Productions launched the app on the Apple store in 2012, and it picked up a significant following in a short time. Users all around the world began signing up and enjoying this new dating app and its groundbreaking features.
The app looked fantastic. Everything was on schedule despite changes.