Portland residents Lauren Gamache, left, and Ryan Murphy have developed an online dating app they hope provides a safer experience for singles. Contributed

PORTLAND — After experiencing the pitfalls of online dating firsthand, a pair of city residents have developed a dating app they hope offers singles a more secure approach to the pursuit of love.

Next month, business partners Lauren Gamache and Ryan Murphy expect to launch Love The Network, a mobile dating app that will try to change the way singles meet and get to know each other online, by ensuring those who use the application are who they say they are.

Love The Network promises to allow users to build dating connections they can trust. Contributed

Their goal, the developers said, is to create a safer experience that eliminates unsolicited sexual advances and scams, fake accounts and users who have criminal backgrounds.

The app, which will be available for Android and Apple devices, is being piloted in New England before perhaps expanding to other regions.

Murphy said users will have to agree to background checks to make sure they have not been convicted of domestic violence, are not on sex offender lists or have a recent criminal background. He said users’ social media accounts will also be reviewed to prevent “catphishing” – luring people into a relationship through a fake online persona.

“It is easy for people to be using online dating who shouldn’t be. The user takes on the burden of researching to make sure someone is the person they say they are,” Gamache said. “You spend all this time messaging back and forth and develop a connection, only to find out the person isn’t for real or is already in a relationship. A lot of people get frustrated by that. That’s why we are trying to ease that burden.”

The app is now in a closed beta test, but Murphy said he hopes to have it publicly available for open beta testing by early August. Although the app was developed with the help of engineers in India, feedback included input from testers in the local community.

Users can filter connections by age, location and gender. Once a connection is made, individuals are notified and can exchange messages and view each other’s social feeds. Users can also save the profiles that interest them. The app, Murphy said, will be available on a subscription basis for $45 a month, or $85 for three months. A three-month subscription would be $85.

Gamache said the idea came to her and Murphy last year.

“We noticed a problem and discussed what we could do about it,” she said. Originally they wanted to launch a website, but eventually decided an app would cater to the growing number of people who surf the internet and social media on their cellphones.

Gamache and Murphy acknowledged there is no shortage of online dating sites and apps, but Murphy said most “don’t take responsibility” for vetting users.

“The Internet has, I think, made everything easier, but dating,” he said. The response thus far has been positive, he added.

“I think this is going to do well. It is needed,” Murphy said. “It’s not going to be for everyone obviously, but that’s OK. That’s why there is other stuff out there.”


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