Once is a self-proclaimed slow dating app promoting quality over quantity of matches. These matches are based on an advanced machine learning algorithm that provides you with one curated match per day. As a novel feature, they also allow female users to rate their real-life dates online! Once was launched in France in 2015 and now boasts over 10 million users worldwide.
Their focus on what they term “personalized matchmaking” is not algorithm-based but is facilitated by a team of over 120 professional matchmakers who create their match suggestions based on profile information. The proximity and activity of other users nearby also determine all presented matches.
The Once app replicates the good old-fashioned feeling of meeting a person for the first time. The twist? You have only 24 hrs in which to engage with your potential match, which provides a great impetus to those who are prone to procrastination.
As a novel blend of modern and traditional features, this one-on-one dating app has incorporated Fitbit technology, letting users know if their profile made their potential match’s heart beat faster. Neat, huh?
In a novel feature, especially in the #metoo society, women can review the chats, dates, and profile pics of any person they went on a date with and submit their review via the Once internal monitoring team. Once this review is approved and rid of non-constructive elements, these ratings and reviews are open to being viewed by all members of Once online community.
Clementine Lalande, co-CEO of Once, stated that this move was a reaction to some of the appalling experiences her women friends had had while using online dating platforms. She made it her mission to provide a safe and protected environment for women engaged in online dating. Gearing her online site to avoid the likelihood of catfishing and general fishing tactics (contacting multiple users in the hope of several responses.)
Once team researched why women were not so happy about online dating and created novel solutions to common problems of harassment, ghosting, and suchlike. Once’s rating system for dates with male users on the site created a stir in the online dating world. Meyer stands firmly behind this feature, however, going as far as to say that men who were not willing to be rated, were not the sort that he wished to have in his user base.
He went even further to say that this rating system was a move away from superficial ratings based on looks and gave smart, witty, and interesting guys a leg up in terms of potential dates. When accused of sexism towards the male users, he countered that in the post-Weinstein world, women should be empowered to speak out openly about their dating experiences.
When was Once Founded?
Once dating app was created in March 2015 in Switzerland, inspired by “I – um,” a south Korean application based on the premise of more selective – more serious in terms of dating. Once was launched in the UK in 2016.
Who Owns Once?
Once was created by Jean Meyer (CEO), Guillaume Sempe (CTO), Guihem Duche (Product Manager), and DA Fabrice Fardeau in Feusisberg, Switzerland. Meyer had tried his hand before in the dating scene and co-founded “DateMySchool,” a student-based dating site in the US.
Registration & Profile
With the option of email or Facebook, signing up is quick and easy. You will then be asked basic bio questions such as age, gender, sexual preference, and phone number for authentication purposes.
For the folk who like to take misty 40’s style profile pics, sorry for you. You have to submit a clear shot of your mug or Once will give you Tinder-style left swipe. This is another way that Once aims to prevent all those fake profilers lurking about online with their hand in their trousers.
You can provide more detailed information after registration, to further aid the matchmaking team in finding your potential mate.
Once team claims that the one a day match system removes the pressure of competing against multiple partners, eliminating the distraction of multiple conversations and allowing users to focus on communication without distractions.
Once a day, at noon, you will be presented with one awesome match, lovingly handpicked for you from the pool of eligible dates. The focus here is on active members, and free messaging is like Cinderella’s pumpkin that expires in 24 hours. After that, you will have to offer up a “Crown” to chat, which is not cheap.
If you are someone who likes to go searching for your Prince on your own, you will not find joy on this platform. You are limited to the matches lovingly handpicked for only your perusal. The usual flirts and winks and woo and whatnot are in limited supply here. These guys are serious about you being earnestly looking to find your match.
You can better improve your matches by rating photos of other members to help the merry matchmakers learn your type and taste for their selection process. Some users have complained that this Tinder-like appraisal of images only, without any defining information, is superficial for a site that claims to be facilitating serious, long term matches.
For a fee, you can use the “Match Preference” option, where you answer more in-depth questions to better help your matchmakers choose your perfect partner. You can get your Facebook friends to review you for your match to read. Great news. For people with great friends. For some with not so good friends, such a review would make your potential matches block you in a heartbeat.
In a totally out-the-box idea, Once incorporated Fitbit technology to let see your heart rate in real-time when you view your daily match and to also know if your match’s heartbeat increased when he viewed yours. So basically, this app notifies users when both their heartrates increase while looking at each other’s profiles.
This is based on what happens in the brain, chemically, when viewing someone that attracts you. These chemicals range from adrenaline to norepinephrine and other biology-based cocktails that set a person’s heart racing. Co-founder Meyer claims that the combination of the one a day curated match selection and human heart rate features, really sets the Once app apart from its competitors. This technology is only currently available in France, Spain, and the UK.
How to Search for People on Once?
Once has your romantic destiny firmly in hand, but you will have to be patient while they deliver up your daily match. Your chances of being proactive and hunting down your own match are somewhat limited on this app. Some people feel that this site should allow for more user choice, still following the slow date ethos, but with enhanced user participation in the search process.
You may send a one-time message to your one a day match to start the ball rolling, but you will have to use your crowns to do this. Then you had better hope and pray that they are wakey-wakey and that they respond within 24 hours, or you are going to have to pay.
How to Delete your Once Account?
If you decide to delete your Once Account permanently, send Customer Care a message with your phone number, email, or Facebook email, so that they can locate your profile and remove it permanently. Just be aware that all matches and all profile information will be lost, and you will have to register from scratch if you decide to go back.
Once dating app was first launched in France and now services seven West European countries. The user-base has a higher percentage of women users, and the highest active member age group is mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Meyer claims a 60 / 40 ratio of women users to men due, in part, to the safety protocols of Once dating app.
LinkedIn estimates Once user base at an impressive 10 million users strong, with over 5 million chats a day in France, UK, and Spain. Plans for Once to launch in the US are currently in the pipeline. So, keep a watch if you want to give it a try.
At registration, Once app allows users to choose their sexual preference. So, it’s not just for straight people.
Race and Ethnicity
Once has an inclusive policy towards all races and ethnicities. However, this company is pretty secretive about their users’ racial stats.
Once does not discriminate against any religious orientation. Their focus is only on providing quality and personalized matches to their client base.
The pricing policy of Once, at first glance, seems to occupy the middle range field in terms of app fees. There have been user complaints that the Crown system is exploited to give a false reflection of real monthly membership costs. Without Crowns and VIP membership, it is difficult to get any real satisfaction out of this site. Subscription automatically renews and may be canceled only once it expires.
Once free features are impressively limited. The only benefits for free users are:
Free handpicked match each day at noon
Free chat if your match likes you back within 24 hours
This plan is the only way to fully enjoy Once and its services. It allows to:
Discover who has given you a 4- or 5-star rating
Filter your distance settings with more accuracy
Extra three matches a day plus a Premium match
Find out who passed you or not
Choose who you want to chat with the next day if they like you
VIP membership cost are as follows:
1 Month 19.99 USD / Month 19.99 USD Total
3 Months 15.00 USD / Month 45.00 USD Total
6 Months 10.00 USD / Month 60.00 USD Total
5 Credits 1.80 USD / Credit 8.99 USD Total
15 Credits 1.20 USD / Credit 17.98 USD Total
30 Credits 0.90 USD / Credit 26.99 USD Total
100 Credits 0.75 USD / Credit 74.98 USD Total
How to Cancel your Once Paid Subscription?
Subscriptions can’t be canceled while still in progress, and your VIP pass will continue to function until it expires. Subscription cancellation policies are dependent upon the platform from which you purchased the account. iOS devices are subject to Apple’s policies, and Androids are subject to Android cancellation policies. So, to stop any recurring payments from Once, users should access their respective stores and make all cancelations there.
Is Once Safe?
ONCE uses an external service provider to help it detect fraudulent behaviors and strives its best to ensure that its users remain safe on site. Strict profile photograph vetting and mobile phone number authentication lessen the chance of fake profiles and bots.
Sensitive information, such as financials, is secured by the Google and Apple encryptions and is not recorded by Once administration.
Quality of Profiles
Due to the mobile number authentication process and strict profile photograph standards, the Once site has a comparatively lower incidence of fake profiles than other online dating platforms. When filled out completely, the profiles are clear and informative.
Once claims to deliver the best quality profiles, curated by both a real-life matchmaking team and also based on a scientific algorithm-based machine learning system that refines your matches according to the feedback you deliver on the app.
Besides the usual basic information of height, gender, ethnicity and education, users have the option of further preferences such as smoking and drinking habits and suchlike. The support team is active and available to remove any offensive behavior and any forms of fraudulent behavior that a member might encounter.
Website Design and Usability
The Once website is sleek with minimal text and clear, inspiring images of happy-looking twenty-something models. The logo is quirky, and it’s of no surprise that the logo has a frog on it since the website was designed to make a more secure and personalized app that attracted more female users who are weary of kissing frogs.
On the App store version, the app has an unimpressive 3.4 stars out of 5 with 1.4k ratings. Google Play comes in with a more impressive 4.4 out of 5 stars with other 280,000 ratings. The app is user friendly and stylish and modern in design. As yet, there is no desktop version of the Once dating site.
Alternatives of Once
Coffee Meets Bagel is also a female-centric app that focuses on quality matches over quantity. The matches, however, are algorithm-based and not by human design. They appeal to much the same age demographic of twenty-somethings to thirty-somethings.
EliteSingles is also in competition with the age demographic that Once dominates in Europe. An extensive personality test created by Psychologists and relationship experts ensures a highly specialized and personalized matchmaking algorithm to pair up users.
OkCupid is another dating alternative to the Once app, which is low priced and hip, focusing on those who don’t want to hear wedding bells, but who also don’t want to meet strangers for an NSA shag. Over 50 million users seem to agree.
Co-founder of Once dating app, Clémentine Lalande, feels that slow dating has many advantages over the traditional multi-match systems in modern dating apps. Swiping your life away in an endless selection of potential mates does not seem to get us closer to finding suitable long-term matches.
With the onus on one quality match per day, users can really spend time and consideration on each profile without comparing it with the dozens of profiles on hand. Clémentine believes that this can harm users’ self-esteem as, when they are not liked by a number of men, this can affect a user’s self-confidence.
Slow dating also saves a user time as trawling through dozens of profiles a day can be tedious and repetitive. If you don’t like your match of the day, simply wait until tomorrow. Easy, isn’t it? Not only does Once have curated, quality profiles, but it also features algorithm and machine learning systems adapting to your feedback and thus providing better matches.
Once’s one a day notification is also quite refreshing. Supposedly, we have all experienced that dating app that filled our inboxes to bursting with incessant matches.
Making male users answerable for their behaviors is also a novel approach for the kinds of creeps one meets on the larger Tinder-style dating sights. Ideally, women can look out for one another, but one has some misgivings that the rating system could be used for evil and not good (hell hath no fury, so they say.)
One also questions just how suitable matches are when users are based further out from the urban centers. But, that is a problem ubiquitous with most dating apps. All in all, Once has a sleek interface and offers a nice chance to slow things down a bit in the rat race of life. The numbers don’t lie, and it seems Once is onto something here.
RH Certified Relationship Coach, True Connections™️ Head Couples Coach
I feel like my calling is to help people. For many years I have been improving skills as a professional coach and all of my clients has taken a step forward and changed their life for the better. 19 happy married couples are proof of this!