Willow is one of the few dating sites that try to approach online dating from a different perspective. At first, we were used to traditional dating. We needed to go out of our homes and talk to people and hope that we run into the right person. Then, technology gave rise to online dating that exploded in popularity in the last decade. It now allows people to connect from the comfort of their homes, which is its biggest selling point.
However, as time went on, online dating took an entirely different direction. Most platforms today focus more on casual daters who want nothing more than quick and easy hookups. Many dating sites follow this trend and put greater emphasis on physical appearance than character.
People who want to create deep and meaningful relationships with others feel left out because they do not have many options. If that is you, then look no further because Willow will bring the social aspect back to online dating. The best part? Willow is free to use.
Willow was founded back in 2014 but only started to rise in popularity in 2015. This means that Willow has less than ten years of experience in the online dating industry. Considering that they also want to challenge the norm of online dating, Willow faces a considerable challenge because of their lack of experience.
Willow is owned by Willow App LLC. This company does not have many examples and lessons to learn from other dating platforms that came before it. There are not many dating sites that offer anything similar to what Willow does. But their lack of experience and examples have not stopped them from creating an amazing dating site, as you will soon see.
First, let’s talk about how you can become a member of Willow. Unfortunately, Willow does not have a desktop site. It is exclusively a mobile dating platform. So to register, you will need to download Willow app. Another issue is that it is only available on the App Store, meaning that Android users cannot use Willow at all.
But if you are an iOS user, you can get it for free on the App Store and register from there. There are two ways to do this. You can either go a long route and register using your phone number; or, you can make things easy and link your social media account to Willow App.
If you register via a phone number, then Willow will send you a message with a verification code that you need to enter to finalize your registration process. From there, you should provide personal details such as your name, gender, age, and optionally, an email address.
Alternatively, you can link your Facebook account to Willow, and they will import personal details, such as email & name, to create your profile. Finally, users can decide whether they want to receive message notifications.
To communicate with other users, you must answer questions posted on another user’s profile. After answering these questions, you can start chatting with that person. The chat system is basic and adequate, as it is very similar to Facebook messaging system.
Unfortunately, there is no way of looking up other users based on their physical appearance or even location. Instead, you have to find people based on their interests. You can choose the tag in the Discovery tab, and you will be presented with various questions. You can answer or skip to the next one.
You can delete your account at the bottom of your account settings page. All it takes is a couple of quick taps.
That said, let’s talk about the userbase on Willow, so you know what to expect from them. Unfortunately, we do not have the exact number of users on this site. But considering that they have been around for about five years, it is safe to assume that they have at least 100,000 registered users, maybe more.
Willow isn’t specifically catered toward gay dating or the LGBT+ community. That does not mean that users are not allowed to create an account if they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or anything. Anyone can join regardless of their sexual preference.
Race and ethnicity do not play a big role in Willow matching process. It does not restrict users based on these factors, so everyone is welcome. Even so, considering that Willow was initially launched in the US, we can safely assume that most users also live in the US. You might not find many people elsewhere.
This site welcomes users from various backgrounds, even though they do not reveal any exact stats on religious affiliations. Still, we assume most beliefs are accepted on this site.
Willow is 100%, so there is no premium or paid services at all. All users are welcome to enjoy the full functionality of this service without paying a single dime.
Next, let’s talk about measures Willow puts in place to protect its users. Thankfully, the protection they provide is more than enough to keep their users safe. That, in addition to users’ safety practices, helps keep Willow 100% secure from hackers and scammers.
We checked out Willow’s desktop site, and we can tell that they do not provide an encrypted connection there. While this is considered a huge red flag, keep in mind that users cannot share any personal information on this site. So, the lack of encryption does not matter anyway. However, users do enjoy encrypted connection while using the Willow mobile app.
When it comes to privacy protection, there is not much to talk about. Willow, as with many other websites out there, guarantees that their users’ information will be kept confidential. You can breathe easy knowing that whatever you shared on Willow stays on Willow.
What about scammer protection? Indeed, it does not take much for scammers to create an account. Even so, that does not mean they can scam other people easily. Here, the protection comes from the community rather than Willow itself. Everyone simply wants to talk while they are on Willow and do not want to commit to anything unless they know another user in person. For this reason, scammers won’t find success here.
Finally, Willow incorporates a reporting system that allows members to report people who misbehave on Willow. The moderation team will investigate and take appropriate measures against said users, which may result in a permanent suspension of their accounts.
Overall, we believe that Willow provides more than enough protection for their audience.
Since Willow emphasizes conversation more than physical appearance, you will not get much information from users just by looking at their profiles. That is not to say that people are limited in how they can express themselves, however. They have a few ways to do that.
On the profile page, you will see three main tabs. The first tab (three lines) is where most of the user’s information is stored. It is divided into three sections. One of them is the traits section, which you can customize based on the list of traits. It helps tell others what kind of person you are. You can also tell others what school you went to by selecting it from the list or entering one if it is not available. Finally, users are provided with a small text box for their bio. Try to come up with a clever and unique paragraph that tells others about yourself and your personality.
The next tab is accessible by clicking on the question mark icon. Here, users can put questions that you can answer so you can get matched with that user. Answering these questions is necessary to view the user’s photo gallery.
The third and final tab is the media tab. Here, you can upload photos as another way to express yourself. Willow does not encourage users to upload photos of themselves since it deviates from their original purpose. Instead, users are told to upload photos of the activities they enjoy doing. That way, other people on Willow have a better sense of your character.
Willow also places another layer of protection to ensure that matches are purely based on interest. You cannot view other users’ photos unless you answer questions posted in the second tab. From there, said users will receive a notification that you did and can then decide whether to allow you to see their photo gallery.
While Willow puts more of its effort into developing its mobile platform, they have not neglected their desktop site either. You can argue that there is no point for Willow to maintain their desktop site if all their members are using their mobile app. However, neglecting the desktop site would mean cutting corners, and that is never a good sign.
Fortunately, it does not appear to be the case with Willow because anyone can tell at a glance that they put a lot of effort into designing their website. As the name suggests, they went for the white and light green colors. This gives the website a professional look. All texts are readable as they are large and contrast the background nicely.
Of course, there is not much to look at on Willow desktop site since users are supposed to use their mobile app anyway. Still, it is nice to see that they keep their website updated constantly. You can follow their social media page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube by scrolling down to the bottom of the landing page.
Willow works by matching users based on their interests. These interests come in the form of tags that you can look up. The tags are linked to various questions you need to answer to get matched with other users.
As mentioned before, the only way you can use Willow is through its mobile app. Since they poured more budget and human resources into developing this mobile app, we expect them to provide a high-quality product. They did not disappoint us, aside from the fact that there is no Android version, just an iPhone one.
The overall design on their mobile app reflects their desktop site, using the same combination of light green and white with large contrasting fonts for better readability. We are very impressed with how they put all of their features into convenient tabs and sectioned everything properly. This is easier said than done because mobile devices have a very small screen compared to a desktop. You need to plan your designs carefully to fit all the features into such a small space without confusing users. Willow accomplished just that, and their app is very simple and easy to use even for those who have not used dating apps in the past.
Upon logging in, you will be taken to a homepage where you can access every other feature Willow has to offer. For one, you have Popular, Global, and Local tabs. Here, you will find questions posted by other users on Willow.
You can access Settings by clicking on a gearwheel icon on the top left. To start a new conversation, click on the speech bubble with a plus sign located at the top right corner. To look up users, click on a magnifying glass. Finally, there is the speech bubble icon without the plus sign. This is where you can find all the answers you have put in your profiles, as well as any answers you got from other users. The fifth icon represents your profile.
The animations are very smooth, and the loading time is short as well, which means that the team put a lot of effort into optimizing their app. We also experienced no bugs while testing this service.
In short, Willow manages to keep its mobile app clutter-free despite having so many features to offer. We experienced no issue while using their app, which proves that the team put a lot of effort into perfecting their mobile platform. The only downside here is that Android users cannot use Willow, and we hope to see an Android version coming out in the future.
If Willow does not suit your needs, what other alternatives do you have? Here are some suggestions:
In the end, do we recommend you use Willow? Of course! That is not to say that Willow is 100% perfect, though. There is still room for improvement, one of which is the fact that they need to have an Android version. Other than that, we have nothing much to complain about what they provide.
The app is very easy to use, and it provides a really pleasant experience. Their biggest selling point is their low, low price of $0, and when you consider all the features you are getting, it is hard to argue that price point. Willow accomplishes what it set out to do by emphasizing the social aspect of dating and taking the spotlight away from physical appearance. Considering that you won’t spend a single penny anyway, we see no reason why you shouldn’t give Willow a try.
Company: Willow App LLC
Address: 9405 Saybrook Ave. Silver Spring Md 20901