Another Dating App Wants to Dethrone LinkedIn

The list of dating sites confident they can conquer the world of employment is long, and the list of failures and false starts is equally as long. Think of it as one big dating disaster. Not to be deterred, here come the aspirations of BumbleBizz.

Single readers may have already been stung by the Bumble craze, a popular dating app targeting females potentially put off by Tinder. Unlike the app that first made swiping-right so popular, Bumble’s claim to fame is that ladies must initiate contact in a heterosexual match for a conversation to commence. If both parties fail to reply within 24 hours, the match gets trashed. The app claims more than 50,000 new users each day.

Such success has led to Bumble branching beyond dating. In addition to dates, friendships are encouraged with BumbleBFF. “Bumble is also the first of its kind to bring friend-finding to social networking. Now you can swipe through potential dates and friends on the same platform,” says the company’s AppStore page.

Now, the company is looking to launch BumbleBizz in order to facilitate professional networking, and eventually job seeking. Stop me if you’ve heard this concept before: You will set-up a private profile for networking where anyone can match with you, but — and this is unique — women alone can initiate contact. Bizz’s goal is to introduce users to new contacts as opposed to ones they already know. For instance, two professionals who live in Chicago and are marketing professionals will be able to connect and get acquainted.

There will be an ad campaign this fall to promote the service, and Bizz will go to market with partners like Postmates and Outdoor Voices, according to a story in Fast Company. Hiring managers at these companies will help fill open positions by swiping through candidates they target. The idea hatched over a year ago. Forbes and TechCrunch have stories from 2016 talking about Bizz, but founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe said the timing then, unlike now, wasn’t right.

History, however, says the timing will never be right for dating sites looking to take on the highly competitive landscape of employment matching. Consider the following:

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  • Plenty of Fish. Founder Markus Frind briefly explored the option of adding professional networking in the early days of the company, but it never happened. The site sold to Match Group, an IAC/InterActive subsidiary, for $575 million in 2015.
  • Tinder. In 2015, the popular dating app added the ability to include job and education information to profiles. Speculation that this would lay the foundation for it to compete with LinkedIn rose. Tinder’s parent company, Match, goes public that same year and no progress has been made to compete in recruitment.
  • eHarmony. With much pomp-and-circumstance, Elevated Careers, a product of the popular algorithmic dating service, launched in 2016. A year later, the company waved the white flag on tackling the employment space and sold the business to little-known Candidate.guru.

Of course, on the other side, there’s no shortage of job sites looking to dating sites for inspiration (talkin’ to you, Jobr), but that’s a whole different trail of dead. BumbleBizz is hoping to change the trend of dating sites conquering employment and putting LinkedIn on the ropes, but here are a few reasons why this is unlikely.

  1. There’s already a really good networking site for finding a job. It’s called LinkedIn, and it’s been in business for almost 15 years. It also has an owner in Microsoft with immensely deep pockets and a clear objective to take the business to new heights.
  2. Branding is a powerful force in commerce. LinkedIn equals professional networking; Bumble equals female-empowered dating. Neither brand will change easily, if at all, and simply adding “Bizz” won’t alter impressions.
  3. LinkedIn users already have contacts. In some cases, thousands that they’ve spent many years building. They’re not going to jump to another network and start from scratch.
  4. Even if BumbleBizz is targeting millennials who aren’t necessarily on LinkedIn, young people don’t typically hand out the job opportunities to other young folks. When young people want a job, they still have to do so through people older than them. That’s not going to change.

When bees sting an attacker, they end up dying shortly thereafter. Victims rarely, however, die. BumbleBizz may be looking to inflict some pain on LinkedIn’s industry dominance, but history says the fatality is more likely to fall on Bizz itself, much like its black-and-yellow winged namesake.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.