Just in time for Pride month, a new social-first dating app for gay, bisexual, and queer men called Archer announced its launch, promising a new way to meet, date, and celebrate the community.
The company said that the dating experience for this community has evolved from a place of anonymity to celebration and pride, and Archer was developed to reflect that progress by prioritizing community, self-expression, and user safety. The app will be available in the New York City area this summer and will roll out nationally within the year.
Archer debuts under Match Group as the first major innovation in the space in nearly a decade. Archer was created in partnership with gay, bisexual, and queer community advocates. Through the use of AI technology insights and extensive market research, including in-depth surveys and interviews, Archer aims to create a safer space for men to seek boldly and aim freely for whatever type of connection they desire.
The app is engineered with purpose-driven features intended to keep users safer while allowing each person to share and express themselves at their discretion. Archer’s elevated mobile UX will allow users to express themselves in a deeper way through photo-centric, feed-style profiles, various feed and grid view options, group messaging, and no pre-set labels, combining a social media experience with a dating app to create community-building opportunities.
Features immediately available to users at signup include:
- Profile Photo Verification: Selfie verification is required at signup, designed to mitigate abuse and fraud, so that users are more authentically represented and verified via their profile photo. Encouraging celebration over anonymity, users must have a verified photo that includes their face as their primary profile photo.
- Interactive UI/UX Interface: Archer’s interface is a customizable experience featuring three different profile-viewing options. Users can scroll through a linear feed, viewing one profile at a time, a zoomed-in grid showcasing 15 profiles, or a zoomed-out grid for viewing dozens of profiles at once. The interactive layout caters to a new generation of daters, allowing users to choose their own dating adventure — whether that’s a friend, hookup, date, relationship, or just someone to chat with.
- Community Building Tools: People on Archer will be able to “follow” others — a social-first feature that will continue to evolve in the coming months. Users can also express themselves through pre-set tags, making it easier to find users with similar interests and allowing them to set filters for what they’re seeking. Following the launch, free-form tags will become available for users to customize their own tags.
- Enhanced AI and Human Moderation Features: Using a combination of AI technology and human moderation, Archer requires that all profiles are content-rich and high-quality, and that users adhere to Archer’s community guidelines and safety policies. This technology is used further in Archer’s chat feature, smart-blurring photos that may contain nudity to help give users agency to control when or if they see the photo.
“Archer’s innovation — combining the connection-seeking of dating with the self-expression of social media — has created a new type of experience for this community to interact and connect with one another,” said Marcus Lofthouse, Chief Product Officer at Archer. “We’ve relied on feedback from the community to build the unique platform experience they’re looking for to empower men to be their full selves, and to genuinely, and more safely, connect with others.”
Archer is committed to curating its app experience to meet the needs of today’s daters. Through the developmental phase, Archer worked with over 1,200 gay, bisexual, and queer men through surveys, interviews, and feature testing. Additionally, Archer will continue to evolve the app with the support of its community advocates, a group of diverse queer men who’ve helped steer the direction of Archer’s app development. Archer is also proud to partner with GLAAD — the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization — to help create an app that is reflective of the community it serves. Archer and GLAAD will continue to work together on future iterations of the app, including new initiatives that support the queer community.
“When I first tried dating apps almost a decade ago as a closeted gay man, the options available only reinforced the idea that love and connection in our community should be hidden,” added Michael Kaye, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications at Archer. “Archer ushers in a new age of dating, celebrating self-expression and community and providing queer men with a safer space to connect freely with whoever they’re looking for.”
Later this year, Archer plans to roll out additional features that blend the social and dating in-app experience to further celebrate self-expression and cultivate safer community engagement. Beyond being able to add more than 20 profile images and a bio with self-identifying tags at launch, Archer plans to add ephemeral content-sharing options, creating a more seamless way for users on the app to connect and create content, as well as group chats to help users build communities on the app.
Archer is also introducing an in-app health hub, a digital center designed to provide access to medical and mental health resources. This will include information on counseling centers, STD/STI testing areas, PrEP (prescribed medication to help prevent HIV infection) and PEP (medication taken after potential exposure to HIV) information, and more to create a psychologically safer and sex-positive environment.
Archer is currently available for pre-registration in the App Store and Google Play and will be available for download later in June. Archer plans to launch in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. in the coming months, with plans to be available nationwide by the end of the year.