Guy-rating app Lulu has been a hit since its release in February, and the female-focused app just got a revamp to mesh better with iOS 7.
The app has garnered plenty of buzz for letting users anonymously rate their male Facebook friends on a scale of 1 to 10 and select applicable hashtags like #ManChild, #MakesTheBed or #NoGoals. Women must be on Facebook in order to use the app, and can only rate Facebook friends, though the men will never find out who provided the feedback.
Lulu has been wildly popular since its debut, and has more than one million women using the app. Founder Alexandra Chong was inspired to create Lulu after chatting with her girlfriends and trading the inside scoop on guys they knew.
Though Lulu touts itself as a “girls-only” app, the redesign makes it easier for guys to get in on the conversation. Men can now add their own hashtags to their profiles, which are differentiated by color from the reviews left by other people; their own hashtags are blue, and hashtags from female users are pink. Lulu has become increasingly popular as a dating app: Guys tell girls what they’re looking for and a new search feature lets singles search and filter each other by college.
Guys are flocking to Lulu: More than half a million men have requested reviews from their female friends. Chong told Metro, “There’s a lot of benefit to get discovered by girls and have them see how other girls perceive them.” Chong also made it clear that she will not be creating a male version of Lulu. “We have guy capabilities but I didn’t set out to build a product for guys,” she said. “We wanted to make sure to build a female-focused product and leverage technology to empower ourselves.”
Naturally, Lulu has also received its fair share of criticism as being potentially harmful to men’s reputations. A man named George Orlin posted a petition on Change.org to shut down Lulu, with 184 supporters. Chong brushed off the criticism and said Lulu mirrors the real world.
“This comes from a real world experience of girls getting together and sharing information. I think it’s perfectly normal to discuss guys in relationships,” she said. “We’re pushing boundaries – Facebook did, too. When Facebook first came out, it was certainly a bit of a shocker.”
Men who do not want to be reviewed on Lulu can request to have their profile taken off the app. In addition, Lulu does not permit people to leave free-form comments on the site. Chong said Lulu uses hashtags out of convenience and fun, but also because they ensure things don’t get too ugly.
“We looked at the landscape of things and there were sites like JuicyCampus (a now-defunct college gossip site) and we learned how hurtful they can be and how they can cause a lot of pain,” said Chong. “We wanted to let girls give their opinions and give them enough to make a choice but not be hurtful.”
Lulu’s initial business strategy was to advertise at a handful of colleges in Florida – within a month, the app soared to the top 20 list in the iTunes App Store. Unlike on most review sites, Chong said 52 percent of users create content on Lulu.
Chong said she plans to expand the company and may even cover areas outside of dating while staying in the realm of user-generated content. “I created this company with a very core vision to empower women to make smarter decisions from relationships to health and beauty,” she said.