What Is Bumble’s New Rays Feature?

3 min readAug 22, 2022

Amazon-style reviews will come to dating — surprisingly, out of all dating apps, Bumble made the first move: “Rays”. The new functionality is currently being tested in Germany.

Rays are pieces of feedback one can select after a few messages were written back and forth in a chat. There are only 9 options to choose from — and they are, as to be expected, all positive.

What makes this a bit ridiculous is that some of these, like ‘responsive’, could easily be analyzed automatically (just like Typeform or Intercom tell you how long it’ll take to be done/get a reply). I saw this observation on the Neosocialization Newsletter, which you should absolutely sign up for if you have an interest in Social.

These Rays are then shown on the user’s profile so others can see what the person is like.

Brutal as it may seem, this is what the future of dating will look like. After all, dating apps are just another marketplace. And all marketplaces, from Amazon to illegal dark web drug markets, run on user reviews. It’s the best mechanism to leverage the benefits of competition and hence it tends to win against other things like centralized reviews, legal standards, or the bold assertion of the marketplace, that all its products are great.

I just wonder how this will evolve. People are much more interested in safety and personality than a ‘Great opening line’ (which is one of the 9 Rays). Also, an individual user having stated something about someone is not as valuable as aggregates (4.6/5.0 stars). So, while it’s great to see Bumble try reviews — there is still a lot to be done. And I suspect they will actually not double down on this strategy as it doesn’t feel on-brand. Bumble, sadly, seems more preoccupied with star signs.

I’d love to see more review-like features in dating apps, but I also see why it’s hard. Dating is a complex and emotional topic. Nobody wants inaccurate reviews based on hurt feelings. But then again, Amazon is finding ways to get rid of reviews that are false — and so will dating apps.

The easiest way to prevent false reviews is to disincentive them. One way is getting feedback early in the relationship when there is still a bit of objectivity. Secondly, feedback should probably be focused on small objective measures (“Speaks English well”) as opposed to generic, subjective ones (“Great date”). I’d love to see dating apps that find smart ways to allow for reviews around profile accuracy, true motifs (one-night stands vs. friends vs. dating), communication style, and safety.

There might even be ways to implement the ‘verified purchase’ feature from Amazon: incentivize people to do a Bluetooth/NFC handshake on their first date.

Now, if you feel like this is a sad outlook on the future, look at it this way: we’re all super judgemental in our dating choices. We want specific things and dislike others. We want a great experience and while it’ll be tough to have your profile say you’re ‘aggressive’, it’s tougher to go on a date with someone you wouldn’t have, had you known.