The Meet Group is a “provider of interactive livestreaming solutions” whose “ecosystem of livestreaming apps enables users around the world to interact through one-to-many
livestreaming broadcasts and text-based conversations.”
Stated in less florid terms, The Meet Group (TMG) is the social network service behind a string of successful livestream apps intended to promote togetherness online. At least that’s their take on it. If you’re a streamer, you’re likely familiar with them. If not, livestreaming is one of the fastest-growing segments of Internet interaction right now.
Because of their high visibility, we wanted to do a MeetMe review to discover what their flagship app had that was just so darn appealing to audiences. We’ll give you some background into how it came to be and where it’s at now, as well as how it works, the various features, and cost.
Before we get started, here’s how the app’s marketing team views the service:
“MeetMe is the mobile version of the bar or coffeehouse where everyone belongs. MeetMe’s mission is to meet the universal need for human connection among all people, everywhere. Originally founded in 2005, MeetMe has originated untold numbers of chats, shares, good friends, dates, romantic relationships – even marriages.”
So, it’s basically “Cheers” online where Norm, Carla, and Cliff put it all out there, and Sam’s got his own sports podcast. Perhaps not, but everyone knew each other’s name.
While initially founded in 2005 with the myYearbook app, in 2011, it was purchased by Latino social networking site Quepasa before morphing into MeetMe in 2012. With more than 15 million monthly active users, TMG claims their “virtual gifting engine” enabled them to grow live to an $80+ million annualized video business within just two short years.
Headquartered in New Hope, PA, they have offices in Philly and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as in Dresden and Berlin, Germany. The business also counts LOVOO, Skout, Tagged, and Growlr among its portfolio developments and acquisitions. Each “delivering live interactions and meaningful connections to millions of users daily,” as they say.
Their revenue and growth have increased substantially from livestreaming video, and the trend shows no sign of abating. In a press release in October 2019, CEO Geoff Cook stated, “We remain committed to achieving our goal of increasing our video audience by 20% by the first quarter of next year.” The group is a member of both the Online Dating Association and the Family Online Safety Institute, and have aggressively pursued enhanced safety measures for user protection in recent years.
Claiming to devote roughly half of its workforce to security and moderation, in July 2019, TMG circulated a press release announcing an increase in safety practices. They included a one-tap button for reporting abuse, a full-screen reminder of strict content standards that streamers must now acknowledge each time they stream, and a waiting period for new users before they can go live on MeetMe.
During the same timeframe, they also announced a partnership with Yoti, a digital identity firm. In an effort to enhance existing security measures, users can verify their age with Yoti Age Scan or through their free app where their date of birth is confirmed via a government-issued photo ID. The purpose is to help moderators at TMG ensure that minors don’t create accounts.
Cook commented at the time, “A key part of helping people to create meaningful connections is to keep them safe online. We have already committed ourselves to one-tap report abuse capability, clear and frequent safety education, and proactive and transparent moderation. And now, with Yoti’s age verification and estimation technologies, we look forward to being one of the few app operators in social or dating who can respond to reports of underage users quickly and accurately. By using Yoti’s age estimation technology and digital identity app, we believe we can enhance the safety of our platforms and give users a simple, private, and secure way to verify their age.”
The technology is said to be private and secure, allowing individuals to verify their age without sharing any other personal info. Designed so that individuals aren’t tracked, only they can access their data.
How MeetMe Works
It’s a hybrid between a social networking platform and a dating app that appeals to people 18-34. Positioned as a leading app for meeting new people in the U.S., it’s available in more than a dozen languages for Android and iPhone users. As a livestreaming app, it’s still considered a social network service and asks users to identify their purpose for using MeetMe when they sign up.
New members can choose to look for friends or dating after identifying their own sex and the gender they’d like to be paired with. A user experience is then created based on the information provided. Reward-based, MeetMe favors popular members who log-in a lot of stream time with various perks, such as credits.
The gender ratio for the app is 60 percent male to 40 percent female, so women have more options. Out of the more than 100 million members they currently lay claim to, 50 million are from the U.S., with 41,000 log-ins occurring daily. The app has received 4+ stars on both Google Play and The App Store from millions of voters, and it is ranked #38 among social network apps on Apple. While the website’s terms of service clearly state that users must be 18 or over, both app versions are rated for 17+.
In 2015, MeetMe was noted as one of the top six adult social/dating apps that are most
frequented by teens, so be aware that some users may be trying to pass themselves off as older. This is where the company’s recent partnership with Yoti likely came into play.
Getting Started on MeetMe
New users can create an account by using an email address or an existing Facebook account in a matter of just a few minutes. That’s because the process requires scant background info, and there’s no real place to supply details or specifics about oneself.
Once registered, users are taken straight to their dashboard, where they can quickly assemble their profile. From there, they can view other’s profile pictures and opt to message members. Users can also browse through the newsfeed of nearby people in a similar fashion to the feed they’d see on Facebook. After someone catches their interest, they can chat with them, trade pictures, take part in polls, start adding friends, flirt, and search for dates or even hook-ups.
Regarding privacy, members can control who sees certain parts of their profile by first clicking on the “Me” icon located at the bottom of their page. After that, tap on “settings” and then “Privacy and Content.” From that point, users can tap or click “off” on the section “Include me in Meet.” By doing so, it will ensure a user’s profile is kept out of the “Meet” stream from profiles visible in the main navigation portal.
It’s important that new users are aware that the default privacy settings are set to OFF initially unless they are manually changed. If not, nearly every aspect of your profile is viewable by the public. Like most, if not all, social media platforms, accounts can be set so that only friends can view your profile and pictures if you prefer.
While free, users can upgrade their account to Meet+. Doing so will remove ads, unlock additional photo options, and provide access to advanced filters for more in-depth searches. A purchase of MeetMe credits is required to upgrade features. In addition to Chat, Meet, Discuss, Rate Me, Romance, and Live Video, several new features have been rolled out since July 2018.
- Search according to age, gender, sexual preference, and location
- Ability to see which members are currently online
- Levels — tracks, rewards, and “gamifies” engagement in live video. As livestreamers grow their audience, upload more often, and produce interesting content, they can earn points and work their way up the ladder from Newbie to Bronze, Silver, Gold, and further. With each new level, they unlock new tools and bonuses that only fellow streamers of that ranking can access. That includes backgrounds, virtual facemasks, and unique animations.
- Tiered VIP Badges — expands the app’s current VIP program to reward and incentivize leading gift-givers.
- Gifting from the Miniprofile — allows livestreaming viewers to receive gifts, a perk previously only available to streamers.
- NextDate — a livestreaming dating game available on MeetMe and Skout apps where users can join as a contestant and top streamers as the star. It’s been described as speed dating in front of an audience with the contestants getting to choose the particular members they’d like to connect with. A comment section and a rating system called the “Love-o-meter” have been included, and viewers can take their chances on dating any streamer who is currently playing.
Streamers have 90 seconds to tap “Next,” which ends the current conversation and skips to the next gamer in the queue. The game provides hundreds of prompts to help the streamer get to know the contestant and evaluate their compatibility. The launch also included a new “Date” tab within the Live section to make it easy to find nearby and trending people playing the game. It’s monetized through virtual gifting. It’s been compared to a livestreaming version of the television Dating game.
Geoff Cook, “As we conducted user research prior to building the game, we found that 95% of surveyed users would be willing to meet in real life with someone they first met through a livestreaming dating game. We also found that many of our users are interested in dating a streamer.”
- Battles — December 2018, the group debuted their new Battles feature on MeetMe and Skout and provided an update on its livestreaming video. Battles pits two livestreamers in a competition in front of an audience whose generosity influences the outcome. Depending on the category, competitors can vie for best comedian, dancer, or musician, among other titles. The victor is the streamer who racks up the most diamonds through “gifts” they receive during the game from viewers. The battles only last a matter of a few minutes, but they can provide a talent-based connection for users.
- One-on-one live video — a top requested feature, it provides users with the chance to get acquainted with other streamers without exchanging telephone numbers. Adding another layer of safety for members before determining to meet up somewhere safe. According to the website, “short of meeting in real life, nothing provides a better sense of who a person is and whether or not there is chemistry than a one-on-one video chat.”
By tapping or clicking the video chat icon on the app, subscribers can initiate chat requests to members whom they’ve already exchanged messages. Otherwise, it’s a no go. Recipients can opt to accept or decline all incoming video chat requests. They can also decide to block or report users they believe to be abusive.
- Abuse Report Button — where a screengrab is taken, and the offensive material is referred to one of the app’s 200+ rapid review team members to determine what if any, action or actions are necessary.
MeetMe Pros & Cons
- Safety and security seem to be a priority
- Quality of livestream is good
- Leaderboards have a new, cleaner design
- Abuse Report button ensures prompt investigation
- One-on-one live video chats
- Interactive games
- Teens use the site
- The app has been cited by numerous reviewers for its predator potential
- Minimal profile info doesn’t paint much of a user picture for members to go by
- Profiles and photos are visible to the public by default
- Auto-renewal needs to be deactivated manually
- Can’t cancel a subscription while it’s active
A basic limited membership is free, but they also offer an optional premium subscription service entitled MeetMe+. Here are the assorted costs:
- Basic membership free
- 1 month – $7.99
- 3 months – $17.99
- 6 months – $29.99
In-app purchases for iOS users:
- Pack of 3 spotlights $2.99
- Pack of 6 Spotlights $4.99
- Pack of 15 Spotlights $9.99
- Pack of 50 Spotlights $24.99
- Pack of 250 Credits $4.99
- Pack of 625 Credits $9.99
- Pack of 1,425 Credits $19.99
For Android users, in-app purchases range from $1.00 – $399.99 per item, but we weren’t able to ascertain what the $399.99 cost pertained to or whether it was accurate.
Be aware that with all subscriptions:
- Payments will be applied to a user’s iTunes account at confirmation of purchase.
- Subscriptions automatically renew for the same package length as the user’s original subscription, unless auto-renew is switched off at least 24 hours prior to the end of the current subscription period.
- Users can switch off auto-renewal at any time by going to their iTunes Account Settings after purchase.
- Subscriptions can’t be canceled during the active subscription period.
The reviews are a mixed bag of tricks. Here’s what users are saying:
“Been using it a while ago and found it okayish. I’d rather stick with Yamvoo or Tinder but for people lookin’ for something more serious this sure is an option.” Cade J. MeetMe review 10/16/19
“This is by FAR the best dating site I’ve ever been on. Every other site I’ve been on the people have been nothing but rude. But the people on meet me have been nothing but polite because unlike other dating sites there is an etiquette policy. When I would go to plenty of fish they would be nothing but RUDE and disrespectful. I always, always hated plenty of fish and people on meet me are great. Plus, the people are much more local and you can find friends there because it’s not just a dating site; it’s also a friendship site. And people actually respect that there too!” Allison P. MeetMe review 7/27/19
“I think it could be improved in so many ways but they continue to let bots on and it pretty much ruined the whole application.” Neil H. MeetMe review 6/24/19
“Meetme is the first Free dating site where most everybody is polite and friendly. I think I got one scammer for every 6 guys. I even met someone personally from there. While I haven’t been on long, I’m having a blast! I highly recommend it for a Free site.” Kristy H. MeetMe review 5/25/19 (This is suspiciously similar to Allison P.’s MeetMe review.)
While their desktop model appears to be a secondary concern or afterthought to TMG, your chances of meeting like-minded friends with similar interests and discovering compelling videos with the service are relatively high. As far as genuine relationships leading anywhere, those seem to be farther and fewer in between. As with all services like these, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. But you should have a clear idea of what you’d like to come of your time on MeetMe before committing and be realistic about what your results might be. It’s definitely not for everyone.
*Pricing for memberships was current as of November 2019 and are subject to change.