With the success of dating apps such as Tinder, and even our homegrown Paktor, you would think that this market segment has pretty much been set in stone.
Well, not really.
Ever so often we see some new startup with a dating app that promises to “revolutionise dating” and to only make it exclusive to people of a higher status.
There was Ivory, which we covered before. But even after all the press coverage by the likes of Tech In Asia and Mothership, they have since fallen into obscurity.
Recently, we stumbled upon another and it was for the wrong reasons.
What Is HighBlood?
Founded by Herbert Eng, HighBlood is another dating app to come out of the Singapore startup scene, and like Ivory, wants to “Rise Above All” other dating apps.
If the founder sounds familiar, that’s because he was also the brains behind another app, Fessup.
HighBlood’s claim to fame is to allow you “to swipe based on income, profession and prestige schools”.
To do this, users can “optionally” submit official documents so that they can verify that you indeed have the income and certifications that you say you have.
While it is not compulsory, you do have to pass a verification process where 5 current members will be assigned to you, and getting in will require you to get the approval of at least 3 of them.
Of course, you can bypass this without their judgement, but it will cost you $100.
This is an app that isn’t launched yet (it’s launching in 2 months, the last we heard) , so it’s normal for the team behind it to create hype leading to that big day by constantly marketing themselves on social media.
And since September last year, they have been doing just that, and while their efforts were nothing spectacular, they have generally stayed out of trouble – until last week.
On 13 March, HighBlood posted a text image, much like how they’ve been doing for the past few months but this time, the choice words are nothing to be desired.
And judging by responses on social media, many people are sharing the same sentiment.
This is in particular referring to the first three lines where it mentioned ‘banglas, maids, and uglies’.
Inspired By Korean Dramas
Mashable managed to get in touch with Herbert to find out why exactly he’s going down this route to promote his app. He says that the entire concept of HighBlood was inspired by Korean dramas – in particular, the Chaebol ruling class.
For those of you not into the Hallyu wave, a Chaebol refers to a large family-owned business conglomerate. The best example of which is Samsung.
@highbloodapp is inspired by the Chaebol ruling class trope popular in Kdrama. playfully evoking the theme of a Vampire High Society.
— Herbert Eng (@nullscientist) March 22, 2017
He also mentioned of getting inspiration from Vampire High Societies – guess that’s where the blood idea came from. Continuing further, he says that he was intentionally being offensive in order to “violate norms regarding political correctness.”
He then used ‘science’ as a means to disprove comments about being racist and that the words used were merely referring to certain occupations.
Essentially, what we have here is a Korean drama fan who also likes Twilight.
Whatever the case may be, and even if he has “over a hundred members“, the fallout from the Facebook post is a clear indication of public opinion on the issue.