Alex Kessler and Paul Terentev were sitting in an empty house in Orlando, when they decided they wanted to invite over some girls. They logged into their respective Tinder accounts and began swiping away at pretty much every woman who flew across their screens, and before they knew it they were drowning in matches. But, they realized in the midst of their quest to party, it was a time-consuming process. And that’s why they created Casanova, a Tinder add-on that automatically swipes and sends messages for the men who install it.
The two friends met as students at University of Southern Florida and went into business together, creating a company Part Pixel in Tampa Bay where they currently reside. After tossing around a bunch of different ideas that felt half-baked, they reflected on their experience in Orlando and hit on a surefire solution.
"We wanted a real, central product. Something unique that we could sell," Kessler told the Daily Dot via phone. "When we came up with this one, we were, like, 'this one’s ready to go.' I was like, this has to get done. I don’t even care if it makes money, it’s so awesome."
Armed with untempered enthusiasm, the 24-year-olds moved full speed ahead with the development of their artificially intelligent Tinder bot, creating an algorithm that continually swipes on women in your area for 20 or minutes. After all the matches are made (because on Tinder, the match needs to be mutual), then the computer gets to work striking up a conversation.
It bases openers on the woman’s profile, and can get pretty specific, depending on how much information she shares. The computer also assesses things about the woman's personality, and will group her into different categories such as adventurous, romantic, or sexual. "What we figured out is that if you send a girl a message that’s very personal and catered to her personally, the chance of getting a response is far higher," Kessler says.
If her profile is bare, as so many on Tinder are, the computer will employ a more generic pickup line. For example: "You’re too pretty for Tinder. What are you doing here?" That may not work on every woman, but with Casanova helping men cast such a wide net, the odds are in their favor. And if a woman isn't responding positively, Casanova understands that no means no.
The goal of Casanova is simple: to get as many phone numbers as possible. From there, it's up to the man to regain control of the situation and decide if he actually want to meet face-to-face with a woman who has been chatting with a computerized version of himself. Kessler estimated that men can get 10 numbers per execution, which means that by day's end, a man could have more than 100 dates to choose from. Efficient, yes. But what about quality of matches?
"With Tinder, quantity certainly helps, but if you're looking for a relationship versus a hookup, quality should still take precedence—it's all about syncing your relationship intention to how you're using the platform," Laurie Davis, CEO and founder of online dating consulting agency eFlirt, told the Daily Dot via email.
Davis acknowledged, however, that while a digital first impression is key in getting a date, how one represents oneself IRL is what's most important.
"Online dating's purpose is to help you meet someone offline. It's really online meeting and offline dating," she explained, continuing:
"As long as you are being represented authentically and your online persona is congruent with your in-person self, there's nothing wrong with getting a little help so you meet matches face to face! Ultimately, the 'first' impression you make in person will weigh more heavily on whether or not someone continues to date you."
The perk to outsourcing your online message is entirely about time management, though. Casanova also addresses mens' lack of confidence. As the app's web site explains, "The robot is set-up using 'best practices' of the pickup artist world, [sic] Casanova is smart, witty, and confident." Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that in the future, Kessler and Terentev also hope to offer pickup artist (PUA) courses. The pair are fans of PUA tactics, as they explain on their site:
Like the ring of power, Casanova is imbued with the ideals and beliefs of it’s creators as well as tactics outlined by successful Tinder pickup artists such as puamore.com. Be careful of the power, it’s intoxicating.
While creating their app, Kessler and Terentev found in the course of their research that most women claimed not to be too bothered if they discovered their date had first reached out via a bot. Apparently, once a woman sees is sure that a man is not a total lunatic, the rest seems less important.
Nevertheless, a glance at the Casanova's blog presents a slightly less evolved view of dating—to put it politely. One section offers Tinder tips for guys and advises fat men to "take a picture with a fancy car or a nice house" and "expect to pay more for your dates":
You don’t have to put up a shirtless picture if you don’t have the muscles to show off but try to put up something athletic at least. Women are unknowingly deciding whether or not you will look good in bed, tickle their subconscious fancy but showing that you are physically capable.
If you’re fat then take a picture with a fancy car or a nice house. Expect to pay more for your dates. For every $100,000 you have, it takes off about 20 pounds. If you’re fat and broke… go to the gym then go hustle.
Casanova's blog also advises men to write a creative bio. "Write something that seals the deal," it instructs. "Don’t be a douche, even the sluts don’t appreciate the stupid sexually explicit nonsense. Keep it classy, but definitely make it funny. The best way to get a swipe right is to first make a good joke." Even though "most of Tinder is filled with basic bitches," it reads, men should should make an effort to sound interesting.
As of now, Casanova is just meant for men, as Kessler pointed out the huge disparity between the amount of first messages women receive versus men.
"This is a difficult, time-consuming, drawn out process for a man. If you could press a button and get a bunch of girls who are good0looking to match with you," then, Kessler says, the hard part is basically done.