Dating apps have been in the news for all the wrong reasons this year.

Tinder has been linked to the death of New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright, who in August fell from a 14th-storey Gold Coast balcony of a room rented by a man she had met on the app.

When 28-year-old Gable Tostee, the man accused of her murder, was released on bail last month one of the conditions was that he not use social media to contact women.

Then there's the case of ex-Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe who filed a sexual harassment claim in the United States against the maker of the hot-or-not style app. Wolfe alleged she'd been called a "whore", a "slut" and a "disease" at work.

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Any woman who has pressed the upload button on an online dating profile or app will tell you unwanted attention comes with the territory. Many women simply log off.

For men, the gross behaviour of a few means their honourable intentions are met with scepticism.

But the world of dating apps is changing and Wolfe is one of the women leading the charge.

Last month she and two other former Tinder staffers launched Bumble, a dating app that emphasises safety and puts women in control.

The Tinder rival works on the same principle as the original, but only women can start conversations.

They've created female-focused marketing material urging women to "take the leap". Marketing photos taken backstage at a Victoria's Secret fashion show promise prospective male users the models can be found on Bumble.

It's not the first entry into the market. Antidate is a location-based app that lets women see male users who are nearby, but men can't see the woman until she has initiated contact.

This app also has a rating system so users can verify whether the person looks like their profile picture or not.

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The Wyldfire dating app only allows men to join once they've been invited by a woman. It also limits the number of messages that can be exchanged so that users are forced to progress their relationship off-line.

A new Australian start-up goes even further. Pozee, which is being tested in Perth, has been created by a brother-sister team who hope the app will assist real-life conversations.

Like Bumble, Wyldfire and Antidate, Pozee has a strong emphasis on safety.

"Women want privacy and they don't want to play silly games," Pozee creator Courtney Hayes says. "Women can put the app on private so nobody else in the bar knows she's single.

"If she sees a profile of someone she likes, she just touches a little 'yes' on the app and that will send her face to the guy."

He says Pozee also removes some of the risk of approaching a woman.

"From a guy's perspective, when you're in a bar and you see a nice-looking woman, your first thought is: right, I don't even know if she's single."

Dating apps

Antidate:

Location-based, girls make the first move. Rating system to verify users' profiles.

Bumble: Like Tinder but women must initiate all contact.

Pozee: Location-based Australian app, has public and private settings.

Wyldfire: Men by invitation only.


-AAP