Twelve weeks after its rocky launch, conservative dating app The Right Stuff is still failing to seduce large numbers of right-wing users.
In October, the Peter Thiel-backed startup managed to generate 40,000 downloads, according to data from the analytics firm Sensor Tower. But between Nov. 1 and Dec. 20, that figure dropped to just 11,000 downloads.
Appfigures, another analytics firm, offered slightly more favorable estimates, though with the same downward trajectory: roughly 44,000 downloads in October, and 17,000 in the seven weeks since.
The app, cofounded by former Trump administration official John McEntee, continues to face an onslaught of negative reviews and criticism from its target demographic: young conservatives. Its intense verification process—intended to foster a sense of exclusivity and weed out potential trolls—has made it inoperable for many users.
“I downloaded this app more than two months ago, even got sent a package from them to become an ambassador, and STILL have not been accepted onto the app. That’s ridiculous and unacceptable,” read one review posted on Dec. 19.
Another person blasted the invite-only business model.
“How can someone in a heavily liberal area get an invite… Most people around this area wouldn’t download this app, much less send an invite,” this user wrote. “Rather dumb.”
The reviews mirror the sentiment of some young female conservatives in Washington.
“I mean, I don’t know anyone on the app. Don’t think it’s going great,” an influential conservative staffer in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Beast. She added that the company made a mistake launching in the D.C. market, “especially with a Democrat administration.”
The Right Stuff currently holds a rating of 2.5 stars in the App Store, with nearly 1,200 reviews. Some of the negative feedback has seemingly come from bogus users, like one person who left a review in November under the name SisterFister9k, declaring that, “I don’t trust anything that wants to look through my phone and tries to invade MY privacy.” Other, more credible, comments have complained about the company’s requests to access phone contact lists.
Representatives for The Right Stuff did not respond to requests for comment.
Months after its launch, the dating app still isn’t available on the Google Play store, which would give Android phone owners the opportunity to join the site.
Conservative activist Michael Butler, an Android user, told The Daily Beast he still doesn’t have access. “I understand that iPhone users are the priority because they’re a larger …….