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Miami the Flirtiest City in the U.S., Says Badoo

The self-appointed social scientists at Badoo, the social networking site, have invented a new index of flirtiness, that may or may not be so accurate. As a promotional stunt, it’s working.

Badoo

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Do you want to move to the U.S. capital of flirting? If so, let’s hope you like nightclubs and gaudy clothing, because you’re headed for Miami. The folks at Badoo, a multi-lingual social networking site, have just released a study on the “most flirtatious” cities in the country. Here are the top 10, in order:

1. Miami
2. Boston
3. San Francisco
4. and 5. Tampa and New York (tied)
6. Orlando
7. Los Angeles
8. Houston
9. Chicago
10. Phoenix

What a puzzling list! It squares with none of our intuitions. Boston is the second most flirty city? Tampa comes out near the top? Where’s Las Vegas? Or does the data that happens in Vegas stay in Vegas?

More likely, the survey isn’t especially scientific. First of all, there’s Badoo’s definition of what counts as “flirting.” It’s any contact initiated through its site with a stranger–the average Miami resident on the site does that 18.5 times a month. But what if those all come from a few dozen extremely sad people who send out unreturned chats hundreds of times a day?

Secondly, the press release that went out with the survey offered “3 possible explanations” for why Miami out-flirts other U.S. cities.

  1. The first is that Miami residents are already big users of social networks like Facebook–and Badoo is used by the same age groups, but for meeting new people while Facebook is more about keeping up to date with your friends.
  2. Second, Miami has a sizeable Hispanic population and Badoo is hugely popular in Latin America with over 2.4m users in Brazil, 1.8m in Mexico, 750k in Argentina, 700k in Columbia, etc…
  3. Third, Miami is a city full of young people and continues to grow…. Lots of guys and girls stay in the area after graduating college or move there for the climate and lifestyle. Badoo is perfectly positioned to provide a social, local and mobile solution to meeting new people to this young demographic because most of its users worldwide are 18 to 35 year olds.

We can’t help but notice that each and every one of those explanations doesn’t explain anything at all, but is simply a marketing bullet point about Badoo. Badoo is “for meeting new people”; it’s “hugely popular in Latin America”; and it’s “perfectly positioned to provide a social, local and mobile solution to meeting new people…”

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Badoo’s social scientists appear to be people who didn’t quite make it through their PhD programs. But their marketing people are clever; we’ll give them that. By branding themselves as the social network tailored to flirting, they might be able to garner new users looking for something in between Facebook and Match.com. And their flirtation “science” has garnered them headlines everywhere from Reuters to the Huffington Post (they did a similar survey for world cities last month; Athens came out on top.) For whatever reason, Badoo was the second fastest growing Facebook app this week–the recent U.S. flirtation study can’t have hurt.

“Rival” social networks to Facebook (we use the term loosely; no one really rivals it here) are increasingly finding a need to distinguish themselves. Such is the case, too, with Tagged.com, which only found its market when it decided to be a graceful loser to Facebook.

Badoo, which was founded in 2006 in Spain, seems to have grander ambitions, beyond its current 100-million-registered-user base. And you don’t get past 100 million friends, apparently, without making a few stunt surveys.

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About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal

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