Although the Badoo site is popular in multiple countries, it’s not uncommon for people to ask, “What is Badoo?” The name doesn’t give anything away, and unless you know someone on the site, it’s unlikely you’d hear about what it’s for. Fortunately, our online dating experts have got you covered. In this Badoo review, we’ll tackle all the important questions and give you everything you need to know.

Read on to find out what Badoo is and whether it’s for you!

1. Badoo is an Online Dating Site With a Global Following

To start things off, Badoo launched in 2006 as a new kind of dating site. Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev founded the dating platform and steered it from one success to another. The ultimate goal was to create meaningful connections for singles around the world.

The Badoo logo
Badoo is an online dating service available around the world.

By 2011, a Wired U.K. article termed the site a “mass phenomenon” in countries like Brazil, France, Mexico, Spain, and Italy.

In 2016, Badoo was reportedly the most-downloaded dating app in 21 countries. The online dating website gained popularity through a combination of creative strategies, including quizzes and games that made the app go viral on Facebook, celebrity launches (including Nick Cannon’s participation in the launch of the site in North America), and savvy online marketing. 

To this day, Badoo remains especially popular in South America, and it has a growing following spread throughout Latin America in general.

2. Badoo is Available as a Dating App for iOS and Android

In addition to the dating website, a single person can access the platform via the Badoo app, available for both Apple iOS and in the Google Play store for Android users. The mobile app and site both operate on a freemium model, with core services available for free but in-app purchases and premium membership required for full features. 

Badoo premium isn’t a necessity to access things like messaging other members or accessing core features of the app. But it can give you a few perks that make it easier to meet people on the platform, like increased visibility for your Badoo profile and the chance to see who liked your profile. 

3. Badoo Has a Social Network Featuring Text & Video Chat

Badoo isn’t just a dating website. It’s also a thriving social network, starting from its early days as a social media-connected platform. The basic features that come with every Badoo account make it a strong option for meeting new friends with similar interests as well as for dating and matchmaking. 

Core features on Badoo include unlimited messaging and text chatting, as well as video chat functions with the new people you meet on the site or app. The Badoo Encounters section serves up people nearby, and from there you can match with them by “saying yes.” Once you and your potential match each “say yes,” you can message the Badoo user by text or by video. 

The app even tested a livestreaming function for video chat purposes in 2018, but eventually removed the feature. 

4. Badoo is Actually Part of the Same Network as Bumble

Years after Badoo launched, founder Andrey Andreev contacted former Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe to entice her to rejoin the dating site space after she left the swiping app giant. Together, the pair launched Bumble, one of the most popular dating apps in the world, with a focus on women first. Because of Andreev’s substantial initial investment, Badoo and Bumble both operated under the banner of the same company, MagicLab.

In 2019, Andreev sold his stake in MagicLab, giving over control of both Bumble and Badoo. As a result of the buyout, MagicLab became Bumble, taking the name of the highly successful company, and both platforms remain on the same network. Although Match Group (the network behind made an offer early on, Bumble’s leadership decided to stick with Badoo, and the two platforms continue to work closely together.

5. Badoo is a Dating Company Based in London

While Badoo launched in Moscow in 2006, the dating site has long since severed ties with Russia. The main headquarters for the social networking and dating site are in London, UK, and in Limassol, Cyprus. In more recent years, the company has worked to distance itself as much as possible from Russia, leaving behind its roots in Eastern Europe. 

The online dating site operates in 190+ countries, and Badoo users can access the service and app in 47 languages.

FAQs: Is Badoo Totally Free?

Like many free dating sites, Badoo offers an array of basic services as well as some upgrade options. While you can access the majority of the core features of Badoo without taking out your credit card, the site and dating app that goes with it aren’t technically 100% free. Badoo operates on the freemium model that so many dating websites and social networking apps prefer. 

Under this model, any person can sign up and build a dating profile on Badoo for free. You can even browse your potential dates and message them without paying anything. But premium members get access to a set of premium features that boost profile visibility and make things easier.

Screenshot from Badoo
Badoo streamlines the browsing and matching process for singles.

According to the website, features for Premium include Invisible Mode, tools to let you see who has liked your profile, higher visibility in search results and Encounters, and other perks to let you basically skip the line and get faster access to people on the site.

You can pick and choose specific benefits you want to pay for if the package deal isn’t your jam, by buying Badoo credits. You can spend credits on boosting your profile, or getting access to one or two of the Premium benefits without the monthly subscription cost. 

Based on these two factors, our experts agree that Badoo isn’t totally free, even though the core features are available to every Badoo user free of charge.

What Are Some Better Alternatives to Badoo?

While Badoo is a very popular dating app and social media site, it’s true that it has some issues. There are a few platforms that our experts agree are better overall. The best Badoo alternative for you depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re interested in relationships, Match is your best bet as an alternative to Badoo. Like Badoo, Match operates on a freemium model, so you don’t have to pay to use core features, but if you want perks like higher visibility, you can get out your credit card.

Category Rating
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Match is the world’s longest running dating site
  • The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
  • Match is available in 50 countries and 15 languages

Match has a better reputation overall when it comes to dating sites, and a strong history of taking measures to prevent fake profiles and scammers. Match also provides a massive platform, with over 15 million active monthly users. 

If hookup apps are more your style, our experts agree that BeNaughty is a fast and free dating option for seeking out casual encounters that are more sex-positive than you’ll find on Badoo.

Category Rating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

The BeNaughty platform is all about making it easier to hook up, with a simple interface and easy-to-navigate options for contacting other members. Keep in mind that men on the site are limited to five messages per day on the free plan, but the Chataholic package and the Premium Dater package provide unlimited messaging capabilities. 

Finally, OkCupid is our top pick for the right dating platform for chatting. The dating site created by math nerds puts data to good use to help people find each other and get in contact.

Category Rating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0
  • Free, unlimited communication for everyone
  • Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
  • Over 91 million connections every year

While OkCupid provides premium membership perks in its A-List option, you can contact just about anyone on the platform without paying anything. Find people in your area or who are far away by setting geography preferences, match up with them in the swiping gallery, or just reach out to them once you find them in a search.

Is Badoo Safe to Use?

Overall, yes. Badoo is about average when it comes to dating site safety, with a few issues that have come up over the years that make it clear that daters on Badoo should still keep their eyes open. The primary issue that has come up since even the early days of the site is user privacy and data protection, but other issues, like repeated fake profile reports, have dogged the platform. On the bright side, many of these criticisms have led to major improvements from the site and app Badoo maintains.

As of 2020, Badoo earned a 56% on customer privacy screenings done by Common Sense, which is not the most promising score. The key areas of concern the report cited included protecting customer information from third parties, and issues concerned with selling data to advertisers. Badoo achieved higher scores when it came to controlling rights to data and protecting data from being sold without consent, but it’s clear that the platform still has a long way to go when it comes to keeping data secure for its users.

The other major area where Badoo has faced criticism is the issue of fake profiles and scammers. This is one area where the dating platform and social networking site has made substantial inroads. Part of the profile verification process involves submitting a photo as proof that you are a real person, which helps to weed out scammers and other fake profile woes.

Another key feature that Badoo launched after reports came in was the “request a selfie” option in the platform’s messaging system. At any point in the conversation, you can request that the other user send a selfie of themselves. That helps to minimize the number of scammers and can help Badoo users detect and block the ones who manage to make it through the screening process.

All in all, Badoo is as safe as most online platforms, as long as you stick to the best practices.

Is Badoo a Hookup App?

Like Tinder, Badoo doesn’t advertise itself specifically as a hookup app. Instead, it has a reputation among young singles for being a solid platform for finding casual encounters. That reputation draws more people seeking something less serious. While there are Badoo users looking for real relationships, the platform largely plays host to people who are there for friends, meeting new people, and casual encounters.

What is Badoo? A Service With Some Kinks

Because there are so many online dating platforms out there, it can be hard to keep up with all the names. Many of our readers have asked “What is Badoo?” and hopefully this article provides all the details needed about the long-running dating platform. 

Badoo is a fairly solid service overall, with an emphasis on social networking as a vehicle for dating and a free messaging system that makes it easy to connect with other singles (without paying for it). But the Badoo site has a fair number of skeletons hiding in the closet, from data privacy issues to persistent reports of bots and scammers that even the strict verification systems haven’t fully wiped out. 

If you’re looking for a platform that has international appeal where you can message for free and meet people without specific expectations, Badoo may be a good option to try!

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