Hotline App
February is a love month. To spread more love and lust everywhere, a new dating app hits the web that requires its users to kick things off with a potential match by sharing an actual phone call. Criminals will be lusting for this one as police authorities Shudders.

That is the main idea of Hotline, which launched last 13 February. A subscription will run for US$ 9 a month, and right now it's only for iOS in New York, but the hope is that they'll expand nationwide soon.

This strangely old-fashioned idea is the brainchild of 27-year-old Sam Ballantyne, who was a classical musician before he turned his attention to developing apps. It came to him after someone he'd matched with on another app insisted on a call instead of messaging. He found it an oddly effective way of starting things off since you can tell pretty much right away if they are interested in learning more about someone or not.

"Hotline wants you to stop swiping and start discerning," according to their press release.

That may sound like nothing, but here’s how it works: users create a profile, which gives them a chance to offer more details than their average swipe-based app requires. Users identify in any way they like, and add in images and even video — a feature that many of the big apps don't yet have. Ballantyne hopes all of this will allow people to showcase their realest selves.

Users can swipe through profiles and like as many as they want. They will then be served up three matches, and until they discard one that's what they have got to work with. Users can still browse around but they can't like anyone else until one of their three spots is open.

And now for the super scary part: the phone call. After they have matched with a potential love interest, users won't be able to message them until after the two have a call that lasts for longer than five minutes. The calls are placed (and timed) by the app, so their phone number isn't revealed to the other person.

Five minutes sounds like an eternity, especially if they hate to talk on the phone. But connecting voice-to-voice can actually tell a person a lot about the other one that they can't get just from messaging. Ballantyne admits that a lot of the calls won't work, but when they do work they will know they are not wasting their time by making plans to meet up with someone.