The Advocate has shared excerpts of an email from Scruff’s CEO and cofounder Eric Silverberg about two major changes that just hit the site.
Since August 17, the app no longer features programmatic advertising (third-party ads that target users via data provided by the app), and the app no longer requires you to provide your race/ethnicity.
According to The Advocate, Scruff’s advertising will now incorporate partnerships with “LGBTQ nonprofits, health, and advocacy groups, as well as lifestyle and travel companies.”
“Scruff members can be assured that their data will be used only to help them meet and connect with other guys,” Silverberg told the mag, “not to target shady advertising for products or apps nobody would want or use anyway.”
“Though this decision will cost Scruff revenue in the short-term, we believe it is the right long-term decision because it creates the best experience for our community.”
The E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect in May 2018. This made programmatic advertising “impossible” in Europe, says Silverberg. "It didn’t feel ethical for us to hold U.S. [and international] users to a different, arguably lower standard of privacy than E.U. users.”Your Scruff account and your Facebook account can’t communicate anymore, either. Silverberg told The Advocate that this is because of the controversy surrounding Facebook data and the 2016 presidential election.
It sounds like Scruff is doing what needs to be done to steer clear of the kind of poor publicity that Grindr has been experiencing. Grindr, the most popular gay hookup app, has been in all kinds of hot water this year— for poor security, the sharing of users’ private info with third parties, the fact that in some areas it’s basically just a market for crystal meth… the list goes on.
Scruff has over 12 million members in 180 countries. By comparison, Grindr is available in 192 countries, and has amassed over 27 million users worldwide.
For more about the new changes to Scruff, as well as Silverberg’s thoughts on Grindr’s new “Kindr” initiative, head over to The Advocate.