What is Gaydar? Does it work like other gay dating apps, and can I join for free?

Not to be confused with a “gaydar,” which is the makeshift measuring system used to guesstimate whether or not a person is gay, the Gaydar app was one of the first major gay dating apps. It came before (behave…) Grindr, Tinder, Hornet, Scruff and Jack’d.

We wouldn’t blame you if you’d never heard of it, tbf – with attention so focused on Grindr, Tinder and Hornet these days, Gaydar became outdated and lost its cool. But with the other gay dating apps arguably reaching saturation point, is there room on the scene for Gaydar to stage a return?

Related: A comprehensive guide to the best gay dating apps

Rob Curtis, Managing Director at Gaydar told PinkNews exclusively that plans for a huge revamp are in their final stages. “As we approach our 20th Anniversary next year, we have some major initiatives underway to transform our business and support our new mission to create a happier LGBTQ+ world,” he said.

“To kick things off – we’re very excited to be launching a new digital magazine brand in the coming weeks as our love letter to the LGBTQ+ community”.

A brief history

Gaydar launched in November 1999 as a desktop tool to allow gay and bisexual men to meet. It featured chat rooms and allowed members to chat one-on-one. Gaydar was made to broadly appeal to guys wanting dates, relationships and just sex.

Gaydar was founded by two South African men who lived in London, Gary Frisch and his partner Henry Badenhorst, though sadly both have since passed away. Gary died in 2007 following a tragic accident and Henry, 10 years later, reportedly taking his own life in November 2017.

Related: Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown takes huge swipe at gay dating apps

The website was launched after a friend of Henry and Gary’s complained at being too busy to meet guys offline – the comment went on to play a large role in paving the way for the next twenty years of online dating apps and websites.

The name Gaydar piggybacked off a corporate intranet system in the late Nineties called RADAR, which stood for Rapid Access And Deployment Resource.

Henry and Gary spun radar into something far more fun: Gaydar.

The website was a hit and went on to become the world’s biggest gay dating site, converting into the Gaydar app in 2009.

Gaydar Radio was launched hand-in-hand with the dating website and app, and ran 24 hours a day, although it closed in 2013 and was acquired by Gaydio.

Ahead of the site’s relaunch, Gaydar Radio is proudly back and streams live on Mixcloud, via Gaydar’s blog.

A raft of new digital changes…

Like many of the pioneering gay dating apps and websites launched in the era of the dot com boom (others included PlanetOut and Gay.com), Gaydar struggled to survive in an increasingly saturated and ever-evolving market of gay dating apps and websites.

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