The dating scene just got a little tamer thanks to the introduction of the smartphone app Gender Zoo.

Say it’s a typical Saturday night and you’re headed to the Clarendon Ballrom for a night on the town. If you’re like much of the metro-area population, you’re probably going to meet up with friends and maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky, talk to someone you find attractive and interesting who has potential date-ability.

Now, to make things simpler, before you head out, you can check on Gender Zoo to find out the guy-girl ratio at any given hotspot in town. Not only that, but the smartphone app will also give you details about what kind of crowd that particular bar is hosting.

Inventor of Gender Zoo, Springfield, Va., resident Minh Tran, said his friends – male and female – kept griping about not being able to find anyone when they hit the town.

“The women were saying they can’t seem to find a quality man, and the guys were saying they would go out and just be staring at dudes,” Tran said.

As a creator of previous apps, Tran eventually put together Gender Zoo.

The app is free, compatible with iPhones and Droids, available nationwide, and doesn’t require an email or login.

After doing a quick check around the bar, users sign on to Gender Zoo anonymously and post a ratio of males to females. They also have the option to post more information like the age and type of crew.

The app, which is about 1 month old, has around 400 downloads so far, Tran said.

“It’s used sporadically, but it has a very high retention rate,” he said. “All I know is [users] are holding on to the app, and that’s a good sign.”

Tran’s friend, Dupont Circle resident Sheri Martinovich, said her single girlfriends really appreciate the concept of Gender Zoo. When Tran first told them about the new app, Martinovich said, “They all downloaded it on the spot.”

“Everybody seems very excited about the idea of it,” she said.

Since its debut, Martinovich said she’s used Gender Zoo a few times at watering holes in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. In Arlington, she posted a ratio of her own.

“Most of the time it’s 50-50,” she said.

Because Gender Zoo is still green – and relies on users to post ratios – Martinovich said the app needs “more word of mouth” from the single community to really “get it going.”

“Sometimes it’s hit or miss because there’s not a lot of users yet,” said a man named Bryan, who declined to give his last name.

“I check it all the time on the weekends,” he said. “It’s not to the point where it really affects where I go a lot, but I’m sure once people start using it, it’ll affect where guys go.”

But for now, Gender Zoo will need some more users before it becomes a household name.

So far, Tran has remained optimistic.

“It has a very high retention rate,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

For more information, or to download the app, click here.

http://clarendon.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/gender-zoo-shakes-up-clarendon-dating-scene

July 29, 2011