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[App Friday] The ‘Desi Crush’ dating app targeted at the Indian diaspora, suffers from low user engagement

There is a wave of dating apps that are hitting the app stores to address the needs of Indian community.   Indians are one of the most immigration-friendly races, with millions settled across the world resulting in a large diaspora community. Thanks to the brain drain that happened a few decades ago, there are many second generation Indians who call the US, UK, and Europe their homes. The app ‘Desicrush’ seems to be targeting this community, and those who would like to find someone from this community. The detailed user-centric review is provided below.

desi crush app

  • Features – Refers to the core features that are integral to the workflow of the product

Dating apps are relatively new when we consider the mobile-first creations, with Tinder setting the trend. However, dating as a category has existed on the web for more than 15 years in various avatars. There are a plethora of features that have been tried and tested over the years. Upon careful review, we find that ‘Desicrush’ has borrowed the key features from the web interface, and then created a mobile app around the same. There are no native unique experiences built for mobile exclusively. Also, when the entire app ecosystem is transforming to a ‘less is more’ philosophy, ‘Desicrush’ seems to be still stuck in the old world. The app has over 18 menu options, and over 10+ features, which are bound to overwhelm the user. All the core features required for a dating app i.e., search, local, messaging, events, block list, visitor, upgrade option, etc., are built into the app, without creating any unique differentiator.

desi crush profile

Desi Crush profile

  • Joy and Ease of useRefers to the polish, finesse, user experience and ease of using the product. It is how happy you feel when interacting with the product

When it comes to ‘Desicrush’, the joy of use seems to be completely ignored. Choices of colors (Black, grey, white, and pink fonts in menu), transitions of buffering icon (heart-shaped buffering icon which zooms in and out), are a result of design that is not detail-oriented. The entire UI elements such as buttons, pop-ups, and layouts look old school. Given that the first version was released in 2011, it is surprising that there are very few UI improvements in the last 3 years of its existence.

desi crush advanced search page

Desi Crush advanced search page

The sign-up process is relatively easy, requiring just a mandatory photo and some basic fields which can be completed quickly in a minute. The complexity of the product increases as one gets to the inner pages, with too many features listed out in the menu. It feels a lot like version 1.0 of the app. One of the most important features, i.e., the search for profiles is hard. The search process is not so targeted, and relevant results are few in number. The dashboard of the product too, shows profiles of users who have last logged in 15 months ago.

  • Emotional ConnectRefers to how personal the App feels to the user. Does it lure the users and make them come back repeatedly?

After several search results, it is obvious that users sign-up to ‘Desi Crush’ but do not seem to be active. Post sign-up, the first screen takes time to load and the activity of the first displayed user is 19 days old. I did not feel any connect with the app in terms of visually appealing design or user quality. Further, there are no features that will make me login again and again. The app itself is free, and by default it has premium features activated as of today. Will the user engagement and emotional connect increase when the app switches to paid subscription model, is a question that time will answer. There are 5 subscription options ranging from 7 days to 3 months that can be found on the appstore listing.

desi crush mutual crush page

Desi Crush mutual crush page

  • User Reach and DiversityRefers to the quality, quantity and the geographic footprint of the user base

This is where I think the app makers need to figure out their target audience. Currently the app is global and can be downloaded from the US appstore. Most of the targeting seems to be for Indians in the US, and not for those living in India. The only event hosted by the app seems to be in Virginia, US. There is very little for both men and women who live in India from this app. Adoption of the app within India is very minimal, and I was able to find only 3 profiles within a 50-mile radius of Bangalore.

desi crush page showing relative distance to a mutual crush

Desi Crush page showing relative distance to a mutual crush

At the time of this review, ‘Desi Crush’ website claims 102,497 users as part of the network. Indians residing in the US form a significant portion of the users. However, profile completion levels are minimal, with photos that are not so elegant. This leaves the user with a feeling that the users are just casual explorers and not serious users willing to invest time to find meaningful relationships.

  • PrivacyRefers to the access to the various profile data elements to other visitors

Firstly, the quality of data is suspect given that there is no user validation in the registration flow. Secondly, any data that has been input is visible to any user, whether or not he is a genuine user. Any user who uses search criteria can potentially see all of the data including your photo. This can be conducive to those who want to create random profiles without their real names or photos.

Our View– Our research shows that there are 3 types of users who would be interested in using a dating app.  Here are their personas and what they can find in the app:

User Persona NewLoveTimes Verdict
Sentimental Users(Looking to find a real partner) There is not much activity happening in Desi Crush. There are isolated users in global geographies, and the local feature does not yield many results

You will be disappointed.

Casual Users(Looking to browse, flirt & date casually) The photos of some of the users are inviting. There is a good possibility of finding someone to chat on the app if you spend a lot of time. If you are a casual user, then you need to send several messages to the potential person and wait for the response.

Might be worth your time if there is nothing better to do

Browsing Users (Looking to surf profiles, download, with no real intention) You might meet someone from the ‘casual user’ category

Note: The review was performed on

Phone Model: Apple iPhone 5s

OS: iOS 8.0.2

App Store: US App Store

Disclaimer – The above review has been prepared by NewLoveTimes and its authors for the exclusive and individual use of our readers. The review is provided solely for informational purposes, and opinions must not be construed as advice, recommendations, or endorsements. All the information contained in this review is obtained through app use, discussions with a few users, and reliable public sources. No contact has been established with the app creators. NewLoveTimes makes no representations or warranties regarding the errors, omissions, or completeness of any information contained herein, and shall have no liability for the same. NewLoveTimes is not able to guarantee the accuracy of the information or analysis contained in these materials. The reader of the report is advised to conduct an independent evaluation and form conclusions with respect to the information provided.

NewLoveTimes specifically disclaims liability for any damages, claims, or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in these materials, whether caused by NewLoveTimes or its sources/reliance upon any comments made by NewLoveTimes and its authors.

The NewLoveTimes team also holds a majority stake in, a verified matrimonial service for the new age Indian.

Article Name
Desicrush dating app suffers from low user engagement
Desicrush, a dating app, has been specifically targeted at the Indian diaspora community. Here's a detailed review of the app.
'Desi Crush' dating app review
  • Features
  • Joy and Ease of Use
  • Emotional Connect
  • User Reach and Diversity
  • Privacy
Sea Yum

Sea Yum

SEAYUM aka CM is a writer at New Love Times. CM is an engineer at heart and consultant by profession. He believes that simple ideas when translated to great content can profoundly change the world and make it a better place. CM writes about life based topics including love, relationships, and happiness. He also specializes in reviewing products and apps in the area of love and relationships.