Launched in February 2015 by tech developer Daniel Gendelman, Raya is one of the exclusive dating apps that describes itself as the "digital dinner party" for people in the "creative industries." The intended secrecy has earned the app the title "Illuminati Tinder." In 2018, Gendelman told The New York Times that Raya had over 10,000 members worldwide. Although Raya members are not allowed to name who they have spotted on the app, US Weekly nevertheless reports that a number of celebrities have been spotted on Raya, including Demi Lovato, John Mayer, Channing Tatum, Kiernan Shipka, Drew Barrymore, and Lizzo.
Like a Kelly bag from Hermès, a Raya membership is hard to come by. According to the New York Times, Raya has an acceptance rate of about 8%, which means that becoming a member of the app is comparable to getting into an Ivy League college. According to its own website, getting into Raya is a multi-step process. Each candidate must fill out an application, which is reviewed by "hundreds of anonymous committee members." You also need a recommendation from someone who is already signed up and a member of the app. Then it's a you just wait.
In 2018, a Business Insider reported that the Raya waiting list is over 100,000 people. Raya probably won't send you a rejection letter even if you don't make it past the waitlist - several members claim that the application just stays "pending" forever. Likewise, insiders say that it can take quite a while to get in, but it can also take several weeks to find out if you've been accepted. Then, when people are able to sign up, they immediately see contacts all listed in the app, and when they select one of those contacts for a recommendation, a pop-up window appears asking whether or not they would recommend you. But Hhow long the average wait is? iIt’s hard to say. One model claims she's been on the waiting list for over two years.
Even though Raya is billed as "Tinder for stars and starlets," the music and slideshow feature makes it feel more like a PowerPoint presentation. "You choose a song and create a slideshow with your pictures," says one member. "While you watch the slideshow, the song plays in the background." Like Tinder, Raya works on the principle of swiping, meeting and messaging. When you click on a person's photo, their slideshow and song play. From there, you can then swipe "yes" or "no." If both people say "yes," they can text or video chat within the app. However, matches expire after 10 days if no one responds to the first message, and only a limited number of profiles are shown per day. According to one reviewer, "You only see a few people per day, so it's not just a numbers game.
In addition to the slideshow, users upload a main picture for their profile, a short bio, and information about their age, place of residence, and job. You apply with your Instagram account. So your handle is on the Raya page. Unlike Tinder, potential Raya contacts can be from all over the world. You can't filter by location - only by age and gender. There's a "Maps" page where you can find users nearby, but Ryan says it costs extra to message people near you.
In 2018, a former Raya member tweeted that she was kicked off for simply "talking" about the app in public. Once accepted into the app, one must agree to a list of rules. On Raya's homepage, the guidelines state that all applicants must be over the age of 18, have no public displays of hate, and there should be no exaggerated displays of excessive wealth.
The guidelines shall be as follows, that every member is expected to follow the simple rules of respect, trust, and privacy. Raya will remove members who do not share these ideals of the community. They also reserve the right to suspend or terminate any membership that Raya believes no longer enriches their community.
According to the App Store, a membership to Raya costs $9.99 per month once you're in. No pricing is known for additional in-app purchases.
Due to strict secrecy rules, it's hard to tell which celebrities have found love on Raya.
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