Q&A: Hardcore Hookup App Mixxxer's 'Mane' Man

LOS ANGELES — With its motto, “no dating allowed,” web-based hookup mobile app Mixxxer lets users know up front that it’s all about finding sex partners.

And not even a year old, the GPS-based service that allows hardcore photos and messages to be shared, boasts more than 250,000 users in the U.S. alone and has been featured in a number of mainstream media outlets as the adults only equivalent to the myriad hookup sites that seem to appear on a daily basis.

Altough the site is free to curious users, a paid membership is required to post. And with membership comes a special “shower door” privacy feature that allows users to post photos but hide their identities.

Recently, Mixxxer announced that it is hoping to expand its reach beyond swingers and singles, offering all females and female couples free lifetime memberships if they sign up before May 31.

XBIZ sat down with Mixxxer CEO Michael Manes to learn more about the intriguing location-based app that “zigged” when most other adult-phobic apps “zagged” in the face of restricted mobile app store policies.

XBIZ: What was behind the idea to create the Mixxxer mobile app?

Manes: Our goal with Mixxxer was to create an adults only hookup service that offered a true proximity based mobile experience. We operate outside of the Apple and Google app stores allowing us to offer a less restrictive environment for our members to interact.

XBIZ: Who are the company principals?

Manes: I'm the CEO and main principal of the company. Several other members from New York and Florida are involved as well, but they wish to remain anonymous due to privacy concerns.

XBIZ: Are the creators from the tech or adult worlds?

Manes: The creators are from the tech world and several operate brick and mortar establishments in the retail sector.

XBIZ: What makes the app unique among dating/hookup apps?

Manes: We cut to the chase. We wanted to create a hookup app that was just that. Our motto in the very beginning was “no dating allowed.” We felt one of the best ways to send this message was by allowing our members to post erotic and XXX content. Most of the established adult dating sites are antiquated and struggling to stay relevant in an increasingly mobile world. Mixxxer is the answer to that.

We’ve been told by users that allowing them to post X-rated content is quite liberating. Not to mention, when surfing through local users, seeing these types of photos was described as more “thrilling and exciting” than surfing through typical PG related photos that are found on most dating sites.

XBIZ: Do you allow hardcore photos to be posted?

Manes: Absolutely. In fact we encourage it. Posting X-rated photos really separates us from all other hookup services in the app stores because they can't allow that.

XBIZ: What’s the target audience?

Manes: We’ve always looked at the swinger crowd as our “tribe." That’s our main target. Our target age range is 24-35.

XBIZ: If the app is free, how do you block minors from using it?

Manes: The app is free to sign up, but in order to send a message or tease to a fellow member, you have to upgrade to a premium membership, which requires the use of a credit card. We use the same safeguards all dating and hookup sites use as well, age check at sign up and requiring them to agree to our terms prior to logging in.

XBIZ: Explain the GPS sex finder.

Manes: That’s the core of our service. Mixxxer is proximity based. We use the user's phone GPS data to display other interested members in the local area. To further protect our user’s privacy, we’ve created a one-mile “buffer” so that the GPS data is only accurate to within one mile. We felt this was necessary to make our members feel more comfortable sharing their locations. The GPS feature can always be turned off as well.

XBIZ: Do you allow solicitations from escorts and prostitutes?

Manes: No, but like most other dating and hookup sites, that’s something we’re constantly monitoring. We don’t catch them all, but we catch a lot of them.

XBIZ: You’ve recently reported 250,000 users – to what do you attribute the milestone?

Manes: We’ve gotten a lot of attention in the press, which has definitely helped. Curiosity is a powerful thing. But more so is the fact that we offer a truly unique experience. The genesis of the idea came after discussing the sudden popularity of hookup apps like Tinder and their ambiguous nature. I think eliminating that ambiguity has drawn a lot of people our way.

XBIZ: Explain the “shower door” privacy feature and how it was developed.

Manes: The shower door was my idea. I had a sudden “aha moment” in the middle of development. We liked it so much we delayed our launch by almost a month to implement it. The shower door allows users to post photos while still hiding their identity. It took a lot of testing to find the right balance of blur and pixilation that would allow members to show off their physical attributes while still hiding their identity, but I think we nailed it.

XBIZ: What does the premium membership provide?

Manes: Free users have full access to all profiles, use of the privacy filter (the "shower door") and the ability to respond freely to any messages sent to them by premium members. They also have access to the Mixxx, which is similar to Tinder in functionality. If there is a mutual match, free members are free to send messages to that match.

Premium users can freely send messages to all users, send teases, and see who's viewed them recently and save unlimited favorites to their "blackbook.”

XBIZ: You’ve recently offered free memberships to women. Is this because there has been a lack of female users?

Manes: No. But let’s be honest, you can never have enough female users. When looking at the data, we noticed a higher ratio of males upgrading to premium vs. females. We were seeing many females sign up and then just waiting to receive messages from other males. Our goal is to change that and hopefully empower females more. Not to mention, this was one of the most popular requests by our male users. Bars thrive on running “ladies night” promotions, why can’t we do that same.

XBIZ: What’s the user male to female ratio?

Manes: We’re holding around the 65 percent male to 35 percent female ratio.

XBIZ: Are you planning any expansion or new apps?

Manes: Yes and yes. We get 100 emails a day from people all over the world. Australia, Canada and the U.K. top the list, and surprisingly enough Switzerland. We plan on expanding to Canada and the U.K. first. We’re working on a new app focused on a different niche as well. It’s still top secret, but we’ll be announcing that in the very near future.