PROS / You can find out if your friends have a Badoo account before you ever set up an account yourself.
CONS / The privacy and security settings leave much to be desired.
VERDICT / Badoo will help you find new friends in your area, but it is designed to be a dating and rating service.
Badoo started in London in 2006 and is largely meant to be one of the international social networking sites. The country that has utilized Badoo the most is Brazil. It was introduced to the U.S. in early 2012. It is designed to be like other dating social media sites where you can find friends and relationships. Soon after its arrival here in the states, it acquired the rights to display pictures of members of Hot or Not.
Like many other social network sites, you have several options to filter through interests and types to find someone to befriend, date or chat with on Badoo. The advanced filter allows you to pick a range of ages and distances from where you live. Badoo performs well at finding people for you to connect with locally. On the advanced filter, you can look for more specific traits like body type, kids, education and star sign. This is very specific, but we found that it does not provide any networking outside of dating.
A positive aspect of Badoo is that you can know who of your friends are on the site before you set up an account. This gives you a more accurate view of whether this social networking service is worth it to you or not. Although users are required to be 18 years old, we felt that the site focuses too much on chatting with strangers and not on building a personal network of friends. Within moments of creating a profile, we received instant messages from people all over the world.
Although you can set your security options to be as public or private as you want, we felt that the best way for us to get a representative feel of the site was to keep our profile as public as possible. This just resulted in an abundance of spam messages from random people. One or two of these messages is normally acceptable, but we had more than a dozen in only a few days.
In regards to security, Badoo ranks very low. While you have the ability to block users and report abuse, your concerns often go unheard. The company's reputation has been hurt due to fake accounts using current members' pictures and information. Badoo takes little action when problems like this arise.
Badoo is essentially a chat room, dating site and picture-rating site disguised as one of the top social networking sites. While this service has failed to make a splash stateside, it is widely used in South America. If you are looking for a dating social networking website, this one has just enough features to keep you happy, but it fails as traditional social media service.