Advantages Community-orientated, no adverts, free membership (without stupid 'limits'), unlimited messaging...
Disadvantages No chat room yet.
GayRomeo is another of the popular social-networking/dating websites for gay, bisexual and curious men alongside the likes of Gaydar and Gay.com...but don’t let this put you off, as this relative newbie isn’t the same-old, same-old. The website is already quite huge despite setting-up-shop just 4 years ago in 2002 and whilst membership growth in the UK has been slow, it is beginning to pick up alongside GayRomeo’s rapid emergence throughout Europe, America and Australia.Currently split between two bases in Amsterdam and Germany (Germany is its birthplace but due to a new legislation, the team behind Gayromeo decided it would be beneficial to move to the Netherlands) GayRomeo was founded in 2002 when the websites owner, Jan was studying in England. Story has it that he was tired of paying for gay ‘profile’ websites that were full of advertisements so on return to Germany he decided to set up his own.
Six months prior to Gayromeo’s incarnation, Jan and his friend Manuel had been working together and gaining programming experience at Erados.com, which was, and continues to be, their first website set-up to cater for escorts and their clients. This is now fully integrated into the GayRomeo format that which has of course developed into something much bigger (and better) than it would have been during those early days.So...how isn’t Gayromeo the same-old, same-old? For one, unlike many of the other gay (lesbian, bisexual and trans) networking websites out there, GayRomeo isn’t some anonymous, potential-behemoth of an organization jumping into every available pond (be it travel, days out, radio, magazines…) to grab as many ‘pink pounds’ as possible. You can roam around GayRomeo for a good couple of hours before you even begin to set-up your own profile, and sit with your tea reading all about the websites history, goals or ‘community objectives’. You can play the GayRomeo game (which is very funny), download other quirky fun stuff, or view photos of all the guys that work behind the scenes to make it happen.
Is there more? Maybe…it depends if you want to use some of the features or not but as well as the profile, members can also set-up and join user clubs based on anything from holidays, film, car-sharing and sport, to cruising and fetishes. You can save a huge number of favourites (friends), leave ‘tracks’ on others profiles, do complex user and content searches, upload over a dozen photos and create a separate album for your profile, mention other websites in your profile without being censored, and if you like start building up ‘community/user points’.Users help users (it’s a community) on Gayromeo, a little like Ciao in some ways. To make sure X-rated content stays X-rated, and users make decent, (non-commercial) profiles with descriptions rather than a couple of words and a dodgy picture, GayRomeo operates a system that allows users to rate others pictures, filter out ‘bad’ profiles in the courtroom, act as a moderator or try new ‘beta’ versions of the latest content before it goes live. The pop-up messenger means you can close down the main (‘maxi’) screen and keep your friends and dates on your task bar, at work for instance! You also get unlimited messages, limitless profile views/hits and no pop-ups. The messaging is something GayRomeo promise to keep free as they recognise that for many (in the sticks, who aren’t out, are in hostile countries etc) the Internet is still unfortunately one of the only open-lines of communication with others of similar ilk.
Membership is free and there are no advertisements. GayRomeo do however rely on members that choose to pay for extra features. The one-off monthly fee that I usually go for works out at about £4.60 (though you save if you pay for longer periods), and for this you get to save a whole lot more friends, increase the number of photos you can upload, choose between more profile styles, view X content without age verification (as you need a credit card) etc. The only downside to the website is that because of the unlimited messages and clubs there is no large chat room network that exists on the other sites though this may change.All-in-all GayRomeo is a brilliant website. It is simple, easy-to-use, clear to navigate and changing all the time which makes it more exciting. All websites like to boast about how community-orientated they are but GayRomeo actually seems to push the boat out.
www.gayromeo.com© 2006 G. M.
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