“We’re not made for dating,” Sniffies CMO and creative director Eli Martin says bluntly. “We’re made for guys to have experiences.”
After a year of very few experiences—at least, none that didn’t bring with it the fear of a public shaming straight out of Nathaniel Hawthorne—Sniffies is drawing more and more attention to its free-for-all ethos and carefully curated aesthetic.
In other words, Sniffies fucks.
All those restrictions on Grindr? The endless call-and-response “Woof”s on Scruff? Sniffies doesn’t give a shit about any of that. Sniffies wants to get you from Point A to Point B—Point B being busting your nut with a new buddy—as quickly as possible.
“I talk to guys all the time who tell me, ‘Sniffies is so much faster,'” Martin says. “You’re either going to do it or you’re not. You’ve seen it, you know what’s going on.”
More importantly, Sniffies serves as an elegant—albeit a sweaty and raunchy—rejoinder to the whining of the LGBTQ+ community that hooking up online is so sterile and beige. You don’t get any more immediate or old-school than Sniffies’ cruising location feature, which recently informed me that a restroom near the Dillard’s at the nearby rundown mall is quite the spot for guys on the hunt for a quick hook-up. (I was more of a Mervyn’s man, myself.)
“The great thing is it’s not about having a perfect guy over to your apartment,” Martin says. “In a cruising situation, you get the rush of finding someone. You get that chance to see this person and decide what you want to do and go for it.”
Adding that users must be aware of the local laws regarding what one can and can’t do in public, Martin adds, “The interesting thing is you could be in a happy relationship, but you’re never going to have that cruising experience with them.”
Which brings up another fine point regarding Sniffies: You don’t have to join. Users can remain as anonymous as they want and there’s no mobile app to give you away, if you happen to be someone who thrills to the rush of getting away with something.
“We’re still men, and we have this drive for sex that is really ingrained in us,” Martin says. “It’s nice to have this way to do something about it. Sniffies is really about that in-the-moment connection. It’s getting that craving and being able to satisfy that immediately.”
One can even satisfy it without leaving one’s apartment, thanks to LivePlay, essentially a live cam show in your profile. That’s part of the Sniffies Plus package, which starts at $9.99 a month and decreases based on how long you join. (A six-month commitment is $6.99 a month.)
And people have been joining; Martin points to a high retention rate once users discover the services offered, which can be just as thrilling as finding a dark corner of a public restroom, in some cases.
“Because we’re not as mainstream as something like Grindr or Scruff, people have this sense of excitement about the app,” Martin says. “One of our other biggest sources is Twitter, and it’s fully organic where people will just post about their [Sniffies] hookups on Twitter. I’ve not seen that kind of brand loyalty to a Grindr or Scruff.”
That might be because the naughtiness of Sniffies feels organic, and not the carefully curated, painfully blah sexiness of the better-known apps. That might well be changing, as long as Sniffies remains true to the brand by eschewing the corporate overlords running our app stores. Sure, playing along brings with it a lot of perks. But think of all the profile dicks you’d miss out on!