What is The Inner Circle?
Ok… right off the bat, this is a hard one to explain simply. Is it a dating site? Is it a social network? Is it a members club?
Hang on tight, this is one of the most comprehensive reviews I’ve written. I feel opening the door on this exclusive service has been an experience matched by no other, yet…..
To quote a paragraph from their FAQs :
“The Inner Circle is an exclusive community of inspiring singles around the world. We believe that meeting up with other like-minded, single people should be simple and fun. The Inner Circle helps create great opportunities for members to interact online, through the app and meet up at exclusive events that we host around the world.
The Inner Circle maintains its vibrant network of like-minded individuals through a thorough screening process upon registration. This ensures that eligible singles with similar lifestyles can meet each other in a friendly and trustworthy community.”
Still slightly confused? Let’s see if I can explain further and give you some insider knowledge of how to get approved.
How do you join?
Sign up is via LinkedIn or Facebook only. Sorry guys, if you are a social media phobe you will not be able to join. Inner Circle claims this is for security, I guess it does make it slightly harder to make fake profiles but not impossible.
The Screening Process
You may have noticed in the FAQ quote they mention a screening process. This is where things get a little challenging and where The Inner Circle differs from any other dating site. Finding the detail on this isn’t easy, you have to dig into the website T&Cs and this is what you’ll find.
“The registration and creation of Your Account qualifies as an application. All applications will automatically end up on a waiting list.
After an internal screening process, we decide whether the applicant will be allowed as a member of The Inner Circle.
Applications can be refused by us. We might not always approve an application immediately, this can take time. People on the waiting list will regularly be screened in order to be approved. When you want to be removed from our waiting list, please send us an email at admin at theinnercircle.co.
We do not explain why an application remains on the waiting list or why an applicant is allowed as a member of The Inner Circle. The decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.”
In 2016 the Express wrote an article stating that the waiting list for The Inner Circle was some 93,000 people long worldwide. Since contacting Inner Circle for comment I can inform you that this waiting list has now grown to a whopping 100,000 users as members of the site are now topping 1 million!!
So now the insistence of your social media log-in becomes a little clearer. According to the Express who interviewed the founder David Vermeulen:
“We focus on those aged 25-45 who are well educated, who come from ‘inspiring and ambitious’ professions.”
“We aim to have a mix of those from creative industries as well as more traditional professions such as banking or city workers and those in unusual jobs like pilots.”
I’ve been on some dates with ladies I met through the site and evidently it took them on average 2-3 months to be approved. Some of their friends who they’ve since recommended are still outstanding.
For full disclosure, I was given fast track access and membership in order to write this review. Otherwise let’s be honest I’d probably be still waiting to be approved. So thank you Inner Circle for the opportunity and insight.
That said, moving swiftly on……
How it works
Having been a fully-fledged member with Inner Circle for a couple of months now, I’m just about getting my head around the concept of what they have created here.
The home page makes things a little clearer. I can’t screen shot it as it’s full of personal information from my own profile and others but here are the content titles:
- Who’s online?
- Members currently abroad.
- Meet members for… Drinks etc
- Who’s newly joined?
- Who’s visiting your city?
- Up and coming Inner Circle Events.
- Hotspots in your city I.e. restaurants, bars etc.
So you get the idea, its far more than just a dating site. It’s a social network in its own right that is formed for the purpose of meeting other single people who are carefully selected to appeal to one another.
This is one of the main challenges I’ve had with dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. Finding ladies of similar educational, social and career background is incredibly hard. I like to be on equal footing with someone I date, it just feels much more comfortable.
Do you have to Pay?
In order to receive basic access you will be asked to invite at least two friends to join the site.
Pricing for the under 30s is £20 a month for full membership and £40 a month for the over 30s, so for once it pays to be young.
I’ll go more into the vetting process shortly as I’ve now received an official insight into this.
The basic profile side of the site isn’t that different to its counterparts. Although the profile is a little more detailed than the likes of Tinder and Bumble.
Details include: Basic stats, age etc. About me section. Favorite cities. Places they like to go in their own city. Personality traits and finally what dates / activities they may be up for.
Browsing potential matches is either in a familiar member’s grid page where you can click into their profile to see more. From this main page you can filter members by online, new or nearby (very useful). Or you can toggle the button to flip into the standard swipe right or left. Personally I prefer the swiping, as well…. It’s just easier.
- The members, they are definitely from more educated backgrounds and successful in their career status. This for me is a good thing, for others it may not be.
- Member profiles have more detail than other apps, but less than fully fledged dating sites. It sits comfortably in between.
- Being able to browse members by swiping is a nice touch and then to be able to view in grid form also.
- Members are quite active. I’ve been rather slow due to a hectic schedule, but ladies have been very proactive in messaging me and asking if I’m still awake J. Thank you ladies.
- THE EVENTS!! This is where the site stands out from the crowd. Not many dating companies have managed this successfully. I did attend their last Little Blue Door House Warming Party which was fantastic. I paid for this I might add, as I wanted my experience there to be as any other member would have. (Plus be slightly undercover as the management didn’t know who I was) Shhhh….. I am in the photos of the event though so if you want to try guess who I am, or play where’s wally…. I briefly chatted to the manager of the venue who was an awesome guy so I can fully recommend that event next time it comes around. Full review of this event to come soon.
- It’s a tough one this, it could be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. The selection process is a bit of a mystery and a blocker, BUT NOT ANYMORE!! Carry on reading…
- The favorite places feature, I’m not really sure of the point in this, is it a marketing gimmick for the venues or a genuine pitch to match members to venues they like to visit?
- Hobbies and interests. These are a set number of questions, you cannot insert your own and they seem to profile you on this.
- The mobile app is a bit clunky. I get this feeling the fully fledged website is what they’ve spent most of their time on and it’s certainly easier to navigate. Updating your profile via the app for example is near impossible as you cannot scroll the text boxes.
- If members don’t have full access this can prevent your communication with them. While I was waiting for mine to be approved, there were some very odd times of when I could and couldn’t see / reply to messages.
- Finding members local to you. Inner Circle is divided up by city. I held conversations with members that had joined under the London location however didn’t live in London at all. This was a little frustrating and I think should be filtered better during the selection process. If you live in Southend-on-Sea I’m clearly not going to be able to catch you for a coffee after work….
To conclude and how to increase your chances of approval
My experience of The Inner Circle is by no means complete, the amount of features and available events is extremely extensive and well planned. I’m very much enjoying the experiences though and look forward to more.
Now on to how they select their members. Thank you to my Inner Circle source for this information.
“The main criteria for joining the app is that you’re respectful, professional and well-presented, something which is monitored through your behaviour on the app and we personally approve EVERY single member by checking across multiple social media profiles – so if you have offensive pictures, or a scant FB profile you won’t make the cut.
We need to see that you are the real deal with genuine friends. If a friend recommends you you are both likely to get approved quicker because it increases the authenticity factor (although again, just because a friend recommends you doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be approved).”
My promise to you though, if you’ve read this far, is that I will continue to keep this review updated as my journey continues and evolves.
You can sign up online google “The Inner Circle”, or download the app from the apple or play store.
Next up… keep your eyes open for my review of The Little Blue Door House Warming event.