Meet new friends with Skout

Skout is an iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store. It has been available for a while now, but has recently begun a promotional campaign via the official iOS Facebook app.

Skout is a mobile-social network designed to allow its users to meet new people, make friends and exchange pictures. Users may sign up either using Facebook or their email address, and must then populate their profile with basic information including whether they are interested in men or women — this helps customize the experience by only displaying other people the user might be interested in.

Skout’s main screen simply shows a grid view of people who are online at that time. Tapping on any of the images brings up the user’s profile, which displays their basic information, last few posts and number of “points” they have on hand. From here, it’s possible to “wink” at them, start a chat, add them to a “favorites” list, send them a virtual gift, be alerted when they next come online, block them or report them. It’s also possible to leave comments or likes on their last few posts directly from their profile.

Opening the drawer on the left of the app reveals a number of alternative means to browse the network. “Buzz” shows a social feed of either local people, friends or favorites. “Look at Me” is a bidding game where users can bid their accrued “points” in the hope of attaining a feature spot and consequently greater visibility. “Shake to Chat,” meanwhile, starts a conversation with a random and initially anonymous stranger then reveals both users’ profiles after 40 seconds.

Many activities on Skout cost “points” to perform. This in-app currency may either be purchased or acquired via various other means including engaging with advertising partners and convincing people to pay points to view private “backstage photos” — the owner of said photos received a proportion of the points cost to view these photos in this case.

Points may be spent on a variety of purposes ranging from viewing who checked out your profile to sending gifts to others. Other features include a “wink bomb” facility that allows a user to send a huge number of “winks” in a single action and consequently earn some attention.

Skout is a reasonable quality app that is mostly well put together and intuitive to use, but there is really relatively little here that hasn’t been seen elsewhere for free. Common complaints from App Store reviewers include how many seemingly basic features require points to use, and the large number of fake profiles on the network. Other issues include the fact that there is relatively little actual conversation going on in public, which doesn’t really encourage users to try and get to know each other better. There are exceptions, of course — a casual browse of the Buzz feed reveals a few users who have obviously become friends (or at least acquaintances) through the service, but as usual for this type of experience a lot of posts simply consist of pouting teenage girls and one-word comments from men regarding their appearance.

In short, then, while Skout is a competent social networking app, its focus on monetization rather than socialization negatively impacts the experience — users are far better off using one of the many completely free mobile-social networks to engage with people who share their particular interests.

Skout is currently ranked at No. 381 in Top Free Apps, No. 319 in Top Grossing Apps, No. 31 in Top Free Social Networking Apps and No. 16 in Top Grossing Social Networking Apps. You can follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

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