Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

January 27, 2014

Love: There's an app for that

(Continued)

Digital couple ring

CEO Park said the company envisioned a closed social network akin to a "digital couple ring." While any two people can use Between regardless of their relationship status, Park said many users see the app as a sign of commitment and loyalty, similar to rings that South Korean couples wear even before promising marriage. Agreeing to use the app or asking someone to join the app shows affection. A shy Korean may prefer saying "Do you want to do Between with me?" to ask someone out, he said.

While some mobile apps have given rise to exchanging naked pictures or hooking up with a stranger nearby, Between's design encourages an exclusive and lasting relationship. The one-account-per-email rule supports the idea of monogamy, although Park laughed saying the company wouldn't deter a person managing multiple accounts. Ham Yoon-seok, a 29-year-old finance professional in Seoul, said he writes poems and letters of apology on Between after a quarrel with his girlfriend.

Between will never add a location-tracking feature, Park said, because the app maker believes that trust is key in a relationship.

Dating culture

South Korean couples often expect each other to follow romantic customs, a source of big business here. In addition to Valentine's Day when women give chocolate to men, there is White Day on March 14 when men give sweets to women. It is easy to guess what to give on Rose Day and what to do on Kiss Day. Some businesses exclusively serve couples by selling identical looking T-shirts and other apparel that can be paired. Some offer special discounts for couples. The list goes on.

Korean couples celebrate not only a one-year anniversary, but also 100 days since meeting. Between keeps a count, serving as a reminder for people like Ham, who marks such occasions by writing a poem, giving a gift or dining at a fancy restaurant. Ham and his girlfriend have been together for more than 1,000 days.

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