Products + Test-drives

Up in smoke: the Tinder for roommates shuts down

By Virginia K. Smith  | August 28, 2014 - 11:59AM

New Yorkers now have one less option for tracking down a roommate: the Roommates app by listings site Apartment List is ceasing operations. Earlier this week, an email came our way (subject line: "I love tacos.") announcing that after a little over a year in business, the Tinder-like roommate finding app would be going the way of the dodo. They explained the decision like so:

"When we launched it last July, we thought of it as a worthwhile way to connect people who are in a 'less-than-ideal' housing situations. Yes, it had its share of flaws and feels like a dating app but you'd be surprised how similar finding a roommate is to finding that special someone [...]

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to invest enough time and resources into making the app truly awesome so we have made the decision to shut down Roommates. We hope to start it up again in the future when we can give the attention it deserves."

As it happens, we'd considered including Roommates in our round-up of the best NYC real estate apps back in July, but felt that the app wasn't quite ready for prime time (or sufficiently populated with users to garner a viable selection of potential roomies). 

Via email, Apartment List's senior marketing associate John Havel explained that the shut down had to do, in part, with tech and development issues. "We initially designed the Roommates app to be a self-sufficient platform with the hope that it could run on its own with limited technical maintenance," he tells us. "Unfortunately we ran into quite a few bugs that required our engineer's attention—including one that didn’t allow people to log in to create a profile… which was a bummer. ... It really just came down us not being able to give Roommates the love and attention it needed. In the words of one of my Midwestern friends, it’s better to whole-ass one thing than half-ass a bunch of stuff."

With that in mind, Apartment List will be doubling down on tweaking its listings feature, and as for the rest of you roommate hunters, looks like it's back to the drawing board (or one of these websites).


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