Indonesian dating app for polygamists makes waves online

Polygamy has long been a subject of controversy in Indonesia, so when online dating website-cum-application AyoPoligami was launched, it quickly caught the attention of internet users.

Launched on April 12 this year, AyoPoligami came equipped with, as its name implies, a polygamy-related feature: a column in which a member could disclose their marital status along with a disclaimer of their spouse's permission to be polygamous.

Elma Adisya, an intern at web magazine Magdalene, came across the application while writing an article about the effects of polygamy on children. Her published article then went viral, resulting in users, such as Miranti Adelia, downloading the app.

When Elma tried the application for the first time, she found that AyoPoligami was dominated by male members.

Miranti, however, noted that female users existed. "They might be imposters, posing as someone else or doing research like me," she said.

In regards to the user experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI), both were reported as having frequently lagged.

"The interface, which was dominated by a dark-coloured tone, was too much as it showed a husband with a few wives," said Miranti, a digital art director for a private company.

During their research, Elma and Miranti encountered different types of men. Elma said not all members joined AyoPoligami with their spouse's permission.

Miranti, meanwhile, interacted with men ranging from those who were polite to those who seemed polite but later engaged in so-called sex chats, while others seemingly had no clear intentions.

AyoPoligami owner and founder Lindu Cipta Pranayama told The Jakarta Post that the app was developed based on his personal experiences on several dating websites. "At first, we developed a dating website for singles, but during the development period, the issue of polygamy arose," said Lindu.

Based on his observations, polygamy can destroy a marriage when the husband does not inform his wife about the intention to have a second wife. "It hurts women," he added.

AyoPoligami is said to be designed for those looking for a serious relationship. However, as the dating site's popularity increased, so did its number of fake accounts, as well as the frequency in which sex chats occurred.

After consulting his ustad (Islamic teacher), he deleted the accounts of all current members, with plans to relaunch the platform on Oct. 5.

Lindu said the new version of AyoPoligami would include more filtering features. For example, those wanting to register will need to provide a valid identification card, disclose their marital status and provide a letter of permission to remarry from their first partner.

He said that with or without AyoPoligami, polygamy will always be controversial, hence the decision to require a partner's permission.

Lindu also shared that he met his wife, whom he married on Sept. 10, via the app, which gave him the motivation to continue developing the online dating service.

"I wanted it to be a trusted online dating website," he said.

on SPH Brightcove

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