There's a decent chance you saw — and might have gotten annoyed by — a slew of #2015bestnine photo collages mucking up your Instagram feed just before the new year. Well, it turns out 130,000 people using the #2015bestnine app were doing more than just making collages — they were signing up for a secretive new service that turned out to be a dating app called Nine.
While we wonder what those 130,000 people make of Nine's true raison d'être, some were suspicious from the start.
The three-image-by-three-image collages that people posted on Instagram turned out to be Nine's profile pictures. Co-founder Yusuke Matsumura told BuzzFeed that the power of those grids is how they show off more of a person's character and personality than the usual headshots we swipe left and right on. It's a neat thought, and despite the fact that apps like Tinder already let people upload multiple photos, Nine might have a shot because of its focus. The service proudly identifies itself as a way to help people meet other "interesting Instagrammers". Nine's App Store listing is quick to confirm that you don't just have to talk about photos, but dang — wouldn't it be special to find someone who's just as meticulous about picture selection and filter choice?