Dating app makes you call your match to get started

Hotline wants some real human interaction before you start messaging.

With most dating services, live human interaction is usually the last thing that happens. It's what you get if that back-and-forth messaging actually leads somewhere. In Hotline's newly launched service, however, it's not just prominent... it's mandatory. The mobile app requires that you have a 5-minute voice call with your prospective partner (thankfully, without using your phone number) before you can message them. It's a scary concept if you're shy or hate calls, but the hope is that you'll quickly find out whether or not the real person is as interesting as their profile.

There are other touches that have you treating potential dates more seriously. Profiles can have videos, and you're limited to three matches at a time once you've liked enough users. Hotline tells Mashable that this is a conscious attempt to avoid treating people like commodities, which is all too easy when many rival apps treat candidates like playing cards.

As intriguing as the service is, there are a few hurdles to clear. Hotline is currently available only in New York City on iOS, although there are plans for expansion. And more importantly, it costs $9 per month -- not a huge amount, but enough to shrink the dating pool. If it succeeds, though, it could be a viable option for singles who'd rather not waste time with virtual pen pals.