Bear411 Review — Looks Can Be Deceiving
Bear411 is all about bears — from muscle bears to leather bears, this site focuses entirely on the bear community. The question is, does it provide results? We conducted a complete review of Bear411 to provide you with the information you need to answer that question.
Bear411 Review Results
Final Word on Bear411
Yes, Bear411 looks awful in terms of site design. However, much like finding an old bar or coffee shop that may look worn but that offers excellent service and delicious beverages, Bear411 is worth putting up with its aesthetic flaws. If you are a member of the bear community, this site is genuinely dedicated to helping you meet fellow bears. They don't just pay lip service to their intended purpose, they actually come through for their members.
We would rate Bear411 as VERY GOOD.
— Pros and Cons —
- Members provide a tight-knit community feel
- Free version is powerful
- Ideal for meeting partners for sex, friendship or cyberchat
- Userbase is active and engaged
- Antiquated site design
- Lack of native mobile apps
- Lack of advanced features such as video chat
- Approval of new accounts can take 4 to 36 hours.
— In-Depth Bear411 Review —
Dating and hookup sites for the gay community represent one of the fastest growing segments of the online dating industry. In spite of this, the “bear” community is often marginalized within the niche of gay dating sites.
If you are a bear — or are interested in meeting a bear — ask yourself this question, “does your current gay dating site make it easy to meet a bear?”
Chances are most would reply with a “no.” This is where a gay dating site called Bear411.com steps into the picture. It wants to become the alternative dating platform for bears.
— First Impression —
When we first accessed the Bear411 welcome page we were struck by how outdated it looked. We often remark when other sites look out of step with the times in terms of design that they look like something out of the early 2000s. Bear411, however, made us harken back to a time even later than that. The look, the design, the navigation is reminiscent of a site from the 1990s.
We did not allow this to dishearten us entirely on the potential of the site. However, its antiquated look did make us take the additional step of probing deeper into the technicals of the site to ensure that it did not pose a security or privacy risk for users. Fortunately, in spite of its “retro” look, Bear411 does implement the latest essential protocols to safeguard the privacy of their users’ information.
— What Bear411 Offers —
The value proposition offered by Bear411 revolves around their exclusive focus on the bear community. Its platform is designed not only to help users meet bears who live nearby, but it is also designed to encourage real-world meetups. These consist of events scheduled throughout the world in large and mid-sized cities. Some are small events held in bars or clubs, while others are larger, taking place in resorts or even cruise ships.
The more we explored this community development side of Bear411, the more we were inclined to forgive it for its design transgressions.
— Registration Process —
The registration process for Bear411 is uncomplicated. You are required to provide a valid email address, select a username and password, location — the basic information that is standard for every dating site out there.
However, being focused on the bear community, there are a few fields in the registration form that you will not find on other dating or hookup sites. For example, new users are asked to specify what type of bear they are. The choices presented from a drop-down menu include bear, cub, muscle bear, daddy bear, chubby, leather bear, chaser, and couple.
They are also asked to classify their sexual style. The options are “it’s a secret,” a top, a bottom, versatile, oral-only, and jack-off only.
The new user also needs to select the primary purpose for their presence on Bear411. The options are love, sex, friends, and chat. Regardless of what option you choose, you are not limited to that purpose once you are accepted on the platform.
— Bear Meetings —
One of the final steps in the registration process requires new users to announce if they have an intention to attend an upcoming “bear meeting.” A drop-down menu presents the registrant with a list of all of the upcoming bear meetings. When our testers registered these numbered over 40 and were located in a variety of countries — Spain, the U.K., Mexico and Australia just to name a few. Nearly half of the events were scheduled for the U.S., however.
Bear411 also requires new users to post at least one profile image.
— Confirmation —
One major issue that our testers reported regarding the registration process was that it takes the site a long time to approve new registrants. The site states that the review process can take as long as 12 hours. Our testers encountered approval times ranging from four to 36 hours. In our opinion, this is exceedingly long.
Once your account is approved you are notified by email. There is also the option to enter your phone number to receive an SMS message when your account is approved.
— The User Experience —
It is important to continuously divorce the aesthetics of the site from its commitment to the bear community and fulfillment of purpose. For those of you out there that are irked by design fallacies, Bear411 will consistently seem like an eyesore. However, once you start conducting searches and engaging with other members through the site’s messaging system you will be drawn in by how results-oriented the site really is.
The search function and the messaging feature are very basic. There are no bells and whistles, yet you don’t miss the “extras” of other sites because, as our testers stated, nearly every person you connect with is genuine. Even when you engage with members who you may not be compatible with the experience is still pleasant. For a site that is heavy on those seeking sexual encounters, it is surprisingly genteel and cordial.
— Cost —
You can conduct searches and use the messaging function with the standard free membership offered by Bear411. However, there is also a premium membership that offers a few extra perks. These include viewing the “x-rated” pictures posted by members, accessing your complete message history, unlimited profile browsing, having a capacity for 1,000 profiles in your contacts section, and a feature Bear411 refers to as “GPS.”
To be honest, our testers never encountered any limitation or throttling of profiles when they were browsing under the free version. If there is a limit, we did not reach it. The “GPS” feature remained a mystery to us. The site does not have a native mobile app so there is no direct connection to a smartphone, much less GPS data. When our testers accessed the GPS feature it simply mimicked the standard search function already available for free.
The cost for a one-month membership is $9.95, three months costs $24, six months $39, and a full year $69. We see no reason to pay for a premium membership when the free version provides a similar user experience.