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Tinder To Offer Premium Services

Hook-Up App Goes For Profit

How much would you pay for love? Young and old across the world have been swiping left and right on Tinder, with 15 million matches a day. So far, they’ve been doing it for free; Tinder hasn’t been asking users to pay for any of its services or even put ads in the app. Rather it’s relied on cash from investors which have so far valued the company at around $5 billion.

That’s all about to change, though: Chief Executive Sean Rad has announced that Tinder will launch a premium service from next month. The update will likely allow users to pay to access additional features within the app above and beyond the standard location-based Hot-or-Not game.

Rad didn’t specify what the new features would be, but intelligent guesses (and some wild speculation) could certainly be made. One popular theory is that users could pay to access potential matches for locations outside their geographic limit, which could allow people to start chatting to users in a city they’re about to visit or an area they’re thinking of moving to.

Beyond this, there are a wealth of opportunities for potential monetisation. You could pay to promote your profile, much like you can pay to promote tweets or Facebook statuses, to ensure that it’s the first that people around you see when they log in; Tinder could charge for stickers and emojis, as many messenger apps do; it could even charge you to broadcast your Moments (Snapchat-esque ephemeral photos viewable by all your matches) to a wider audience.

The first wave of internet dating sites fell into two categories. OKCupid and PlentyOfFish, pitched towards a younger demographic, are free with the option of additional paid services. Match.com and Zoosk, which are billed for a slightly older clientele looking for a more serious relationship, have a base monthly charge. Tinder’s recognition of its target market – thirsty millennials – and the apparent plans for monetising seem to place it fairly squarely in the former camp. There are a couple of things, however, which set Tinder apart from this paradigm.

The most obvious is that it doesn’t make any pretence about connecting you with your soulmate or anything so sappy. All dating sites, including proto-Tinder hook-up joints like OKCupid, make you fill out a questionnaire to determine the kinds of people you’ll be matched with, maintaining at least the convention that the people you’ll be talking to are people you’ll have something in common with. Tinder has cut through this bull from the beginning. Everyone knows what you’re there for, because you just tapped a heart next to a person despite only knowing what they look like in four photos and that you both enjoy Anchorman.

The second is the fact that it’s wholly mobile. Browser monetisation, in the traditional desktop sense, is largely dying. Just ask Facebook, who make billions of dollars only because they have billions of users – their per-user profit margin is actually pretty slim. No one clicks on banner ads any more, and no one’s figured out a better way to squeeze cash out of people on their computers. 

Tinder, along with the rest of this new wave of social apps, has the edge. They know where you are, they know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, they know what kind of person you’re attracted to and what kind you’re not. They know a lot, and most of all they know that you love using Tinder – and that you’ll probably shell out a couple of bucks for a cute cat sticker if it means one less night alone in your ennui-ridden single bedroom apartment.


Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Tinder To Offer Premium Services Reviewed by Douglas Clarke-Williams on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Rating: 5
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