Wait, People Pay for Tinder?


“Tinder’s definitely not a game,” said Elie Seidman, the company’s chief executive, in a recent interview. “At the core, it’s about human connection.”

If you squint, though, the app doesn’t look so different from the countless mobile games on the market. Tinder has a clear objective and explicit rules. At any time of day, there are tens of millions of people playing, er, swiping, on the dating app. And, like the games with which it competes for screen time, Tinder charges users who want a leg up.

For example, in Clash of Clans, a mobile game in which you build and defend a village, you can use real money to buy “gems,” the basic currency of that game. On Tinder, you can buy extra “super likes” (which alert others that you are enamored of them) and “boosts” (which make your profile more visible to people in the area).

Or, to really increase your chances, you might subscribe to Tinder Gold for about $30 a month. (The price depends on multiple factors, including where you live and how many years you have walked the earth searching for a partner.)

Some experts who had expressed doubt in Match Group have recently shifted gears. Goldman Sachs had advised investors to sell its stock in February, citing the likelihood of Tinder Gold subscribers ending their subscriptions and Facebook’s gearing up in the dating space. But in May, Goldman analysts adjusted their estimate, calling their previous view “myopic” in light of Match’s consistent subscriber growth.

That growth comes as Match Group continues to expand into new markets, building up its user base around the world.

“You get a huge advantage by getting a lot of free users,” Mr. Swidler said, explaining the company’s “product first, then monetization” strategy. Essentially, the larger the pool of people using Tinder, the more who might eventually pay for certain benefits. If they get frustrated enough.



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