Tinder has revolutionized the world of dating through a nifty and addictive app that eliminates most of the annoyances associated with online dating. Tinder is basically a 21st century version of hot or not that involves endorsing or rejecting people based on few choice pictures.
If you both choose to swipe right (In Tinderese that’s a Yes), you’re matched and can initiate conversation and hopefully live happily ever after. It uses your Facebook profile to get you set up easily, and clues you into who’s connected to whom so that you can make more informed choices when you’re swiping through pictures. Unless you’ve been living in a pineapple under the sea à la Spongebob, you probably already knew all of this.
If you’re a Millennial, find yourself single, and have a smartphone (basically if you’re not completely weird), you probably have found yourself playing with this app. Swiping away at lovely ladies or gentleman callers, we forge futures in the brave new world of online dating.
We collect matches with the same zest as when we relentlessly acquired Pokemon, Pogs, or Beanie Babies in our childhood. At the same time, we are ever vigilant at maintaining high standards and liberally swiping left, unless our judgement has been compromised after imbibing half-priced happy hour elixirs with our friends.
We cannot deny that Tinder is now a cultural phenomenon in dating. As a result of its sweeping success, it’s also taking Wall Street by storm. It is among the growing list of businesses in the cyber world that are valued at over a billion dollars that haven’t figured out how to make money. You’re not alone in scratching your head, since you would think investors would be more interested in the bottom line than anything else. Nevertheless, Tinder’s lack of a viable revenue model isn’t concerning investors.
Investors are likely playing the long-game with Tinder. It’s such a force in the online dating scene that they’ll figure out how to monetize the most successful dating platform of all time in the future. There are examples of other companies that are more concerned about market dominance than short-term profits, most notably Amazon, which after 20 years still isn’t profitable.
Graph from International Business Times
Nevertheless, Wall Street believes Amazon is more valuable than Walmart. In the new economy, sector dominance is as good as cold hard cash. The specifics of how in the world the company will actually make investors solid returns can be worked out at a later date. Tinder has been slowly rolling out special pay features that will help it produce lots of revenue.
Who exactly owns the dating world’s favorite app might surprise you. Tinder is owned by IAC or InterActiveCorp that owns a wide range of brands that includes The Daily Beast, Vimeo, and the Match Group, the whale in the online dating industry. Other familiar brands house in the Match Group besides Tinder that you might recognize include Match, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Our Time, and BlackPeopleMeet.
Interestingly, the Match Group also operates the The Princeton Review, the test preparation company. That’s right, the same company that prepares you for the GRE, SAT, MCAT, and LSAT also caters to the swipe-happy singles of America. The Match Group had a successful Initial Public Offering in November 2015 that raised over $400 million dollars.
Because romance can be an emotional roller coaster and put you at risk for a wide range of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Tinder has been the subject of controversy across the globe. Many denounce the hookup culture that the app has created, while Rhode Island’s Department of Health has directly blamed the app for a surge in STDs.
Others claim Tinder is a game-like app used only for confidence boosting purposes, without the intention of actually meeting people in real life. Many have decried its negative effects on dating, while others say it’s helping connect people who would otherwise never met each other.
Other similar apps are jumping into the game, in an attempt to carve a niche for themselves on the new swiping industry frontier. Tinder has inspired many similar alternatives in the _market such as Hinge, The League, and Raya. Raya has been called the secret dating app for the rich and famous, and admission is based partially on your Instagram presence.
Photo by @marchenajr
However you feel about Tinder and other swipe-right industry apps, get used to it, as they’re likely going to be a fixture of the dating scene for quite some time. It’s become so mainstream to use these apps that even celebrities have been nabbed swiping away on Tinder, and they are now able to have verified accounts like they do on Twitter. If you see Leonardo DiCaprio or Britney Spears come up on your screen, try your luck and swipe right. Stranger things have happened in the world of cyber romance.
Photo by @CNNMoney
David is the Editor of Bold. He's especially passionate about millennial economic empowerment. A former local news reporter, David is originally from the Little Havana area in Miami, and later became a pioneer resident of the Disney-inspired town of Celebration, Florida. David holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.