Tinder is a geosocial networking and online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other profiles based on their photos, a small bio, and common interests. Once two users have “matched,” they can exchange messages.
Example of swiping within Tinder
|Initial release||September 12, 2012|
|Operating system||iOS, Android, Web|
|Available in||English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Italian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hebrew, Portuguese and Spanish|
|Headquarters||West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States|
Tinder launched in 2012 within startup incubator Hatch Labs as a joint venture between IAC and mobile app development firm Xtreme Labs. By 2014, Tinder was registering about one billion "swipes" per day. Tinder originally required access to a Facebook account to use the app, but it began allowing users to register with just a telephone number in August 2019. It is accessible through a mobile app or a web browser for computers.
Tinder was founded within startup incubator Hatch Labs by Arun Gopan, Sean Rad, Jonathan Badeen, Justin Mateen, Joe Munoz, Dinesh Moorjani and Whitney Wolfe Herd, the latter of whom left Tinder to create Bumble in 2014. Other sources restrict the list of founders to Mateen, Rad, and Badeen, though this has been disputed.
Sean Rad and Justin Mateen had known each other from the age of 14. Both come from Jewish-Iranian families in the Los Angeles area, and both attended the University of Southern California and became online entrepreneurs at the same time. Rad has said the impetus for Tinder's creation was his observation that "no matter who you are, you feel more comfortable approaching somebody if you know they want you to approach them." He believed a "double opt-in" system could be created to potentially alleviate the stress of meeting new people. Rad has also said Tinder filled a gap in the availability of social platforms for meeting strangers, rather than connecting with people a user already knows.
In March 2013, Tinder's social media director Alexa Mateen, who spearheaded Tinder's college campus expansion, said the app offered a "chance to meet people you wouldn't normally meet".
By May 2013, Tinder was one of the top 25 social networking apps online, based on frequency of use and number of users. Initially, instead of utilizing Tinder's current swiping motion for making matches, users had to click either a green heart or a red X to select or move on from a displayed photo. Tinder became the first new online dating service to claim a spot as one of the web's top five utilized services in about 10 years.
Sean Rad has served as Tinder's CEO on two occasions. He was the company's initial CEO until March 2015, when he was replaced by former eBay and Microsoft executive Chris Payne. Payne left the company, and Rad simultaneously returned as CEO, in August 2015. Rad stepped down as CEO again in December 2016, becoming Tinder's chairman and ceding the CEO position to former Tinder chairman Greg Blatt.
By October 2014, Tinder users completed over one billion swipes per day, producing about twelve million matches per day. By this time, Tinder's average user generally spent about 90 minutes a day on the app.
Tinder became the first "swipe app," a now-common term for various apps that utilize left or right swiping gestures to control what content the user sees when browsing, after switching from its original icon-based functionality following inspiration co-founder Jonathan Badeen had while wiping off a foggy mirror in his bathroom. The swipe functionality is now used by multiple other companies and software.
In 2015, Tinder introduced the ability to go back to rejected profiles via a "rewinding" function, allowing users to correct mistaken actions. This was previously not possible, as rejected profiles would simply not appear again.
Companion apps have been developed to provide different actions or mechanisms to accomplish Tinder's swipe function. Users can, for example, use companion apps to have their heart rate determine which direction to swipe, instead of swiping with their fingers.
In October 2015, Tinder released the Super Like feature worldwide. This allows non-paying users to Super Like one profile every 24 hours for free. Tinder Plus users can use up to five Super Likes a day. Instead of swiping right, a user must swipe up or tap a blue star icon to Super Like a displayed profile. Tinder notifies users if they have been Super Liked by adding a blue border to the profiles of anyone who Super Liked them. Tinder has stated that Super Likes make it three times more likely for users to match than standard right swipes.
As of November 11, 2015, Tinder's "Moments" feature had been retired.
In September 2016, Tinder invested in Vina, a social network for women to meet and nurture new friendships.
Tinder began testing its Boost functionality in September 2016 in Australia. The feature went live for all users worldwide in October 2016. Boost allows users to make their profile the most visible profile in their area for thirty minutes, showing such profiles first to other nearby users. Tinder claims its users can receive up to ten times as many profile views as usual while Boost is active. Tinder Plus users can use one free Boost a month. Non-subscribers and Tinder Plus subscribers who want more Boosts can purchase additional Boost actions. This feature is similar to a premium feature utilized on OkCupid, another Match Group property.
In October 2016, Tinder announced the opening of its first office in Silicon Valley, in the hope of more effectively recruiting technical employees.
In November 2016, Tinder introduced more options for gender selection. In the app's settings, users now have the option to type a word that best fits their gender identity. Users can choose whether this is displayed on their profile or not. This feature was released for the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.
In March 2017, Tinder launched Tinder Online, a web-optimized version of the dating app so people can access Tinder at their desktops. Initially, It was only available in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines and Sweden and didn't include special features such as Super Likes or Tinder Boost. Tinder Online launched globally in September 2017.
In June 2017, Tinder launched Tinder Gold, a members-only service, offering their most exclusive features: Passport, Rewind, Unlimited Likes, five Super Likes per day, one Boost per month, and more profile controls. This is an optional service offered to Tinder Plus users that costs an additional fee as a paid subscription.
On August 6, 2018, Tinder had over 3.7 million paid subscribers, up to 81 percent over the same quarter in 2017.
On August 21, 2018, Tinder launched Tinder University, a feature that allows college students to connect with other students on their campus and at nearby schools.
On December 2018, Tinder launched a new editorial website: Swipe Life.
On May 10, 2019, it was reported that Tinder was planning for a lighter version app called Tinder Lite aimed at growing markets where data usage, bandwidth and storage space are a concern.
On August 6, 2019, Tinder had 5.2 million paying subscribers at the end of 2019's second quarter, up 1.5 million from the year-ago quarter and up 503,000 from the first quarter of 2019. Tinder's subscriber growth led Match Group's shares to the best single-day gain in their history on August 7, adding more than $5 billion to the company's market capitalization.
In January 2020, the Tinder administration enabled a panic button and anti-catfishing tech to improve the safety of US users. In the future, these features should become globally available. If something goes wrong on a date, a user can hit a panic button, transmit accurate location data, and call emergency services. Also, before going to a meeting, users are required to take selfies to prove their photos in Tinder profiles match their real identities.
Tinder's primary companion site has been Facebook, as Tinder users were originally required to connect their Facebook profiles to their Tinder accounts for verification and profile details. Using Facebook, Tinder is able to build a user profile with photos that have already been uploaded. Basic information is gathered and the users' social graph is analyzed. Candidates who are most likely to be compatible based on geographical location, number of mutual friends, and common interests are streamed into a list of matches. Based on the results of potential candidates, the app allows the user to anonymously like another user by swiping right or pass by swiping left on them. If two users like each other it then results in a "match" and they are able to chat within the app. Chatting on Tinder is only available between two users that have swiped right on one another's photos. The selections a user makes are not known to other users, unless two individuals swipe right on each other's profiles. However, once the user has matches on the app, they are able to send personal photos, called "Tinder Moments", to all matches at once, allowing each match to like or not like the photos. The site also has verified profiles for public figures, so that celebrities and other public figures can verify they are who they are when using the app.
The app is currently used in about 196 countries.
- Swipe is central to Tinder's design. From the compatible matches the app's algorithm provides, users swipe right to "like" potential matches and swipe left to continue on their search.
- Messaging is also a heavily utilized feature. Once a user matches with another user, they're able to exchange text messages on the app.
- Instagram integration enables users to access other users' Instagram profiles.
- Common Connections allows users to see whether they share a mutual Facebook friend with a match (a first-degree connection on Tinder) or when a user and their match have two separate friends who happen to be friends with each other (considered second-degree on Tinder).
- Tinder Gold, introduced worldwide in August 2017, is a premium subscription feature that allows the user to see those who have already liked them before swiping.
- Panic button is introduced in the US from January 2020. The feature will include emergency assistance, location tracking, and photo verification.
In March 2015, Tinder released its paid service, Tinder Plus, a feature allowing unlimited matches, whereas the free Tinder app limits the number of right swipes in a 12-hour period. It has met with controversy over limiting the number of "likes" a free user can give in a certain amount of time, as well as charging prices for different age groups. The price of a Tinder Plus subscription was £14.99/US$19.99 per month for users over 28, while the service for a user 28 and under was £3.99/US$9.99 per month.
Tinder is used widely throughout the world and is available in over 40 languages. As of late 2014, an estimated 50 million people used the app every month with an average of 12 million matches per day. However, to get to those 12 million matches, users collectively made around 1 billion swipes per day. The minimum age to sign up and use Tinder was 18. As of June 2016, Tinder is no longer usable by anyone under 18. If minors were found being under 18, they were banned from using Tinder until they are 18. As of April 2015, Tinder users swiped through 1.6 billion Tinder profiles and made more than 26 million matches per day. More than 8 billion matches had been made since Tinder launched in 2012.
In March 2014, media and internet conglomerate IAC increased its majority stake in Tinder, a move that caused speculation that the valuation of Tinder was at several billion dollars. In July 2015, Bank of America Merrill Lynch valued Tinder at $1.35 billion based upon an estimate of $27 per user on an estimated user base of 50 million with an additional bullish estimate of $3 billion by taking the average of the IPOs of similar companies. Analysts also estimated that Tinder had about half a million paid users within its userbase that consisted mostly of free users. The monetization of the site has come through leaving the basic app free, and then adding different in-app purchase options for additional functions. In January 2015 Tinder acquired Chill, the developers of Tappy, a mobile messenger that uses "images and ephemerality".
An ad campaign launched by "The Barn" internship program of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) used Tinder profiles to promote their NYC Puppy Rescue Project. Using Facebook pet profiles, BBH was able to add them to the Tinder network. The campaign received media coverage from Slate, Inc., The Huffington Post, and others. In April 2015, Tinder revealed their first sponsored ad promoting Budweiser's next #Whatever, USA campaign.
As of June 2015, 62% of Tinder users were male and 38% were female. According to University of Texas at Austin psychologist David Buss, "Apps like Tinder and OkCupid give people the impression that there are thousands or millions of potential mates out there. One dimension of this is the impact it has on men's psychology. When there is ... a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating," and there is a feeling of disconnect when choosing future partners. In addition, the cognitive process identified by psychologist Barry Schwartz as the "paradox of choice" (also referred to as "choice overload" or "fear of a better option") was cited in an article published in The Atlantic that suggested that the appearance of an abundance of potential partners causes online daters to be less likely to choose a partner and be less satisfied with their choices of partners.
Tinder CEO Sean Rad has said that Tinder removes the "friction" associated with walking up to someone and introducing oneself. However, data released by Tinder itself has shown that of the 1.6 billion swipes it records per day, only 26 million result in matches (a match rate of approximately only 1.63%), despite users logging into the app on average 11 times per day, with male user sessions averaging 7.2 minutes and female user sessions averaging 8.5 minutes (or 79.2 minutes and 93.5 minutes per day respectively). Also, a Tinder user interviewed anonymously in an article published in the December 2018 issue of The Atlantic estimated that only one in 10 of their matches actually resulted in an exchange of messages with the other user they were matched with, with another anonymous Tinder user saying, "Getting right-swiped is a good ego boost even if I have no intention of meeting someone," leading The Atlantic article author to conclude "Unless you are exceptionally good-looking, the thing online dating may be best at is sucking up large amounts of time."
In August 2015, journalist Nancy Jo Sales wrote in Vanity Fair that Tinder operates within a culture of users seeking sex without relationships. In 2017, the Department of Communications Studies at Texas Tech University conducted a study to see how infidelity was connected to the Tinder app. The experiment was conducted on 550 students from an unnamed university in the Southwestern United States. The students first provided their demographic information and then answered questions regarding Tinder's link to infidelity. The results showed that more than half reported having seen somebody on Tinder who they knew was in an exclusive relationship (63.9%). 71.3% of participants reported that they knew male friends who used Tinder while in a relationship, and 56.1% reported that they had female friends who used Tinder while in a relationship. In 1989, social psychologist Douglas T. Kenrick demonstrated experimentally that by following exposure to photographs or stories about desirable potential mates, people decrease their ratings of commitment to their current partners. David Buss has estimated that approximately 30 percent of the men on Tinder are married.
Before 2012, most online dating services matched people according to their autobiographical information, such as interests, hobbies, future plans, among other things. But the advent of Tinder that year meant that first impressions could play a crucial role. For social scientists studying human courtship behavior, Tinder offers a much simpler environment than its predecessors. In 2016, Gareth Tyson of the Queen Mary University of London and his colleagues published a paper analyzing the behavior of Tinder users in New York City and London. In order to minimize the number of variables, they created profiles of white heterosexual people only. For each sex, there were three accounts using stock photographs, two with actual photographs of volunteers, one with no photos whatsoever, and one that was apparently deactivated. The researchers pointedly only used pictures of people of average physical attractiveness. Tyson and his team wrote an algorithm that collected the biographical information of all the matches, liked them all, then counted the number of returning likes.
They found that men and women employed drastically different mating strategies. Men liked a large proportion of the profiles they viewed, but received returning likes only 0.6% of the time; women were much more selective but received matches 10% of the time. Men received matches at a much slower rate than women. Once they received a match, women were far more likely than men to send a message, 21% compared to 7%, but they took more time before doing so. Tyson and his team found that for the first two-thirds of messages from each sex, women sent them within 18 minutes of receiving a match compared to five minutes for men. Men's first messages had an average of a dozen characters, and were typical simple greetings; by contrast, initial messages by women averaged 122 characters.
Tyson and his collaborators found that the male profiles that had three profile pictures received 238 matches while the male profiles with only one profile picture received only 44 matches (or approximately a 5 to 1 ratio). Additionally, male profiles that had a biography received 69 matches while those without it received only 16 matches (or approximately a 4 to 1 ratio). By sending out questionnaires to frequent Tinder users, the researchers discovered that the reason why men tended to like a large proportion of the women they saw was to increase their chances of getting a match. This led to a feedback loop in which men liked more and more of the profiles they saw while women could afford to be even more selective in liking profiles because of a greater probability of a match. The mathematical limit of the feedback loop occurs when men like all profiles they see while women find a match whenever they like a profile. It was not known whether some evolutionarily stable strategy has emerged, nor has Tinder revealed such information.
Tyson and his team found that even though the men-to-women ratio of their data set was approximately one, the male profiles received 8,248 matches in total while the female profiles received only 532 matches in total because the vast majority of the matches for both the male and female profiles came from male profiles (with 86 percent of the matches for the male profiles alone coming from other male profiles), leading the researchers to conclude that homosexual men were "far more active in liking than heterosexual women." On the other hand, the deactivated male account received all of its matches from women. The researchers were not sure why this happened.
There are also cybersecurity, data privacy, and public health concerns about Tinder. Public health officials in Rhode Island and Utah have claimed that Tinder and similar apps are responsible for an uptick of some STDs. In February 2014, security researchers in New York found a flaw which made it possible to find users' precise locations for between 40 and 165 days. Tinder's spokesperson, Rosette Pambakian, said the issue was resolved within 48 hours. Tinder CEO Sean Rad said in a statement that shortly after being contacted, Tinder implemented specific measures to enhance location security and further obscure location data.
In August 2016, two engineers found another flaw that showed the exact location of all users' matches. The location was updated every time a user logged into the app and it worked even for blocked matches. The issue was detected in March 2016, but it was not fixed until August 2016. In July 2017, a study published in Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing found that Tinder users are excessively willing to disclose their personally identifiable information. In September 2017, The Guardian published an article by a journalist who requested all data that the Tinder app had recorded about her from the company and found that Tinder stores all user messages, user locations and times, the characteristics of other users who interest a particular user, the characteristics of particular users of interest to other users, and the length of time users spend looking at particular pictures, which for the journalist amounted to 800 pages of detail.
There have been anti-Tinder online marketing campaigns and websites developed. On June 30, 2014, Tinder's co-founder and former vice president of marketing, Whitney Wolfe, filed a sexual harassment and sex discrimination suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against IAC-owned Match Group, the parent company of Tinder. The lawsuit alleged that her fellow executives and co-founders Rad and Mateen had engaged in discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation against her, while Tinder's corporate supervisor, IAC's Sam Yagan, did nothing. IAC suspended CMO Mateen from his position pending an ongoing investigation, and stated that it "acknowledges that Mateen sent private messages containing 'inappropriate content,' but it believes Mateen, Rad and the company are innocent of the allegations". In December 2018, The Verge reported that Tinder had dismissed Rosette Pambakian, the company's vice president of marketing and communication who had accused Tinder's former CEO Greg Blatt of sexual assault, along with several other employees who were part of the group of Tinder employees who had previously sued the Match Group for $2 billion.
The New York Times wrote that the wide use of Tinder could be attributed not to what Tinder was doing right but to flaws in the models of earlier dating software, which relied on mathematical algorithms to select potential partners. Relationship experts interviewed by the newspaper stated that users used the photographs that come in succession on the app to derive cues as to social status, confidence levels, and personal interests. Marie Claire wrote that the app was "easy to use on the run" and "addictive" but that "...it's hard to focus. The game-style of Tinder means it's really easy to keep playing and forget about that hottie you were messaging yesterday."
The Tinder effectEdit
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London and vice-president of research and innovation at Hogan Assessment Systems, wrote in The Guardian about the Tinder effect, which is the way relationships are modified by dating apps and why Tinder is so successful. In this article he depicts five psychological lessons from the Tinder effect which are the following.
- Hook-up apps are more arousing than actual hook-ups: Tinder gamifies and sexualizes the dating process. It is not just a way to get a date with someone, but it is an end in itself.
- Digital eligibility exceeds physical eligibility: Most of the data imported to Tinder by the users for their profile comes from their Facebook profile, which are sophisticated and calculated, making them a lot more attractive.
- Evolutionary and social needs: Tinder is driven by today's social needs, granting people a way to get in touch, to compete with each other, and to know what others think of them. Not much information has been revealed officially about the algorithm matching people, yet it was disclosed that it uses a rating system similar to the Elo rating system. This system, widely used in sports shows the competitive dimension of Tinder, even though grades are only used by the algorithm and not disclosed to the users.
- Tinder does emulate the real dating world: Tinder is about making quick choices based on the appearance, which is what people actually tend to do when meeting a potential date for the first time.
- Romanticism is dead, except in retail: Tinder adapts to the lack of time of its users and their realism about soulmates[clarification needed] by matching them efficiently and rationally, ensuring them a new relationship quickly but with no guarantee that it will be a long-term success.
Natasha Aponte incidentEdit
In August 2018, New York-based model Natasha Aponte made headlines after she was reported to have amassed dozens of men she matched with on Tinder in Union Square, Manhattan, where she had set up a "Live Tinder" dating competition in which they will have to vie for a date with her. According to some of the men, they received a sudden message from Aponte – after she had stopped corresponding with them for quite some time – reminding them that they meet her at said location where she said "her friend was DJing around 6", and where she wanted to go for a drink for their first date afterwards. Upon arrival, the men were then perplexed (and furious) to find out that they had been conned into competing for Aponte, who explained that "she was over dating apps and wanted instead for her suitors to participate in a competition." The stunt – which was labelled by New York magazine as the "Summer of Scam" and Gizmodo as "a cross between The Bachelorette and Catfish with a little bit of Punk'd thrown in for comedic appeal" – turned out to be pulled by an agency that was responsible for shooting a 2014 viral YouTube video in which a woman – attached with hidden cameras – walks through New York for 10 minutes as a social experiment on how pervasive catcalling is at said location.
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