Tinder’s Problems Translate From Dating To Trading
An analyst from Morgan Stanely released an analysis this week of Tinder’s parent company, IAC/InteractiveCorp, and was able, through business-speak, to put into words exactly the issues everyone has with Tinder but hasn’t quite been able to identify. Tinder is a liability for IAC/InteractiveCorp for the following reasons, according to this analyst:
- Tinder users don’t want to pay for Tinder.
- There’s a really small demographic for Tinder – single people between 18 and 34 – and they don’t have much of an opportunity to reach other demographics, as things stand.
- Within Tinder’s demographic, the analyst points out, “there are limits to the percentage of single people who will become active Tinder users and repeating ‘casual daters.’ And in our view, Tinder is reaching those limits in the U.S. and Europe (30%-40%).”
Meaning, basically, that Tinder has an awful lot of user turnover. Most people who use the app will have fun with it for a while, and then it’ll get frustrating and they’ll stop.
The problem, at heart, is that for most people, “casual dating” is not a long-term approach. So even though Tinder is the best app for that purpose, that purpose is short-lived, and most users – say, 60-70% – will move on to a different platform once they get over their hump of casual dating and start looking for longer-term relationships.
I know that many of us now know a couple who met on Tinder (I did, but they broke up), but that is the vast exception to the rule. It’s really not useful for long-term dating, and apps and web sites for long-term dating have a user base that’s much more invested than Tinder’s. Part of the problem is that other sites – Match, eHarmony, even OKCupid – can guarantee a measure of quality in their users’ dating experiences, because those services are based on finding personality matches.
On the other hand, Tinder, by design, can’t guarantee a quality date. There is no matching other than “You seem hot/all right and I am not offended by this conversation.” I think the lack of matching, although it makes it really easy to just hook up (which is great!), accounts for the turnover. There are whole portions of the internet dedicated to the unique sort of really, really bad date that can result from the sexual Russian roulette you’re playing as a Tinder user. Whenever my friends use Tinder, they seem to be doing three things: Complaining about their bad dates, treating it more as a game than as a dating service (they just! keep! swiping!), and defending it by saying that they have had some good dates. The ratio is about 40-50-10. How long can you sustain that level of boredom and frustration before, as a user, you move on?
I kind of have a thing against Tinder, because to me it really does sound like a dating hellscape (in my brain, Tinder is fields of fire, with fedora-donning finance bros flying through the charred sky on terrible winged beasts, laughing maniacally and yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU WEARINNNNNNG????”). But it has normalized casual dating, which I think is a good thing, and it provides a service that people value. It’d be unfortunate if we didn’t have it. It just obviously has to change if it’s going to survive.
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