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To Tinder, or not to Tinder.
Awesome, Free Thoughts

To Tinder, or not to Tinder.

Benjamin Lehrer, March 5, 2015

I’m not much of a social ranter, but I’m livid today.

One of my favorite apps of all time, Tinder, has changed course and has made the plunge into the paid apps space. For $4.99 a month you can have all these “Amazing New” options:

1. Change your Location – Swipe and match with people anywhere in the world
2. Rewind your last swipe – Go back and swipe again
3. Unlimited likes – Have fun swiping
4. Turn Off Ads – Uninterrupted play

IMG_1915Ok, let’s break this down.

1. Change your Location – Swipe and match with people anywhere in the world

First of all, letting us change our location for the purpose of ‘Tinder’ing’ in other cities/countries is an amazing idea! I LOVE IT. The opportunity to meet new people before I get to my destination sounds terrific! Seriously, I’m not be sarcastic, this is fantastic. This is actually the ONLY feature I could ever see myself maybe being excited about paying for on Tinder. But, it’s 2015 and the majority of location based services that we are familiar with are FREE. You’ve got to take a look at the current market and sell a product to today’s 2015 human. Maybe this would have been more applicable in 2012 when you launched, but today…think again.

2. Rewind your last swipe – Go back and swipe again

Alright guys, who thought of this brain buster? Rewind your last swipe? Really? This is a new main feature for your new big update? Come on…You have got to be kidding me. First, JSwipe (jswipeapp.com) already did it so, you’re late to the party on that one. Whaddup to my tribal brethren! Second, this “rewind feature” would be like if Apple said something along the lines of “Ok, are you ready? Can you feel it? We’re launching our new OS Mavericks for the price of…FREE! WOOOOOOOO! But wait…there’s more…now you get to pay a monthly fee to use…ready for it…the printer! We at Apple wanted to squeeze a few extra bucks out of you so if you feel like printing, go nuts! But know, it’s gonna cost ya.”

So Tinder, you’re making us pay for a feature that you deem as something of value, when in reality the thought process and energy I put into accidentally swiping left lasts less than a breath I take. Trust me, it’s not that big of a deal for anyone. And the chance of me actually matching with that person is so far-fetched that I’d probably be better off matching with one of those smokin’ hot bots on the app. Oh boy are they a joy to chat with. They’re super friendly and always give me their robot number. I’m literally the Tinder Prince of bots. Soon I’ll be a Tinder robot pimp. You’ll see!

So back to the topic at hand, whoever puts forth the energy to where their day is consumed by their mistake from swiping left on a “should have swiped right” profile, needs to reevaluate having this app, let alone their entire life. This “feature” is exactly that. A feature. Not a game changer. Not a mic drop. It’s a simple feature that is far from even deserving being considered something of monetary value.

3. Unlimited likes – Have fun swiping

“Cough” What?! Um, yeah that’s exactly the backbone of Tinder, unlimited likes. So let me get this straight…you’re now making us pay for unlimited likes? Tinder, who the fuck is running your ship over there? Besides the fact that this is the most absolute, ridiculous and irritating “New Feature” of this entire update, you’re not thinking holistically about the big picture. “Swiping” is one of the most enjoyable parts of the app. It’s so enjoyable that after I did a little research on downloading 3rd party apps that auto-swiped for me, I came to the conclusion that they defeated the purpose of Tinder, and I had to delete them.

You did it Tinder! You’ve created an app that I subconsciously created this personal/emotional connection with. Even after purchasing 3rd party apps to make it even easier for me to swipe, I deleted them, for you Tinder, to have a more organic and authentic experience. Think about that for a second. I paid for other apps, which I thought would enhance my Tinder experience, but in reality diminished the experience by so much that I deleted them. Money down the drain. Your app is so powerful, it makes you think you need other apps to make it better, when it’s the total opposite. I went full circle with it and I still think the app is fantastic, at least until I’m finished writing this.

You’ve got to stop and think about your user base. This is about depth vs. width. The fact that your width is reaching people on a level that no other dating app has is the reason why the depth of your app should be looked after more cautiously. Taking unlimited swiping away is greedy and narrow-minded. Also, if you’re wondering, I have 11 hours left before I get to start swiping again. Yep, you heard me correctly. 11 Hours…

IMG_19164. Turn Off Ads – Uninterrupted play

Alright, now we’re on the right path. This is actually something I might be willing to pay an OTO fee for. I might even be willing to pay $20 a year to remove ads, but not $4.99+ a month. You’re absolutely right, you’ve got the user base and you need to start monetizing with ads. Having a paid option to eliminate ads altogether is totally applicable and reasonable in 2015. But you went too far. You’re not only making money off your users starting from $4.99-$19.99/month, but you’re also making money off your soon-to-come advertisers. You gotta dip your foot in the pool before you dive in, especially with users. I’m ‘OK’ with the advertising. Dive into the advertising pool. Just dip your toe in the paid user pool.

What I would have done…

Make all 4 of these features FREE…for now. Why?

You’ve been a freemium service since September 2012. You have an estimated 50+ million users. Literally billions of swipes a day. For someone who loves analytics like I do, Tinder, you’re a wet dream! Listen, I understand it’s time you make a profit. You’ve done the work and now it’s time to make some shekels. I get that but the way you dropped the bomb? Fuck! Slow down baby, ease into it. What you’re doing now is a short sided cash grab.

Sell to the advertisers and reevaluate in 6 months. Then, if you still feel cash is an issue, let’s revisit a user based paid app. Until then, mimic what the other big boys have done. IE: Advertising based revenue models. IE: Facebook. Facebook announced that they were cash flow positive in Q2 of 2009, which was 5+ years after launch (http://on.fb.me/1zFzwSI). Tinder has been around for ~2.5 years and again, has amassed an estimated 50+ million users. You do the math. Trust me, you’re gonna be fine.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 5.17.36 PMNow, do I think Tinder could grow to have a larger user base than Facebook? No. Do I think Tinder could be a tool that is as powerful as Facebook? Yes. The networking possibilities are endless, but now we’re talking rebrand and refocus and that’s a whole other discussion.

Like I said, I might be willing to pay to kill the ads on the app or to expand my geographic range. I really would! It’s a great strategy especially for an initial revenue generator, but if you really want people to be happy about what they are paying for you have got to bring more to the table. You’re most likely going to make some good money off this new launch, congrats. But as I said before, start thinking more about depth vs. width. What does Tinder really mean to its users? We know you have reach, your width is apparent, but what about your depth? Although a lot of people see this app as a shallow place to hook up, which it can be, I won’t lie, there is so much more potential for it to evolve into something incredible that could eventually be an app worth paying a lot more for.

@benjaminlehrer