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Tinder to introduce paid premium service – but will users swipe right?

Every day singles app Tinder registers more than 1.2 billion profile swipes and makes more than 15 million matches – but zero dollars. Next month the company wants to change that, by introducing the app’s first ever paid-for service.

Tinder co-founder and chief executive Sean Rad made the announcement at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit in Philadelphia yesterday, saying the company will launch a ‘premium’ service in November, offering paying users more match-making features alongside the regular free model.

“We are adding features users have been begging us for,” Rad told Forbes.

“They will offer so much value we think users are willing to pay for them.”

Although Rad wouldn’t go into the specifics of the new service, he hinted to Forbes that one of the new features would “focus on travel” and “could help Tinder move into markets beyond dating”.

Forbes speculated such a feature could allow paying users to break away from Tinder’s current location-based setup to search outside their own city to find singles in other countries.

Call me crazy, but I’m not sure how useful a service that is. I certainly wouldn’t pay extra to find singles that lived hundreds or thousands of kilometres from me.

To me, it’s Rad’s comment about “moving into markets beyond dating” that is the key here. That sounds as though Tinder could be primed to take its platform into other areas of commerce, such as travel and tourism. Instead of matching singles with singles, perhaps Tinder Premium will match travellers with accommodation, restaurants and bars.

Perhaps the new Tinder, under a new name, will shift away from purely being a singles hook-up app and aim to be a one-stop-shop, also catering to those looking to be matched up with friends, social groups or even jobs.

Tinder has proven the simplicity of the swipe right for yes, swipe left for no system has mass appeal – it’s my guess the potential dollars lie with that mechanic, rather than the content itself.

Watch this space.

About the author

A former web designer turned journalist, Petra has 10 years’ experience in digital media having worked as the online editor of South Australia’s Sunday Mail and as the national social media and technology reporter for News Corp Australia. As iPad editor for The Advertiser, she also oversaw the launch of the masthead’s first iPad app in 2010. Her work has been published in Elle Australia, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Courier Mail, The Advertiser, Sunday Mail and The Vine.

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