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This Is Uncomfortable

Tinder gets serious about dating

Sally Herships Mar 3, 2015
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I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you. And I kinda wanna take things to the next level. You know, get serious.

That’s what Tinder is saying to users with its new service Tinder Plus. Until now, Tinder has been free, and the number of potential dates you could swipe through — right to say I like you, left to pass — have been unlimited. But now, endless romantic options will only be guaranteed if you upgrade to Tinder Plus, which costs up to $19.99 a month. Prices are different for users under and over 30.

The company says the formula for setting swipe limits is based on an algorithm and that most users will never encounter a cap.

Rita McGrath, a professor of strategy at Columbia business school, says by making its service free, Tinder was able to attract the users it needed to run a dating site, but now the company is looking to monetize.

There’s one problem: Some users see Tinder as a game. “Once the game starts to cost you, it starts to be more like a serious dating site and less like something you do for fun,” McGrath says.

Tinder is hoping to increase your fun by offering new features, like Passport, which lets paying users swipe through possible dates anywhere in the world.

But for some, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at the Kinsey Institute, dating apps like Tinder can already feel like they offer too many choices. “And that’s the big problem in all of the dating sites, it’s called cognitive overload,” she said. “When you think you’ve got dozens, if not hundreds of different alternatives and possibilities, you end up taking none.”

Full disclosure, I’m single and I use Tinder. And I know that when you swipe through seemingly endless options, it can be a little too easy to make people feel disposable. Unfortunately, Stephanie Amada, a researcher of hookup culture at Michigan State University, and fellow Tinder user, says it’s not likely that putting a cap on the number of swipes will make users any more thoughtful than they already are.

“I’m so sorry if that feels depressing for you,” she says.

But Amada notes there is the potential for dating app schadenfreude here, there are a lot of options for apps out there and if users don’t like the changes to Tinder, the app may learn what’s it like to be passed over.

In the meantime, if you’re looking at a Tinder profile, maybe mine, please think before you swipe.

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