Tinder making a risky decision with update

Placing restrictions on the free app and moving toward a paid version may alienate the market.

Martha Pietruszewski

This is not a column about online dating — that’s a story for another time.

Rather, this is an opinion on paying for what’s currently a free service.

Tinder is the subject of many conversations around campus. Swiping left and right has become somewhat of an addiction. The app is fun — and most importantly, it’s free.

However, Tinder recently announced that it will offer a paid  version of the app so users can get more features, such as an expanded dating radius and unlimited swipes. The company has been piloting a paid subscription in parts of Europe, reports Business Insider. After the new version’s release, the updated free version will reduce the number of swipes it allots users.

I think this is the wrong move for the popular app. Regardless of what you use Tinder for, you shouldn’t have to pay to have a little fun. Who cares how many times you swipe in a day?

Logically, it makes sense for Tinder to charge users. After all, it needs to earn a profit. But here’s a little-known fact about Tinder: It’s not actually a startup. It’s part of a larger company — IAC — that operates websites like OkCupid and Match.com.

If it’s not a startup, then what is it? Startups are companies that have a new and generally novel solution to an old problem. 

Tinder is a weird hybrid between this and a larger, more established company. It needs to build rapport among users and get feedback before it can move on to the paid model.

Tinder needs to redefine what exactly it is while continuing to grow and attract new users if it wants to maintain its
success.

That being said, the payment model for premium features has worked well for other dating websites because they’re each a little more complex than just an app.

Tinder is easy. That’s the point. You pick up your phone, you swipe and you forget. Paying for new, unwanted features complicates the app.

Paying for these new features to continue meeting people also feels slightly off, especially if you are using the app to hook up.

It’s not quite paying for sex, but I would still feel uneasy about the fact that some people would pay for the unlimited swipes to increase their chances of “getting lucky.”

These changes in the app also make Tinder vulnerable to competition.

College students and other users who don’t have spare change could easily find another app or service that serves their purpose. It does not make sense to change the current model when the free aspect of the app is one of its most popular features.

While I understand that making money off of a product is something that companies desire, sometimes the strategies they use to earn a profit can be detrimental to their market. Especially if the changes to a beloved product come off as misguided or profit-seeking.