Tinder, the fun, flirty, and free dating app, is introducing a paid service next month.
Tinder co-founder and chief executive Sean Rad said that the company will launch a premium service in early November that gives users more capabilities, he said on stage at the Forbes Under 30 event in Philadelphia today.
Tinder, which launched two years ago by first hooking in college kids, came out of IAC’s Hatched Labs incubator. Users sign up for the app using their Facebook accounts, and they can quickly accept or reject the nearby singles the app serves up by swiping left and right on their images.
So far, Tinder hasn’t been bringing in revenue as the app is free, the flagship service is free, and there are no ads or sponsorships. When the premium service launches next month, this will apparently change.
Though Rad wouldn’t share specifics on the new service, he apparently hinted that one of the new features will focus on travel. Since Tinder currently serves up suggested singles in the user’s city, this feature will likely let them pay to leap outside of their own geographical confines.
“We are adding features users have been begging us for,” Rad said. “They will offer so much value we think users are willing to pay for them.”
The original Tinder app will stay the same, Rad said, which currently yields 1.2 billion profile swipes and more than 15 million matches per day. (Are we that thirsty or just picky — or both?)
Whatever happens, it’ll be an interesting development to watch. In the online dating world, services of all shapes and sizes have been emerging, some free and others with paid models. Tinder and OkCupid, skewing on the younger demographic, are free. eHarmony is subscription-based, Zoosk and Match.com are on freemium model (basic features are free, communications features are paid), and there are all sorts of variations in between.
Apps like Tinder, along with Hinge, Twine, and others, work well for that 18-to-24-year-old demographic because they’re used a lot (just look at the volume of swipes and matches above) yet don’t harm their bank accounts, plus enable the instant gratification they want from hook-ups, hence the location-based approach.
So whether they can be convinced to pay for certain features remains to be seen. Pricing will also play a big factor — how will the new service be structured will play a big role in whether folks will find it a good deal to pay.