Category Archives: Online Dating

Tinder Charges Older Users Extra For Premium Access

 

Question: What’s more difficult than kissing your carefree twenties goodbye?

Answer: The realization that with your 30th birthday, Tinder will charge you twice as much to access its Tinder Plus premium service.

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Your Tinder Plus dates will be more expensive if you’re 30 and up. Photo credit: Chris Goldberg

What will Tinder Plus offer?

For starters, the much coveted ability to “reverse swipe,” which allows users to reconsider potential dates they have rejected. This will be a clutch added feature for those particularly desperate nights when users find new matches unavailable or unwilling. Additionally, Tinder Plus features Passport, the ability to browse users in different locations.

Unfortunately, if you’re 30 and older and want to enjoy these amazing benefits, you’ll need to pony up $20 per month, compared to just $10 per month for those 29 and under.

A spokesperson for Tinder defended the pricing structure by pointing to the harsh economic realities facing younger users, who have less pocket money to spend despite the fact that they all share each other’s Netflix and HBO Go passwords.

While the bold pricing move may surprise some, those familiar with our coverage of Tinder before shouldn’t be too shocked. Tinder’s success and fame is largely down to its popularity with younger users and its success at inserting itself into youth pop culture has been impressive.

In fact, as we have previously noted, the fastest growing age segment on Tinder is aged 13-17, registering 7% of total users according to Tinder’s CEO earlier this year. Far from viewing this as a problem for a site known for encouraging promiscuous hookups, Tinder’s business strategy likely involves growing their younger user base.

As Snapchat’s recent valuation has demonstrated, capturing younger users’ attentions and holding them long enough for advertisers to inject their products into their consciousness is a golden ticket for many of the new school of social networking and dating apps.

Ironically, for those apps like Tinder that have built their infrastructure around Facebook, the latter’s aging demographics may be a hindrance to staying top of mind with college-aged kids and twenty-somethings.

Hence we have the first of what may be many moves like it to continue to prioritize and incentivize younger users at the expense of us old fogies.

Perhaps, though, this is a blessing in disguise for older, more serious online daters as the platform’s suitability for delivering high quality matches is questionable at best. When polled, 64% of Tinder users viewed the app as “a game to play with” rather than a serious dating site.

Combined with its growing number of younger teenage users, perhaps the mature crowd is better spending its money elsewhere.

“Coffee Meets Bagel” Meets Big Money

You might remember the three impressive sisters from a recent episode of Shark Tank who turned down what seemed like an amazing $30 million offer from Mark Cuban for their dating platform Coffee Meets Bagel. I must admit, I thought they were over-confident (OK, crazy!) to turn down such a deal, but today comes news that their independent vision has been at least partly validated by raising $7.8 million in a fresh round of funding.

Everyone likes coffee and bagels, right? Photo credit: John Watson
Everyone likes coffee and bagels, right? Photo credit: John Watson

At the time the sisters rejected Cuban’s offer, one retorted that they see their business growing “as big as Match.com.” In fact, the sisters have already raised nearly $3 million from Match.com’s founder who clearly sees the promise in the approach.

Whether that’s possible is still an open question, considering that Coffee Meets Bagel’s online dating system is more than just a twist on current online dating models; it looks to totally modify online daters’ behaviors by limiting matches to just one per day.

How does Coffee Meet Bagel work in detail?

The site is betting big on its ability to make quality matches based on use of your own social network. Like we wrote of SparkStarter before it, Coffee Meets Bagel uses your social network as a means of validating matches, giving users tired of Tinder and OKCupid’s less filtered approach of allowing any user to contact any other user.

Here’s the kicker: Coffee Meets Bagel sends one match per 24 hour period and only allows contact between the two users if both signal mutual interest. Obviously, it’s a much more considered, and some would say, limiting, approach to online dating. The concept is designed to mimic a “flash sale” which has become popular with indie e-commerce shops.

While Coffee Meets Bagel’s early success looks promising for its future, it’s hard to see it becoming truly mainstream service except for those that burn out of the most popular dating sites. Tinder’s wild popularity is driven as much by its game-like properties than its ability to find a truly compatible match.

And as we’ve argued before, the perceived validation of a potential match coming from your social network is only that: a perception.

Until then we can only speculate if the sisters would have been better off with Mark’s millions.

You can read more about Coffee Meets Bagel and watch their original Shark Tank segment over at Entrepreneur.

SparkStarter Allows Your Married Friends to Set You Up

 

It seems like every day there is a new online dating app coming to market. Part of this has to do with the fact that so many people are now dating online these days. As the numbers grow, so does the demand for different methods to match up with unknown singles in your area.

SparkStarter relies on your friends to help you find love. Photo credit: Phil Kates
SparkStarter relies on your friends to help you find love. Photo credit: Phil Kates

The latest app to enter the online dating arena is SparkStarter, which utilizes Facebook profiles to help create matches.

Sound like Tinder? Well, not exactly.

While the mechanism of the dating app is similar, with users marking yes or no when a potential match’s Facebook profile photo comes up, what sets it apart is its reliance on a community of non-single people.

Why would a dating app want attached people using it?

No, before you ask, SparkStarter isn’t catering to the swingers market. The app is simply betting that a platform that encourages personal recommendations from people you actually know will be more effective than the current methods of taking a guess based on someone’s photo, location and a few shared interests.

While some sites like OKCupid have taken profile data to the next level, relying on algorithmic matching, most OKC users are likely to have had at least one bad date with a compatibility match of 90% or more. That is, of course, when OKCupid is not experimenting on their users by intentionally matching them with incompatible dates.

So it seems clear that a gap in the matchmaking process of online dating does exist, but how likely is SparkStarter to be successful in filling it?

The app will need to convince enough married and coupled people that it’s worth their time to play matchmaker with their single friends. And this could backfire in the awkward event that a recommended date turns bad. One negative experience is likely to turn a new matchmaker off permanently from such activities.

More importantly, SparkStarter users will need to weigh the trustworthiness endorsements of “friends” on their social networks closely.

While SparkStarter’s approach, like The Grade before it, seeks to elevate the often shallow and ill-considered methods of choosing a date online, in almost all cases your friends won’t have 100% of the information about a person they are recommending for a date.

Follow your common sense and the well-tested best practices for dating unknown people, whether online or off, to ensure your safety.

Read more about SparkStarter on VentureBeat and let us know if you think this idea will work in the comments.

Russia’s Version of Tinder Hacked—Next Target: USA?

 

 

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Thieves have a reason for wanting your email address. Photo credit: Kevin Fitz

Bloomberg reports today that 20 million users of a Russian online dating site Topface had their user names and email addresses hacked and offered for sale via an online black market.

The owners of the dating site, which uses a similar format to Tinder here in the States, were quick to note that no password or payment information was compromised, as the the majority of users log in with their Facebook details.

So what’s the big deal with having your username and email taken by thieves?

According to an online security expert quoted in the story having these details compromised still presents reasons to worry:

Ingevaldson said such personal information usually sells quickly, to fraudsters who use automated software programs to find sites where people used the same information they did to access the dating site… Hackers are targeting popular websites to steal user names and passwords that they later use to try break into electronic-payment and mobile-phone accounts.

Here are our thoughts:

First, in an increasingly connected world, where online dating apps utilize your Facebook details and Facebook increasingly seeks to access your wallet, data security becomes even more important. Managing your passwords, and getting educated about the security the vendors you choose to do business with are essential.

Second, actively managing your online presence via social networks, online dating sites and gaming sites is no longer optional. When you grow tired of apps or social networks ensure you have removed yourself and your data from their servers as much as you can.

Leaving your username and email available across dozens of different sites with varying levels of security is just what cyber criminals want.

If you’re interested in how BeenVerified can help you manage your online presence, check out our previous blog post on the topic here.

Blizzard Boyfriends

 

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A blizzard is approaching NYC. Photo credit: Roey Ahram

Here in NYC we are battening down the hatches as an historic blizzard approaches. If you’d like to nerd out to the snowfall potential and how many inches we need for it to break records, we recommend the data blog FiveThirtyEight. (The number some of us are rooting to surpass, and others dreading, is 26.9 inches).

While headlines about the total snowfall, travel delays and emptying supermarkets have been common, one unusual storm-related headline in particular caught our attention from Business Insider:

New Yorkers Are Flocking To Craigslist To Find ‘Blizzard Boyfriends’ And Girlfriends.

It seems like some New Yorkers, faced with the prospect of days snowed in by themselves, have made a move to quickly find a romantic partner to shack up with and endure the snowstorm. The article highlights a number of ads on Craigslist and we imagine similar behavior is lighting up dating services across New York now.

We’ve written before about time-pressure, bad judgment and online dating in relation to Tinder, but finding a date to spend the night (nights?) alone with you on such short notice, surely pushes the limits of even a typical Tinder hook-up.

Our opinion on this topic is well known, but what about you? Are “blizzard boyfriends” and girlfriends a natural antidote to the loneliness of an incoming city blizzard, or a reckless rolling of the dice? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

And don’t worry if you need us this week. BeenVerified’s award-winning customer service team is based in sunny Florida (current temperature: 77 degrees!) and available to continue serving you without interruption.

Match.com Removes Profile of “Cannibal Cop”

 

In a reminder of all the types of people who you could possibly (and likely don’t want to) meet on an online dating site, The Huffington Post reports that Match.com decided to remove the profile of the alleged “Cannibal Cop” from its site after numerous requests from other users and strong media attention. CannibalCop

The ex-NYPD officer who was initially convicted of planning to kill women and eat them, including his ex-wife, had his online dating profiled outed this week by the New York Post in a pun-filled article that noted among other things, the man’s passion for cooking. You can read that article in full for more context on his case, but be warned, many of the details are distasteful.

We’ve mentioned before that as online dating becomes increasingly mainstream, a potential downside is that it will attract more people that you will want to avoid. These will include con artists and those with lengthy, unrepentant criminal records to name just a couple of examples.

Paradoxically, as online dating loses its stigma and more people trust and enter the various sites, there will increasingly be more opportunities to run into trouble by meeting the wrong kind of people.

While avoiding notorious potential suitors such as the Cannibal Cop may be somewhat easier thanks to the media coverage of his particular case, keep in mind that there are many more savvy and unknown characters out there.

Use common sense, your intuition and if necessary, a background check, as tools to assess any of the 40 million and growing potential dates you might find online.