Last week Match Group, the owner of such popular dating properties as Match.com and Tinder, announced it would go public and list its shares on the stock market. If you think this news is only interesting to the CNBC crowd, think again. As an online dater, if you use Match’s platforms in particular or online dating in general, this announcement is likely to eventually affect you.
Here are the three big reasons why:
Publicly traded companies have only one mission: to deliver profits to their shareholders. One of the most profitable assets major online dating companies have is the data on their consumers. Platforms like OKCupid have not been shy in utilizing this data and even running experiments on their users, in one case intentionally messing with compatibility stats to see what the results would be. Expect more hijinks like this in the future as shareholders press online dating platforms to deliver value on their data.
Tinder made huge news earlier this year by launching a tiered pricing system that charged older daters more than their younger counterparts. Expect to see more pricing “innovations” like this as the Match Group seeks to incentivize the most desirable users to join while sticking other age cohorts with the bill.
As a public company Match and its platforms will feel more pressure to continually increase not only the most desired users, but also all users. While this could potentially benefit some communities of users by expanding the pool of potential dates, quality is a big question. Tinder has already been called out on the behavior of its user base in the past. By encouraging quantity over quality the user experience could potentially become more discouraging for people looking for a serious date.
While the Match IPO shows how far online dating has come into being accepted into the mainstream, it also comes with a potential new set of perils as profits could become incentivized over user experience.