RECODE - July 16 - Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg is not too worried about the impact of Facebook on her business. Although she acknowledged it would be foolish to write them off as a competitor, Match's data shows that its users already employ multiple dating apps. "Tinder's our big growth engine, and Tinder tends to skew very young, so 18 to 25. Facebook does not skew that young in general. If you're a 23-year-old and you're going to be using two or three apps, definitively, we think you're going to use one of our apps, most likely Tinder," she said. 5% of Match's revenue comes from advertising, a stark contrast to Facebook's 98.5%. She pointed out that that might assuage some consumers' concerns about privacy.
SEEKING ALPHA - July 10 - June has been a busy month for Match Group. The company announced that it had acquired a controlling stake in Hinge, and also introduced several new features for Tinder, with several more currently in the works. Tinder Picks is a new feature available exclusively for Tinder Gold subscribers. Picks, which mimics rival app Coffee Meets Bagel, presents users with four profiles daily based on factors such as education, interests, and swipe history. Loops feature, which it had previously tested in Canada and Sweden, allows users to post two-second, looping videos to their profiles in lieu of a static photograph. The company is testing a "Places" feature, which allows users to see potential matches who frequent similar bars, shops, and other locations. In Q1 '18, Tinder added 368K subscribers and delivered its best average revenue per user (ARPU) growth in two years. According to Match CFO Gary Swindler, Tinder's ARPU in Q1 grew 37% year-over-year. The company's ARPU as a whole reached $0.58 in Q1 - well above the $0.53 that it achieved in 2017. With such fantastic economics and a sticky user base, Match Group is significantly undervalued as a company. Yet, shares remain depressed amid negative sentiment surrounding Facebook's entry into online dating.
THE GUARDIAN - July 7 - Scouring photos for a conversation starter has become standard on Tinder, as a woman's viral post about toilet paper proves. Hana Michels, a comedian and writer from LA, who shared a screengrab of her Tinder profile to Twitter, found that a lot of men whom she matched with weren't interested in her at all but in her toilet paper holder. She had been chastised by 23 men in a year for the direction in which her toilet paper was facing. On apps like Tinder, you're expected to start a conversation with very little to go on. As such, mise-en-scene trawling has become an essential way of opening a dialogue. Tinder users admitted to scouring the backdrop for conversational fodder.
TECH CRUNCH - July 5 - Tinder Loops, the recently announced video feature from Tinder, is today rolling out globally. Tinder has been testing this feature in Canada and Sweden since April, when it was first announced, and has rolled out to a few other markets since then. Loops are two-second, looping videos that can be posted to users' profiles. Users can't shoot Tinder Loops from within the app, but rather have to upload and edit existing videos in their camera roll or upload a Live Photo from an iOS device. Users who added a Loop to their profile saw that their average conversation length went up by 20%. The feature seems to be particularly effective in Japan with users receiving an average of 10% more right swipes if they had a Loop in their profile.
NEW YORK TIMES - July 4 - Farah and Michael Walsh met on OkCupid. Now that they were engaged, they wanted their matchmaker at the wedding. Although no one from OkCupid attended their wedding, they were shocked to not only get a response card back but a baking dish from Crate & Barrel listed on their registry. The couple are hardly alone. Across the country, those who connected through dating apps are including the tech companies in their weddings. Tinder estimates it gets 50 notes a week; Bumble said it receives them daily. Others ask the startups to make their offices available for proposals; to sponsor parts of the wedding; even to officiate ceremonies. "I've been asked to marry people so many times, I got ordained to do it," said Alex Williamson, the head of brand for Bumble. "We do not take the invitations lightly," said Rosette Pambakian, head of brand marketing and communications for Tinder. "We send Champagne, we send personalized gifts." Bumble has two staff members whose duties include responding to engaged couples who reach out. The company may send wine flutes, flowers, or gifts from registries. OkCupid sends framed copies of the first messages pairs exchanged over the platform.
TECH CRUNCH - June 30 - Tinder has responded to a letter from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden calling for the company to seal up security loopholes in its app that could lead to blackmail and other privacy incursions. Match Group General Counsel Jared Sine described recent changes to the app, noting that as of June 19, "swipe data has been padded such that all actions are now the same size." Sine added that images on the mobile app are fully encrypted as of February 6, while images on the web version of Tinder were already encrypted. The Tinder issues were first called out in a report by a research team at Checkmarx describing the app's "disturbing vulnerabilities' and their propensity for blackmail.
FORTUNE - June 27 - Globally, there are 600M singles online - a number that's expected to jump to 700M by 2020 - yet the industry's biggest player by far, Match Group, is estimated to claim just 10% of that. If Match Group wants to stay No. 1, it will need to defend its turf. Those who know Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg say she is likely to be up to the task. She knows the industry inside and out, and she takes Match's mission almost as a personal responsibility. The company's biggest competitors include eHarmony, Spark Networks, Badoo and Bumble. Bumble claims 34M total registered users. Of its active users, roughly 10% are paid; last year the company is said to have pulled in $100M in subscription revenue. It has a Goliath-size backer: Wolfe Herd created Bumble with the help of Andrey Andreev, the founder of Badoo. Andreev owns 79%, Wolfe Herd 20% (the remaining 1% is split between two additional employees). For a few years, Tinder and Bumble coexisted but things recently turned testy. In March, Match filed its suit against Bumble, accusing it of patent infringement and stealing trade secrets. Four days later, Bumble fired back with an angry letter. A few days after that, it filed its own suit against Match, claiming Match had fraudulently obtained sensitive information during acquisition talks. But both companies were hit with a much bigger tsunami of news on May 8, when Zuckerberg made his announcement. Match Group is working on new female-friendly features, like a Gentleman's Badge, a designation recently added into its European Meetic brand that men earn through certain behaviors, such as filling out an entire profile or engaging in lengthy email correspondence; men with the badge get 33% more attention from women.
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WALL STREET JOURNAL - June 25 - Tinder's biggest challenge in India appears to be getting enough women to sign on. In many parts of India, arranged marriages remain the norm, and dating in any form still carries a stigma, particularly for women. Indian women who have dabbled with dating apps complain they get overwhelmed by all the attention that comes with the surplus of men. Tinder doesn't disclose a gender breakdown, but among the app's members in India, men far outnumber women. The dating app TrulyMadly, which says women make up ~20% of its users, is trying to introduce women to the concept of "boy browsing" through a YouTube video. Another competitor, Woo, allows women on its app free but charges men, and lets women use initials rather than full names.
TECH CRUNCH - June 22 - Tinder will begin testing a new feature aimed at helping people find more matches who fit their particular interests across areas like education, job type, hobbies and other details. "Tinder Picks," as the new feature is being called, will be available only to Tinder Gold users. Tinder uses will organize users into groupings. For example, a "foodie" might earn that tag because they work in a restaurant, went to a top culinary school, or mentions food in their bio. Users will see their daily Picks by tapping the diamond on the top of the Discovery screen. Tinder Picks refresh every 24 hours, but Tinder Gold users can opt to buy more at any time, the company says. Tinder says Picks is live now in the U.K., Germany, Brazil, France, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Sweden, Russia and the Netherlands. It will see how users respond over the next few days, then evaluate whether to roll out the feature more broadly.
NEW-BUSINESS.DE - June 22 - Slow dating app Once wants to expand its presence in Germany. The app has hired Morad Adjaoud, the former Head of International Growth of Tinder. Adjaoud joins Once as Chief Marketing Officer. Adjaoud will be responsible for worldwide marketing, but will pay special attention to the German market. Once launched in France in 2015; claims 2.1M French users and 1.5M German users.
THETIMES.CO.UK - June 25 - "I think #MeToo was a turning point for dating apps, making them react to help women feel safer online," says Clémentine Lalande, the co-chief executive of Once, an app that matches users with a single suitor each day. Last month, Bumble wrote an open letter to a college swimmer after he sent a female user abusive messages. The open letters serve as a warning to people joining the app that this behaviour won't be tolerated. Tinder is considering adding a Bumble-like feature so women need only interact with men they have messaged first. Bumble is considering allowing its female users to put an initial instead of their name to protect their identities. Meanwhile Once has introduced a five-star rating system. Women can "review" men, rating conversations, offering post-date analysis and giving a verdict on the accuracy of photos. It's not just the apps: women themselves are using technology to hit back in innovative ways. The artist Anna Gensler makes naked sketches of men who have sent her crude messages, then sends them to the men and posts them on Instagram. The blogger Samantha Mawdsley replied to an unsolicited penis pic with a catalogue of photos of male genitalia.
TASS - June 16 - Russian mobile phone operators have registered a surge in use of the Tinder dating app during the World Cup. The app saw a surge of ~350% during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. One of Russia's four biggest mobile phone operators, MTS, reportedly saw an 11-fold increase in match-day Tinder use among long-term customers near stadiums and fan zones in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Saransk. Tele2, meanwhile, saw the popularity of the app increase 3.5 times, compared to the pre-World Cup average.
by Jonathan Brady
See full article at The Moscow Times
VOGUE - June 11 - Samantha Stevens heads up Location Products for Tinder. "Tinder is a great place to be a female in tech," she says. "Personally, it's been really smooth sailing," she says. Launching Places with her team, Stevens confirms that the whole process, from start to finish, was created by women. An achievement at the best of times, and definitely a step in the right direction in a Time's Up world.
BUSINESS INSIDER UK - June 11 - Match Group shouldn't be worried about Facebook's entrance into online dating, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill says. Companies that have experienced a Facebook intrusion have historically seen solid share performance after the social-media company entered their business. Evidence shows users are prone to staying on Match, even if they also choose to use Facebook. Plus, it's not as if using one dating app means cancelling one's account on another. In a survey of 600 users, Thill found that 61% of users said Facebook's service will be an "additive" to the market, rather than a takeover of the market. Additionally, 60% of respondents are on more than one dating app.
HUFFINGTON POST - June 10 - Tinder is charging a 25-year-old Rs 520 per month for its premium service Gold, a 33-year-old woman pays Rs 1,099 and a 36-year-old man pays Rs 1,600 for the identical service. The prices are slightly more for users of Apple devices over Android devices. "Tinder is offering exactly the same services for different prices to different individuals. That is unreasonable," said Suresh Kumar an advocate with Legal Help Line India. He suggested that users can file a complaint with the Competition Commission Of India and challenge Tinder's 'unreasonable' pricing. But Tinder is not the only company using user's data to its own advantage. In India, banks are building apps that read client's text messages, and analyse social media posts to assess loan applications.
FINANCE YAHOO - June 7 - If anyone understands the nuances of the competitive online dating market, it's certainly Mandy Ginsberg, who became CEO of Match Group in January after running Match Group North America for two and a half years. Match Group controls 45 businesses, including Match.com, Tinder, OkCupid, and POF. Tinder remains the portfolio's breakout property. But despite Tinder's success, Ginsberg suggests the app still has some growing up to do. Tinder began rolling out new features like Tinder Places, which lets users find potential connections based on the places they go to, and Tinder Loops which is another way for users to express themselves. "Tinder can be more one-dimensional. It is a swiping machine and the experience is a little bit superficial. So we're trying to create a much more robust experience. In two years, Tinder is not going to be just about matching - it's going to also be about how we give people a better sense of who that person is. So when you go out on a date with someone, there's going to be a higher chance of chemistry", said Mandy.
BUSTLE - June 8 - Tinder launched "More Genders" feature in 2017. Although it's only been live for 12 months, "More Genders" has been in the works since November 2016. As Tinder Founder & Chairman Sean Rad said, the decision came after the company heard word of rampant gender-based discrimination taking place on its platform: Users would report matches after discovering their gender identity, flagging profiles as fraudulent when a person who'd selected "woman," for example, clarified in their bio that they actually identified as genderqueer, or as a trans woman. The feature has made 25M matches worldwide - and counting.