BLOOMBERG - Jun 28 - To win over Asia, Tinder is reinventing itself. In South Korea, the app is trying to shed its reputation as a hookup app - instead, it's selling itself as a place to find new friends. In university towns, new billboards have emerged for Tinder: "New Year, New Friends, New You." The way young Koreans have traditionally found romantic partners is sogaeting, where a mutual friend sets two people up on a blind date, or meetings where groups of friends all hang out together and pair off. Those familiar with Tinder's more transactional reputation in the West are bemused. "Tinder is so tied into American culture, the thought that it could hide its identity in Korea is kind of absurd," said University of Michigan Professor Fred Feinberg, who has studied the marketing behind online dating apps. Match's foray into Asia stretches beyond South Korea. Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg is betting big on this corner of the world, spending more money on marketing in Korea, India and Japan than anywhere else in the world, despite the Asia Pacific region only pulling in 12% of Match's revenue last year. She said this would increase to 25% by 2023.
WALL STREET JOURNAL - June 28 - Under recent loosening of social rules, [Saudis] have more opportunities to meet romantic interests, but dating is still complicated. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (age 33) loosened up some of the ultraconservative kingdom's social mores, opening movie theaters, allowing women to drive and organizing live music events. The vice police no longer prowl cafes, restaurants and public squares to enforce gender segregation. Social media and dating apps have opened up new ways to connect. (And for prying parents to spy.) Yet the government hasn't articulated the exact rules of engagement. Same-sex relations can be punishable by death, although rarely enacted.
ROCKET CITY NOW - June 28 - Spotafriend uses location to connect teenagers, and swipe left/right. If both accept, they can chat privately. Although the app is for teens, it's easy for anyone to create an account. National Children's Advocacy Center Community Education Program Manager, Beth Jackson, said, "People that prey on children, they're looking at what they're interested in. [Teens] are interested in dating [and] sex. What we need to remind them is just a lot of caution, people may not be who they say they are."
MONEY CONTROL - June 28 - 80% of TrulyMadly's paid user base, which is ~100K, is looking for 'something serious'. Gone are the days when Indians would directly go to matrimonial sites to look for marriage prospects. Now, more and more people are preferring to get on to dating apps to find love and take the next stop forward. According to a survey conducted by Assocham Social Media Foundation last year, a large group of respondents said instead of matrimonial sites or newspaper ads, they would use a dating app to find their life partner. TrulyMadly is one of India's leading dating apps. "We have positioned ourselves as a dating app for those looking for something serious. That’s why ~50% of the app's active users are 28 years or older and 70% are 26 and older." According to Statista, revenue in the online dating segment amounts to approximately Rs 428 crore ($62M) in 2019 and the user penetration is 2.9%, expected to hit 3.2% by 2023. The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to ~Rs 108 ($1.57). TrulyMadly declined to share financial details.
B&T MAGAZINE - June 28 - Lumen, the dating app exclusively for over 50s, has launched its first TV commercial in Australia. The 30-second TVC, created in-house, features over 50s dance troupe, Silver Classix Crew, performing Tron dance wearing LED suits. The finale of the energetic performance is signalled with a flood of light and the removal of LED hats, revealing the faces and ages of the eight dancers.
TECH CRUNCH - June 26 - The updated profiles allow users to express themselves more fully in the categories of gender, sexuality, pronouns, diet preferences, star signs, drinking, smoking and cannabis habits, among others. HER has also added space for a text bio, which is very common on other dating apps but wasn't a part of Her. HER launched four years ago, rebranded from Dattch, with the intent to give queer women a space to safely and freely express themselves and meet each other. The app has 4.5M registered users, and has raised $2.5M in funding.
FORTUNE - June 26 - Dating app Hinge is partnering with Rock the Vote, a political nonprofit organization aimed at "building the political power of young people" through voter registration and issue-based awareness campaigns. From Wednesday - the first day of the Democratic presidential primary debates - to Friday, Hinge will donate $1 to Rock the Vote for each "like" on its Rock the Vote Instagram post, up to a total of $50K.
EINNEWS - June 26 - Once Places is a selection of venues especially curated for dates, from their first meet-up to their tenth anniversary. When conducting a study amongst its users, Once discovered that 69% admit struggling to find the right spot for a rendezvous. In 42% of cases, the place picked just ends up being too noisy or too crowded. And for 83% the choice of the place says a lot about people's personality.
DIGIDAY - June 26 - Tinder has approached Cosmopolitan, the women's lifestyle publisher, about "Single, Swipe, Repeat," a branded podcast about dating, hosted by Cosmopolitan relationships director Faye Brennan. Cosmopolitan was paid a flat fee to produce the show. While the publisher declined to comment on price, the going rate for a branded podcast typically begins in the high six-figure range, with more sophisticated productions costing over $1M. Cosmopolitan hopes "Single, Swipe, Repeat" will reach 78M millennials across platforms. Tinder was already a believer in branded podcasts. Back in 2016, the dating app hooked up with Gimlet’s brand studio, Gimlet Creative, to produce a similar show called "DTR," which ran for two seasons.
THE MORNING SHOW - June 26 - Christy Edwards Lawton is the brains behind Righter - an app designed to help President Trump fans find one another. "I had a demand coming from some veterans and men, masculine men who felt that they were being suppressed a bit," Lawton said. "So I decided to launch an app for conservatives, and men and women who were seeking traditional values and monogamous dating, and were sick and tired of hookups." Lawton has also previously said feminists weren't allowed on her app.
BUSTLE - June 25 - Members of the LGBTQ community still aren't protected from discrimination under federal law. But in an important move forward, the Equality Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in March 2019. The bill passed the House in May and awaits approval by the Senate. Now, during Pride month, Tinder's #RightToLove feature encourages people to contact their senators in support of the Equality Act. Tinder's #RightToLove campaign, which includes a PRIDE Slide in New York City that will donate $10 from every trip down the slide to the Human Rights Campaign in support of the Equality Act, is a call to action to ensure everyone's rights are protected under the law.
NLTIMES - June 25 - Nearly half of Dutch between the ages of 18 and 34 are active on dating sites or apps like Tinder, Happn and Grindr. Just over half of all Dutch think that getting a date online is just as normal as using more traditional methods, according to a survey among 1K Dutch people by research agency Ipsos, and researched by Rutgers and the Volkskrant. In total, one in five Dutch have an online dating profile. Tinder is the most popular dating app, with 13% of Dutch using it, followed by Happn with 3% and Grindr with 2%.
QUARTZ - June 25 - Tencent, the Chinese technology giant that operates messaging app WeChat, has shut down an anonymous chat function, called "drift bottle". On drift bottle, users could "throw" bottles containing either a text or voice message into a virtual ocean or "pick up" floating ones. The function allowed users to stay anonymous, but people could also exchange contact details through the bottles. Tencent announced in December that it would suspend drift bottle on both QQ Mail and WeChat, after it found that users had been spreading pornography or soliciting prostitution on the platform. In April, the company said it would officially shut down the chat programme on QQ Mail on June 24. It has not said whether drift bottle would be resumed on WeChat. For many of China's Internet users, particularly those born in the 1980s, drift bottle was a go-to-place for finding either friendship or romance online. With the rise of local dating apps and social networks such as Momo and Weibo, drift bottle is now largely an object of nostalgia for China's Internet users.
INVESTORS.COM - June 25 - Shares in Match have shot up 75% from a year ago despite Facebook moving aggressively into dating. Match stock popped 7.5% to 71.74 on the stock market today. With the gain, the company is trading less than 5% below a buy point of 75.38. The company gets nearly half its revenue from Tinder. Overseas growth in markets such as India, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea is key for Tinder and other products. In April, Match hired Ravi Mehta as its new chief product officer. Mehta had served as Facebook's product director for youth engagement. At Facebook, he helped develop Lasso, a competitor to the popular TikTok short video sharing app. Match is adding video to the Tinder app. Still, some analysts are cautious on the Match strategy. In May, Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Ng upgraded Match stock to neutral from sell.
NEWSWEEK - June 25 - For each person who rides down the "Pride Slide," Tinder will donate $10 toward efforts to pass the Equality Act. Adjacent to Madison Square Park on East 23rd Street, the "Pride Slide" was unveiled to the public on Monday. The 30-foot ride is meant to represent "the 30 U.S. states that still do not protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination.
IRISH TIMES - June 25 - Tech companies must take responsibility for the use of their apps by sexual predators and not leave it up to women to take extra measures to keep themselves safe, the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) has said. "Women should be able to use dating apps without fearing for their safety," said NWCI director Orla O'Connor following the jailing of rapist Patrick Nevin. He was jailed on Monday for 12 years for attacking three women in the space of 11 days after meeting them on Tinder. Dublin Senator Catherine Noone called for all sex offenders to be banned from using dating apps for life, saying it was "common sense" to restrict these people from interacting with others online. "People should always take precautions on dating apps but they should also expect some level of security vetting when using these apps. By introducing measures that will ban individuals convicted of a sexual crime, we can begin to provide this level of security."
PEW RESEARCH - June 24 - According to recent Pew Research Center analysis, couples who meet online are more likely to be diverse. But this can be explained by the fact that online daters tend to be younger than those who meet offline, and younger people are more likely to be in relationships with people who are different from them, regardless of how they meet. In the study (which included 3,394 U.S. adults who are currently married, in a relationship or who have ever previously been in a relationship), the median age of people who met their partners online was 36, compared with 51 among those who met their partners in another way. Three-in-ten of those who say they met their partner online report that their partner is a different race or ethnicity, compared with 19% of those who met their partner offline.
TECH CRUNCH - June 24 - Bond Capital founder and former Kleiner Perkins general partner Mary Meeker made her presentation onstage at Vox/Recode's Code Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Tuesday. Meeker first crafted a report of this kind, which underlines the most important statistics and technology trends on the Internet, in 1995. This morning, Meeker highlighted slowed growth in e-commerce sales, increased Internet ad spending, data growth, as well as the rise of freemium subscription business models, telemedicine, photo-sharing, interactive gaming, the on-demand economy and more. Here's a look at all 333 slides.
HEAVY.COM - June 24 - Nabil Ghaly is an engineer, an inventor, and a business owner. He is also the plaintiff in a case which charges that Humor Rainbow, the parent company of OkCupid, illegally used technology that he had patented over 15 years ago. Ghaly says that he sent repeated letters to Humor Rainbow to alert them to the fact that he had already patented the technology. He asked them to sign a licensing agreement but, he says, they declined. That's when Ghaly decided to bring the matter to court. Ghaly's patent infringement case opened on June 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ghaly filed for a patent for a hand-held matchmaking device in 1999. His system would ask participants multiple choice questions in order to create a profile. The device would store that information and then use it to determine whether participants were compatible with each other. Ghaly charges that back in 1999, this was a brand new idea and that he deserves credit for his prescience. His complaint charges that OkCupid didn't file for a patent for a mobile dating app until 2013 (that patent was granted in 2017). It's not clear whether Ghaly also intends to go after other dating apps for patent violation. Humor Rainbow settled a previous patent violation lawsuit from the parent company of JDate. The patent describes a computerized system for deciding whether two people are interested in each other. Under the system, the two people are notified if they are mutually interested in each other.