Business News: Online Dating Apps - Failure Is The Business Model
The business model for online dating app companies relies on single men and women actually failing to find their match, while remaining engaged on the platforms. By Ben Arogundade. December. 18, 2019.
THE BUSINESS OF FAILURE: Online dating apps rely on users not finding matches and therefore staying online, in order for the businesses to make a profit. This reduces their incentive to make the apps better.
ACCORDING TO A 2017 AMERICAN survey by sociologists at Stanford University and the University of New Mexico, online dating is now the most common way couples meet. Digital has taken over, just as it has done with music, books, cameras and home video.
And — as I discuss in my new guide to Internet dating — this industry is proving to be very lucrative for the app owners. Analysts predict that the global dating app market will be worth $12 billion by 2020. Match Group, which owns the leading online dating app, ‘Tinder’, has a market capitalisation of $2.3 billion. In 2018 it generated its biggest ever profit — nearly $500 million.
DIGITAL LOVE BUSINESS
For some years Match Group has been buying up its rivals in an attempt to dominate the market and all its niches. Alongside ‘Tinder’ it also owns ‘Hinge’ as well as the biggest dating app for black singletons, ‘BlackPeopleMeet’. Most online daters are completely unaware of this, moving between apps in the belief that they are dealing with different companies, when in reality they are merely moving between departments within the same firm. Match Group’s objective is to retain the customer, wherever they might go in search of online love.
INTERNATIONAL FAILURE IS THE BUSINESS
But while the marketing of the online dating apps promotes the idea that their primary objective is to help us all find true love and live happily ever after, in fact, failure is the business model. The apps rely on users NOT finding a partner for as long as possible, because that is how they make their money, via subscriptions and in-app purchases. (Many female daters do not realise that men have to pay to connect with them, plus additional sums for special features). The apps first duty is not to lonely singletons looking for love, but to their company shareholders. Therefore they have no incentive for making their apps better — because better apps means better matches, which means more people leaving. Their ultimate goal is to stop this from happening — at least for a while.
CONNECTIONS, NOT DATING
The apps are adopting new measures to achieve this, with many expanding their offering as places to meet friends or business connects, as well as to date, positioning themselves as “social” rather than dating platforms. Whitney Wolfe, CEO of ‘Bumble’, recently announced that her app is now a “connections”, rather than a dating platform.” In order to appeal to its core of 18-25-year-olds, ‘Tinder’ has introduced ‘Swipe Night’, an interactive game in which users navigate an impending apocalypse on planet Earth, with matches then tailored to the decisions players make within the game itself.
Despite its many issues, online dating is the future, statistically, culturally and socially. The apps still have a long way to go in providing an efficient, fully optimised service. But with romantic failure central to the business model, this seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
THE BUSINESS OF DATING: Many online daters are unaware that Match Group, the company that owns ‘Tinder’, also owns ‘Match’ and ‘Hinge’. The strategic objective is to retain the customer, whichever app they may migrate to.
NEW ONLINE DATING BOOK
My Terrifying, Shocking, Humiliating, Amazing Adventures In Online Dating, by Ben Arogundade
“Extraordinary and revelatory.”
Author BenArogundade recounts his journey as an online dater, during which time he was stood up, verbally abused, propositioned for sex and asked to be a father to an unborn child. Along the way he offers singles the secrets and best practices they need to know to boost the quality of their matches, and presents the latest strategies, research-based guidelines and innovations to take their online profiles to new levels of excellence. Get it now at Amazon, £9.99/$12.99.