Example of swiping within Tinder
|Initial release||September 12, 2012|
|Operating system||iOS, Android, Web|
Tinder is a location-based social search mobile app, most often used as a dating site, that allows users to like (swipe right) or dislike (swipe left) other users, and allows users to chat if both parties like each other (a "match"). Information available to users is based on pictures, a short bio, and optionally, a linked Instagram or Spotify account.
Originally developed by Hatch Labs, the IAC incubator launched in 2011, the app was launched in 2012. By 2014, it was registering about one billion "swipes" per day. Tinder is among the first "swiping apps", whose users employ a swiping motion to choose photos of other users, swiping right for potentially good matches and swiping left on a photo to move to the next one.
Tinder was founded by Sean Rad, Jonathan Badeen, Justin Mateen, Joe Munoz, Alexa Mateen, Dinesh Moorjani, and Whitney Wolfe, who later left Tinder to start Bumble. Other sources restrict the list of founders to Mateen, Rad, and Badeen, though this has been disputed. Sean Rad and Justin Mateen had known each other since they were 14. They both come from Jewish-Iranian families from Los Angeles. The two later attended USC together and entered the Internet entrepreneurship field. Rad has stated that the impetus for the app was his observation that "no matter who you are, you feel more comfortable approaching somebody if you know they want you to approach them." He believed that a "double opt-in" system could be created to potentially alleviate that stress. Rad has also stated that Tinder filled a gap for social sites for meeting strangers, rather than connecting with people a user already knows.
Tinder was then seeded at numerous college campuses and then expanded to other college campuses. The app won TechCrunch's Crunchie Award for "Best New Startup of 2013". In March 2013, when the app was still used only in some localities, social media director Alexa Mateen, who spearheaded Tinder's expansion onto college campuses, stated that the app was intended to be a "chance to meet people you wouldn't normally meet". By May 2013, Tinder was one of the top 25 social networking apps available on the web based on frequency of use and number of users. Initially, instead of a swiping motion, users would click on either a green "heart" or red "X" to select or move on from the photos shown. Tinder became the first new online dating service to become one of the top five utilized services on the web in about 10 years. As of 2016, Sean Rad is the company's CEO. As of 2018, Jenny Campbell is the company's chief marketing officer.
As of October 2014, the app was processing over one billion swipes per day, producing about twelve million matches per day. The average user would generally spend about an hour and a half on the app each day. After transitioning from the clicking function Tinder initially used, Tinder became the first "swipe app", now a term to describe various apps that use swiping left or right to control what content the user sees in a browsing fashion. The functionality of the swipe is now in use by multiple other companies and software. In 2015, Tinder introduced the ability to go back to rejected profiles, "rewinding" if the user feels they made a mistake—something previously not possible on the app.
Companion apps were being developed by different companies allowing users to, for example, use the user's heart rate to determine which direction to swipe instead of the user swiping with their hands. The main companion site for Tinder has been Facebook, as Tinder users connect their Facebook profile to their Tinder accounts for verification and profile details. Chatting on Tinder is only available between two users that have swiped right on one another's photos. The selections a user makes are not known to other users, unless two individuals swipe right on each other's profiles. However, once you have matches on the app, the user is able to send personal photos, called "Tinder Moments", to all matches at once, allowing each match to like or not like the photos. The site also has verified profiles for public figures, so that celebrities and other public figures can verify they are who they are when using the app.
In October 2015, Tinder released the Super Like feature worldwide. This allows non-Tinder Plus users to Super Like one profile every 24 hours for free. Tinder Plus users have up to five Super Likes a day. Instead of swiping right for a profile, the user swipes up. The app notifies the user if they have been Super Liked with a blue border that surrounds the profile of the person who Super Liked them. It then allows the user to either swipe right or left. Tinder says that Super Likes makes it three times as likely for users to find a match.
As of November 11, 2015, Tinder's "Moments" feature had been retired.
In September 2016, Tinder invested in Vina, a social network where women can meet and nurture new friendships.
Tinder Boost was tested in September 2016 in Australia, and went live worldwide in October 2016. The Boost feature lets the user have the top profile in the area for thirty minutes. Users receive up to ten times the amount of profile views while boosting. Tinder Plus users get one free Boost a month. If users do not have Tinder Plus or want more Boosts, they can be purchased in the app. This feature is similar to a premium feature on Match Group's OkCupid.
In October 2016, Tinder announced it was opening its first office in Silicon Valley in hopes to better recruit technical employees.
In November 2016, Tinder introduced more options for users to select their gender. In the app's settings, users have the option to type a word that suits their gender identity. Users also have the option to have this displayed on their profile or not. This feature was released for the US, UK, and Canada.
In March 2017, Tinder launched Tinder Online, a web-optimized version of the dating app so people can access Tinder at their desktops. Initially, It was only available in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Philippines and Sweden and didn't include special features such as Super Likes or Tinder Boost. Tinder Online launched globally in September 2017.
In June 2017, Tinder launched Tinder Gold, a members-only service, offering their most exclusive features: Passport, Rewind, Unlimited Likes, five Super Likes per day, one Boost per month, and more profile controls. This is an optional service offered to Tinder Plus users that costs an additional fee as a paid subscription.
On August 6, 2018, the Match Group announced Tinder had over 3.7 million paid subscribers, up 81 percent over the same quarter in 2017.
On December 2018, Tinder launches new editorial website: Swipe Life
On May 10, 2019, it was reported that Tinder was planning for a lighter version app called Tinder Lite aimed at growing markets where data usage, bandwidth and storage space is a concern. 
Using Facebook, Tinder is able to build a user profile with photos that have already been uploaded. Basic information is gathered and the users' social graph is analyzed. Candidates who are most likely to be compatible based on geographical location, number of mutual friends, and common interests are then streamed into a list of matches. Based on the results of potential candidates, the app allows the user to anonymously like another user by swiping right or pass by swiping left on them. If two users like each other it then results in a "match" and they are able to chat within the app. The app is used in about 196 countries. Tinder utilizes user proximity to search for potential suitors. Users are able to swipe left to reject the other party or swipe right to show approval. If both users swipe right, the app calls it a match and the users are able to start a conversation with each other. 
- Swipe is central to Tinder's design. From the compatible matches the app's algorithm provides, users swipe right to "like" potential matches and swipe left to continue on their search.
- Instagram integration enables users to access other users' Instagram profiles.
- Common Connections allows users to see whether they share a mutual Facebook friend with a match (a first degree connection on Tinder) or when a user and their match have two separate friends who happen to be friends with each other (considered second degree on Tinder).
- Tinder Gold, introduced worldwide in August 2017, is a premium subscription feature that allows the user to see those who have already liked them before swiping.
In March 2015, Tinder announced the public release of its paid service, Tinder Plus, a feature allowing unlimited matches, whereas the free Tinder app limits the number of right swipes in a 12-hour period. It has met with controversy over limiting the number of "likes" a free user can give in a certain amount of time, as well as charging prices for different age groups. The price of a Tinder Plus subscription was announced to be £14.99/$19.99 USD per month for users over 28, while the service for a user 28 and under will be £3.99/$9.99 USD per month.
Tinder is used widely throughout the world and is available in over 40 languages. As of late 2014, an estimated 50 million people used the app every month with an average of 12 million matches per day. However, to get to those 12 million matches, users collectively made around 1 billion swipes per day. The minimum age to sign up and use Tinder was 18. As of June 2016, Tinder is no longer usable by anyone under 18. If minors were found being under 18, they were banned from using Tinder until 18. As of April 2015, Tinder users swiped through 1.6 billion Tinder profiles and made more than 26 million matches per day. More than 8 billion matches had been made since Tinder launched in 2012.
In March 2014, Media & Internet conglomerate IAC increased its majority stake in Tinder, a move that caused speculation that the valuation of Tinder was at several billion dollars. In July 2015, Bank of America Merrill Lynch valued Tinder at $1.35 billion, based upon an estimate of $27 per user on an estimated user base of 50 million, with an additional bullish-estimate of $3 billion by taking the average of the IPOs of similar companies. Analysts also estimated that Tinder had about half a million paid users within its userbase that consisted mostly of free users. The monetization of the site has come through leaving the basic app free, and then adding different in-app purchase options for additional functions. In January 2015 Tinder acquired Chill, the developers of Tappy—a mobile messenger that uses "images and ephemerality".
An ad campaign launched by "The Barn" internship program of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) used Tinder profiles to promote their NYC Puppy Rescue Project. Using Facebook pet profiles, BBH was able to add them to the Tinder network. The campaign received media cover from Slate, Inc., The Huffington Post, and others. In April 2015, Tinder revealed their first sponsored ad promoting Budweiser's next #Whatever, USA campaign.
The New York Times wrote that the wide use of Tinder could be attributed not to what Tinder was doing right but to flaws in the models of earlier dating software, which relied on mathematical algorithms to select potential partners. Relationship experts interviewed by the newspaper stated that users used the photographs that come in succession on the app to derive cues as to social status, confidence levels, and personal interests. Marie Claire wrote that the app was "easy to use on the run" and "addictive" but that "...it's hard to focus. The game-style of Tinder means it's really easy to keep playing and forget about that hottie you were messaging yesterday."
As of June 2015, 62% of Tinder users were male and 38% were female. According to University of Texas at Austin psychologist David Buss, "Apps like Tinder and OkCupid give people the impression that there are thousands or millions of potential mates out there. One dimension of this is the impact it has on men's psychology. When there is ... a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating," and there is a feeling of disconnect when choosing future partners. In addition, the cognitive process identified by psychologist Barry Schwartz as the "paradox of choice" (also referred to as "choice overload" or "fear of a better option") was cited in an article published in The Atlantic that suggested that the appearance of an abundance of potential partners causes online daters to be less likely to choose a partner and be less satisfied with their choices of partners.
Tinder CEO Sean Rad has said that Tinder removes the "friction" associated with walking up to someone and introducing oneself. However, in March 2015, the website Medium published a statistical analysis quantifying the degree of inequality on Tinder as a dating market. The analysis concluded that "the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men. The Gini coefficient for the Tinder dating market based on 'like' percentages was calculated to be 0.58. This means that the Tinder economy has more inequality than 95.1% of all the world's national economies. In addition, it was determined that a man of average attractiveness would be 'liked' by approximately 0.87% (1 in 115) of women on Tinder."
Additionally, data released by Tinder itself has shown that of the 1.6 billion swipes it records per day, only 26 million result in matches (a match rate of approximately only 1.63%), despite users logging into the app on average 11 times per day, with male user sessions averaging 7.2 minutes and female user sessions averaging 8.5 minutes (or 79.2 minutes and 93.5 minutes per day respectively). Also, a Tinder user interviewed anonymously in an article published in the December 2018 issue of The Atlantic estimated that only one in 10 of their matches actually resulted in an exchange of messages with the other user they were matched with, with another anonymous Tinder user saying, "Getting right-swiped is a good ego boost even if I have no intention of meeting someone," leading The Atlantic article author to conclude "Unless you are exceptionally good-looking, the thing online dating may be best at is sucking up large amounts of time."
In August 2015, journalist Nancy Jo Sales wrote in Vanity Fair that Tinder operates within a culture of users seeking sex without relationships. In 2017, the Department of Communications Studies at Texas Tech University conducted a study to see how infidelity was connected to the Tinder app. The experiment was conducted on 550 students from an unnamed university in the Southwestern United States. The students first provided their demographic information and then answered questions regarding Tinder's link to infidelity. The results showed that more than half reported having seen somebody on Tinder who they knew was in an exclusive relationship (63.9%). 71.3% of participants reported that they knew male friends who used Tinder while in a relationship, and 56.1% reported that they had female friends who used Tinder while in a relationship.
There are also cybersecurity, data privacy, and public health concerns about Tinder. Public health officials in Rhode Island and Utah have claimed that Tinder and similar apps are responsible for uptick of some STDs. In February 2014, security researchers in New York found a flaw which made it possible to find users' precise locations for between 40 and 165 days. Tinder's spokesperson, Rosette Pambakian, said the issue was resolved within 48 hours. Tinder CEO Sean Rad said in a statement that shortly after being contacted, Tinder implemented specific measures to enhance location security and further obscure location data.
In March 2016, a website called Swipebuster was launched, which allows anyone to see how recently someone else logged on to Tinder, at a cost of $4.99 for every three searches. Vanity Fair was the first to report on the service, in an article titled "Here's How You Can Check if Your Partner Is Cheating on Tinder", and Swipebuster subsequently received extensive media coverage for being the first searchable database of Tinder users. The Guardian explained how Swipebuster works: "[I]t doesn't [identify users] by hacking into Tinder, or even by 'scraping' the app manually. Instead, it searches the database using Tinder's official API, which is intended for use by third-party developers who want to write software that plugs in with the site. All the information that it can reveal is considered public by the company, and revealed through the API with few safeguards."
In August 2016, two engineers found another flaw which showed the exact location of all users' matches. The location was updated every time a user logged into the app and it worked even for blocked matches. The issue was detected in March 2016, but it was not fixed until August 2016. In July 2017, a study published in Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing found that Tinder users are excessively willing to disclose their personally identifiable information. In September 2017, The Guardian published an article by a journalist who requested all data that the Tinder app had recorded about her from the company and found that Tinder stores all user messages, user locations and times, the characteristics of other users who interest a particular user, the characteristics of particular users of interest to other users, the length of time users spend looking at particular pictures, which for the journalist amounted to 800 pages of detail.
There have been anti-Tinder online marketing campaigns and websites developed. On June 30, 2014, Tinder's co-founder and former vice president of marketing, Whitney Wolfe, filed a sexual harassment and sex discrimination suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against IAC-owned Match Group, the parent company of Tinder. The lawsuit alleged that her fellow executives and co-founders Rad and Mateen had engaged in discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation against her, while Tinder's corporate supervisor, IAC's Sam Yagan, did nothing. IAC suspended CMO Mateen from his position pending an ongoing investigation, and stated that it "acknowledges that Mateen sent private messages containing 'inappropriate content,' but it believes Mateen, Rad and the company are innocent of the allegations". In December 2018, The Verge reported that Tinder had dismissed Rosette Pambakian, the company's vice president of marketing and communication who had accused Tinder's former CEO Greg Blatt of sexual assault, along with several other employees who were part of the group of Tinder employees who had previously sued the Match Group for $2 billion.
The Tinder effect
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London and vice-president of research and innovation at Hogan Assessment Systems, wrote in The Guardian about the Tinder effect, which is the way relationships are modified by dating apps and why Tinder is so successful. In this article he depicts 5 psychological lessons from the Tinder effect which are the following.
- Hook-up apps are more arousing than actual hook-ups: Tinder doesn't only gamify the dating process, it also sexualizes it. It isn't just a way to get a date with someone, but it is an end in itself.
- Digital eligibility exceeds physical eligibility: Most of the data imported to Tinder by the users for their profile come from their Facebook profile, which are sophisticated and calculated, making them a lot more attractive.
- Evolutionary and social needs: Tinder is driven by today's social needs, granting people a way to get in touch, to compete between each other, and to know what others think of them. Not much information has been revealed officially about the algorithm matching people, yet it was disclosed that it uses a rating system similar to the Elo rating system. This system widely used in sports shows the competitive dimension of Tinder, even though grades are only used by the algorithm and not disclosed to the users.
- Tinder does emulate the real dating world: Tinder is about making quick choices based on the appearance, which is what people actually tend to do when meeting a potential date for the first time.
- Romanticism is dead, except in retail: Tinder adapts to the lack of time of its users and their realism about soulmates[clarification needed] by matching them efficiently and rationally, ensuring them a new relationship quickly but with no guarantee that it will be a long-term success.
Natasha Aponte incident
In August 2018, New York-based model Natasha Aponte made headlines after she was reported to have amassed dozens of men she matched with on Tinder in Union Square, Manhattan, where she had set up a "Live Tinder" dating competition in which they will have to vie for a date with her. According to some of the men, they received a sudden message from Aponte – after she had stopped corresponding with them for quite some time – reminding them that they meet her at said location where she said "her friend was DJing around 6", and where she wanted to go for a drink for their first date afterwards. Upon arrival, the men were then perplexed (and furious) to find out that they had been conned into competing for Aponte, who explained that "she was over dating apps and wanted instead for her suitors to participate in a competition." The stunt – which was labelled by New York magazine as the "Summer of Scam" and Gizmodo as "a cross between The Bachelorette and Catfish with a little bit of Punk'd thrown in for comedic appeal" – turned out to be pulled by an agency that was responsible for shooting a 2014 viral YouTube video in which a woman – attached with hidden cameras – walks through New York for 10 minutes as a social experiment on how pervasive catcalling is at said location.
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