Tinder: The Newest Service to Put a Price on Love

woman staring in shock at phoneAS IF using Tinder doesn’t already leave you feeling strange and uncomfortable with your ability to so easily judge a book by its cover, swiping left and right mindlessly in the hopes of connecting with another human might just have gotten a whole lot harder for you to get on board with. The makers behind the dating app recently rolled out some changes that might be great for some, but spell doom for the dating lives of others. In a nutshell, the company has decided that it’s high-time to start charging for its services, and while they are offering some new benefits, they’ve also made it significantly more difficult to opt out of the upgrade if you want to keep using the app like you’ve become accustomed to doing.

One perk that might tempt you into forking up the dough for a subscription is the fact that undoing a left-swipe (AKA a “thanks, but no thanks”) has become an option in the paid version. As any Tinder user knows too well, once you say no, that person is lost forever no matter how loudly you yell “Nooooo! GO BACK!” at your iPhone. Odds are, every user has gotten into the flow of denying potentials and accidentally swiped past a cutie without being able to stop in time. So for those on-second-thoughters that decide to opt into the update, this new feature will prevent that particular horror from happening again. But the minds behind Tinder are savvy; instead of just offering new features in the paid version, they’ve also decided to tweak the existing free version in ways that will make purchasing a subscription a must if you’re a hard-core Tinder user. Case in point: if you decide to stick with the free version, the number of swipes you have at all are limited. So after you go at it for a while, a screen pops up and essentially puts you on time-out for 24 hours or offers to save the day… if you pay up, that is. For most of us, that means saying goodbye to the halcyon days of swiping until we overload on options and pass out.

But here’s what is perhaps the weirdest part about the app’s upgrade. The cost of a monthly subscription depends on how old you are, with older users being charged significantly more than their younger counterparts. And we’re not just talking about “old” older people —  the 30-year-old-plus crowd is the demographic getting screwed (and not in the way they probably hope). The currently-released numbers state that for the under-30s, Tinder Plus costs $9.99 a month, but will cost you $19.99 a month if you have the audacity to be over 30 years old.

Tinder stands behind their claim that this is a totally normal marketing plan, since younger people tend to be less financially-stable than their slightly-older friends. If that’s the case, we can’t help but wonder if Tinder Plus is the first sign of society entering a world in which subscriptions to digital services will start being priced based on users’ age. We don’t know about you but, at this point, we’re too dependent on our Netflix accounts to even think about getting rid of our subscriptions when we hit the big 3-0. So thank you for potentially opening that can of worms, Tinder. You shouldn’t have. (Really.)

At the end of the day, Tinder seems to be as much about entertainment as actual dating for many of its users, so it will be interesting, to say the least, to see what kind of changes the switch to freemium will cause with respect to the app’s pool of users. But take heart: if you’re a world-traveler, the upgrade option might just be the best thing to happen to your smartphone. It features a “passport” option, with which you can change the city and country to those of your choice to get your date on worldwide… before you even get off the plane. And if paying to meet potential love(r)s all over the world seems like a logical fit with your jet-setting lifestyle, then that extra monthly fee will probably be the cheapest part of your dating life.

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