Match Group, which operates dating apps such as Tinder and OkCupid, acquired the 7-year-old App Hinge on Thursday after acquiring a majority stake in June 2018.
Hinge has been in position for years as an alternative to Tinder, a way to escape the superficiality and disappointment of leafing through the profiles of the trading cards in an endless carousel. The self-proclaimed "Relationship App", which Hinge aimed at people based on their mutual friends, was supposedly intended to be deleted, and boasted of the company's love as the core value of the business. Targeted decentralization of the gamification center to search apps Advanced matchmaking algorithms promise Match.com or OkCupid.
At the moment, it looks like every important dating app will end up in the same hands in the near future. This is just one of the many industry consolidation stories we'll see in the antediluvian Tim Wu's second-named Gilded Age event, which may be abstractly scary – but more tangible if you think of Facebook as the only company that does could prevent.
What is Hinge and why should Match Group want it?
The dating app industry is extremely lucrative, especially now that app creators have figured out how to monetize all of their individual traits: Match's fourth-quarter 2018 revenue showed that Tinder made 1 last year , Has added 2 million new users The company achieved sales of $ 805 million – more than double the previous year. Overall, the Match Group earned around $ 1.7 billion, a fairly large proportion of a growing pie. Analysts estimate that the global dating app market will reach approximately $ 12 billion a year by 2020.
The dating app empire of the umbrella company InterActiveCorp (IAC) was founded in 1995 with Match.com as a cornerstone. She also runs the study guide and college rating firm Princeton Review and now owns more than 45 dating companies, including 25 acquisitions. Founded in 2009, the company aggressively embarked on acquisitions, including OkCupid in 2011 and then Plenty of Fish in 2015, four months before the IPO, which raised $ 2.9 billion. His crown jewel is Tinder, which was developed by IAC's internal incubator Hatch Labs and launched in 2012.
Hinge, however, almost failed at the start. Founder Justin McLeod said he had completed his first year with just a few thousand users and $ 32,000 in the bank. There was no rapid user growth until 2014, which relied heavily on the marketing that distinguished it as an alternative to Tinder. While Tinder did his best to match users with strangers, Hinge suggested it would be a bit less alienating and confusing if their games were based on shared Facebook friends.
It was a hit by 2015 and McLeod claimed it had agreed 35,500 appointments and 1,500 relationships per week. However, the app was extremely ugly and came under criticism for having turned to an elitist urge to leave the masses of Tinder and move on to more insularity. It did not seem to be something the company wanted to hide. A Hinge spokesman said to Doxan Matthews of Vox: "Hinge users are 99 percent college-educated, and the most popular industries include banking, consulting, media and fashion. We recently found 35,000 users in Ivy League schools. "
And although the number of users grew, McLeod told Vanity Fair that user satisfaction was steadily declining. The company polled its users in late 2015 and found that 54 percent of users "feel lonely" after wiping and 81 percent never had a long-term relationship. Hinge released his findings with a squeezing push and called it "The Dating Apocalypse." The app has been extensively redesigned and restarted in October 2016 with a $ 7 monthly fee for eliminating the discomfort. The new profiles included both photos and "icebreakers" – a series of personal questions from which users could select three to answer and display in their profile. Most importantly, they were arranged in a vertical scroll bar.
"We stole to the left while wiping," the company said. "Instead of … matching up, people are using the rich stories in your profile for more human talk. It's like Instagram profiles for dating. "And then," $ 7 is less than your monthly Netflix or Spotify subscription and far from the cost of eHarmony ($ 60 / month) or Match.com ($ 42 / month). But it's enough to make sure everyone is on the same page, not just using Hinge for entertainment.
But within a month, it offered some users lifetime free memberships, and by 2017, the free tier was back for everyone. The main differences between the free version and the premium version today are the filter options. The free app allows users to filter by gender, location, age, size, ethnicity, and religion. Hinge Preferred – still $ 7 a month – adds extra filters for politics, drinking, smoking, drug use, whether someone has children and whether he wants children. It also offers unlimited preferences and access to "Hinge Experts" to customize your profile.
While Tinder claims that it's the top dating app and the second-highest overall app in the app store, Hinge's website points out that it's the "mobile first" dating app , which is most commonly mentioned in the New York Times wedding part. (Not much for elitism, but it's catchy.) Not only does Hinge differ from Tinder – it gathers better data. It's a more robust app and knows more about its users. This allows them to put deal breakers on certain filters to emphasize how serious they are about never dating someone of a different religion or size.
It uses a so-called "machine learning algorithm" to select one person per day as your most compatible, and the conversation is routed through Your Turn using an "anti-ghosting" feature. In October 2018, Hinge mainly launched "We Met", which asks users to provide feedback on the actual data they used to be. This information is said to be used to improve the matchmaking algorithm, and Hinge's website states, "What we learn from" We Met "is only used to improve the algorithm and ensure that the Hinge community safe and respectful. "
However, vast amounts of data about the people who took the middle ground between Tinder's reckless play and Match.com's reputable business are of great value to Match and could potentially be used to steer product decisions across the portfolio ,
Bumble is the one who escaped, and the Match Group's last remaining main competitor … to Facebook Dating
Mandy Ginsberg, Match's CEO, explained Hinge's acquisition by Match Relations. "
An interesting and a bit spotty choice of words that Match Group failed to acquire Bumble – the first wiping app for women led by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014, at the time as a herd a sexual harassment triggered lawsuit with her former employer.
The Match Group sued Bumble in March 2018 for stealing their intellectual property – d. H. The wipe function of Tinder. Ten days later, Bumble filed its own patent infringement lawsuit. The Match Group said it would be interested in taking over the company in the summer of 2017 just to gain access to privileged information and steal business secrets, as well as "[chill]. The market for an investment in Bumble. "Bumble also bought an entire page from The New York Times and named Match Group a" Bully. " He added: "We will cut your multiple attempts to buy, copy us and now to intimidate us. "
Bumble later dropped his counterclaim, but he did not improve relations between the two companies. Match accused Bumble of having developed the entire drama. "[a] is the reason to promote the fact that Bumble is going public on the New York Stock Exchange." Bumble told The Verge that it still believed that Match had tried to affect the business, the purchase was so desperate. "This is not the dirtiest tech start-up game in the last 10 years, but it should not be overlooked.
The consolidation of the power of the Match Group and the claim to restrict competition should not be, even if it is unlikely to affect the Federal Trade Commission.
"For dating startups, resisting IAC is futile," wrote Wired's Issie Lapowsky in 2014 on the acquisition of HowAboutWe, headquartered in New York, which had attempted to sell to Match Group through a deal Diversify its sales to avoid an editorial arm. Two months later, after all, the company had been sold to Match. In a 2018 interview with Reca's Kara Swisher, Ginsberg, Match CEO, pointed out that their company also owns OurTime, the most popular dating app specifically for people over 50 years old. and BlackPeopleMeet, the most popular dating app for black people; and recently launched the BLK "for young, millennial African Americans" and Chispa, "a great partnership with Univision to attract the Latino community."
It claims that the Match Group is expanding its portfolio around the world at any time, filling gaps in acquisitions, and in the meantime, "Any person who is 18, 19, 20 years old should be with Tinder … We really want to be integrated into the individual social life of people, especially when they are young. "
The dating app industry does not seem to be as urgent as consolidation in industries such as social media, online commerce or pharmacy. If the FTC is busy using the nerves and resources for Facebook, that's definitely more important. Ironically, Facebook has recently started testing its own dating app – no doubt the only new project that could jeopardize the dominance of Match. With over 2 billion active users, Facebook already has the largest map of social networks in human history. We are moving towards an increasingly monopolized future in which the only challenges arise from other existing monopolies.