Tinder expands offering of invite-only $499 monthly membership

CNN — 

Tinder is now offering users a highly exclusive $499 monthly subscription option, but only if they receive a coveted invitation and get through the application process.

Tinder SELECT offers users perks beyond those granted to the average swiper. Paying nearly $6,000 a year gives users the chance to see and be seen by the app’s “most sought after profiles,” to direct message other profiles without first matching, enjoy early access to new features, turn off advertisements and sport a badge on their page announcing their SELECT status.

Since the initial batch of invitations went out in September, Tinder has been steadily inviting additional users to apply as part of a gradual expansion, but the option remains highly exclusive.

According to the company, less than 1% of the app’s users get a spot.

But getting the invite and being willing to hand over nearly $500 is not enough to unlock the new tier. Those online daters who want to join need to first apply, as well as meet a strict set of criteria including having a profile full of listed interests, a minimum of four pictures and bio of 15 characters displayed and a stated goal for what they want out of a relationship.

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One in five adults in committed relationships say they met their partner through online dating, and around one third of online daters say they have paid for an app, according to a February report from Pew Research Center.

Tinder, launched in 2012, is the most used dating app in the US, with 79% of online daters under 30 having used Tinder.

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Experts say paid subscriptions are a good way to find other serious daters amid the seemingly infinite number of profiles versus those on apps just for fun. They also say that free online dating is a relatively new idea to which users quickly grew accustomed.

Tinder led a major shift and “trained people to expect online dating to be free,” said online dating coach and author Damona Hoffman, pointing out that traditional matchmakers cost much more.

She said some pushback against paying for online dating subscriptions “comes from the fact that most daters have unrealistic expectations” of what they will gain from a free dating app.

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“There should be some way to separate the serious, engaged users from the people that are there for entertainment so that I think is worth paying for,” Hoffman said. “You’re not going to pay $500 for a hookup.”

Tinder’s new pricey option joins several other paid membership levels offered by the dating app, including Plus, Gold and Platinum, with prices ranging from $4.99 to $11.99 monthly. But users don’t have to choose, as SELECT can be added on top of any existing subscriptions to maximize perks.

All of the extra tiers on dating apps unlock features promising more matches, better conversations and increased odds of meeting a partner, hidden behind lingo like “Super Likes” and “Skip the line.”

And while some level of paid subscription might be positive, Hoffman says the lower tiered options could do the trick. Other experts say the free version is sufficient, but could take more time and dedication.

“The freemium version of Tinder is also good for somebody who’s looking for a serious relationship,” who cannot afford the subscriptions and has the time to search for a match, said online dating expert Julie Spira. “If you have the budget, and if you just don’t have the time to do it on your own and you want to see other people that are also at that level, then go ahead and sign up for the premium version of Tinder.”

Tinder’s move toward paid subscriptions is part of a growing trend in the dating app industry.

Parent company Match Group has added expensive paid tiers to their other apps, including a $999 weekly VIP option on The League, an app advertised to career-focused daters, and a $50 monthly option on Hinge. Raya, a referral-only dating app known to have many celebrity users, also has a $50 monthly option.

SELECT comes as Match Group has struggled to meet https://kerasnya.com expectations. While it did boost revenue 9% in the third quarter (during which SELECT was released), the company has since fallen short of its fourth-quarter forecasts, according to Reuters.

Match said in October it expected total revenue for the end of the quarter below $865 million. Analysts expected over $890 million.

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