The Days Of Using Dating Apps For Free Are Long Gone

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Dec 21, 2023 - 02:20 AM

The good ole' days of using dating apps for free appear to be long gone.

Now, such apps are "borderline unusable" without paying up for features, according to a new report by CNBC, which says that users are paying hundreds of dollars a month to use to services. 

“When you’re serious about looking for a relationship, you’re going to put your money where your mouth is,” 38 year old Channing Muller told CNBC. She had signed up for paid versions of sites like Hinge and The League. 

Nikita Sherbina, a software company owner in Phoenix, told CNBC she was spending about $250 monthly on Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder for two years, often cutting back on other expenses like groceries.

A Pew Research Center study indicates that 35% of Americans who have used dating websites or apps have at some point paid for these services, the report says. Morgan Stanley research earlier this year showed that the average subscriber spends about $19 monthly on dating apps.

Some of the prices for apps like The League can run far higher. CNBC wrote that The League offers a VIP membership priced at $999 per week or $2,499 monthly. This premium option gives members the ability to connect with potential matches in various cities, access new profiles before others, and use a specialized concierge service designed to enhance their dating success.

In September, Tinder introduced a high-tier subscription at $499 per month for its most active users, while Hinge has also launched a membership plan costing $600 a month, the report noted. 

Blaine Anderson, a men’s dating coach in Austin, Texas, told CNBC: “The days of venture capital-subsidized swiping are over. [Companies] want to monetize the services they provide to eager singles.”

“There’s a group of users who are eager to use our premium features,” added  AJ Balance, Grindr chief product officer. 

However, the apps have seen some slowdown in usage. “The apps are pulling from the same dating pool, and so [users] are seeing the same people, matching with the same people and not finding anyone new,” Kathryn Coduto, an assistant professor at Boston University who studies internet behavior told CNBC. “This leads to a feeling of frustration and the question of like, ‘What’s the point?’”

She noted that the idea of paying for love isn't that 'new', either. “People have paid for things like personal ads, speed-dating experiences, dating and relationship coaches and matchmakers,” she said. 

That means their revenue can take a hit, just like other companies, as the economy slows. Match Group during a recent earnings call, for example, acknowledged economic challenges like student loan payments and credit card delinquencies as potential threats to its revenue.