Dating has always been a tricky thing. Does she like me? Does he think I’m cute? Should I ask for a phone number? Is there a real person behind this persona? Well, there’s one iPhone app that claims to streamline all of that, making new connections easy, effective and fun. And apparently, it’s got a huge following among college-age users.
Tinder is sort of like “Hot or Not,” but with a geo-location feature that populates lists based on proximity, age and interests. So you can rank people who are actually near you, and if you like someone’s looks and they like yours too, the app plays matchmaker and offers to introduce you. You can add the person to your Facebook account or, if you prefer a low pressure connection, you can stay within the app to chat. But the best part is that bruised egos aren’t part of the package. If you don’t like someone, that guy or gal never knows about it, and vice versa. (This may also help with the creep factor, no?)
Granted, Tinder doesn’t have a robust feature set, incredibly detailed background or profile fields, cloud syncing for use on every gadget you will ever own, or ties to every social platform you’re on (just Facebook for authentication, but no wall posts). But maybe that’s why “normal” (read: non-geek) users are all over this thing. It’s simple and even entertaining. In fact, it feels like playing a game, which somehow takes the desperation element off the table. Chances are, that’s precisely what was intended here, something unlike parent company IAC’s other properties, Match and OKCupid. Tinder wanted to deliver an app for younger people who want dating to be fun.
It’s not clear how the company is making money on this free app yet, since the founders aren’t too hot on ads. That pretty much leaves in-app purchases as the way forward, and the groundwork for that is looking very good. Earlier this month, TechCrunch reported that Tinder was available only to a few college campuses, but even with a limited rollout, it’s still seeing huge numbers. In just a couple of months, more than 35 million profiles have been rated on the app, and it has made more than one million matches.
Have you tried it? If not, but you’re interested in taking it for a whirl, hit this to go to the App Store and download it. If you use another dating app, or shun them altogether, let us know why in the comments.