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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Today’s dating app users are willing to pay for more options and control.

Driving the news: Match Group, parent company of apps like Tinder, brought in $1.7 billion in revenue in 2018, with the latter contributing nearly half of it ($805 million) via user subscriptions for premium features. More than 97% of Match Group's revenue comes from subscriptions to its apps.

When it debuted in 2012, Tinder found success among young adults by letting them quickly set up a profile with minimal effort, and chat with nearby users for free.

  • But in 2015 it began rolling out paid subscriptions with premium app features, such as unlimited right swipes, rewinding back, “super likes,” and the ability to switch locations.
  • Today, Tinder has 4.3 million average paying subscribers, responsible for most of the company’s revenue growth.

Unlike early online dating sites, most contemporary apps don’t charge users to send messages to vetted potential dates.

  • Instead, paid features align much more with their users’ more casual dating habits, such as expressing interest in an unlimited number of suggested users or changing their mind about someone they initially rejected.
  • In short, users are happy to pay to have more options of potential dates.
  • More than 60% of Tinder subscribers are paying for the more expensive tier, Gold. Notably, it lets the user see who has expressed interest in them without having to reveal themselves — going against Tinder’s signature double-blind matching model.

These apps tend to generate less revenue per subscriber, but they also spend less to acquire new users and subscribers.

  • Instead they grow via word-of-mouth rather than expensive advertising, says Match Group.

Yes, but: Legacy dating sites like Match.com, which charges users to chat with romantic matches, is still a good business. Rival eHarmony, known for its use of an extensive questionnaire to find compatible matches, had 10 million users and 750,000 subscribers in 2017.

Go deeper: Our special report on the future of dating

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AI and automation are receiving a boost during the coronavirus pandemic that in the short term is creating a new hybrid workforce rather than destroying jobs outright.

The big picture: While the forces of automation and AI will eliminate some jobs and create some new ones, the vast majority will remain but be dramatically changed. The challenge for employers will be ensuring workforces are ready for the effects of technology.