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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 45 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.