Tinder may be the favorite dating app for young people, but it's still having some business problems. On Wednesday, analysts at Morgan Stanley released a memo forecasting the stock for IAC/InteractiveCorp, Tinder's parent company. The analysts' takeaway? Tinder is going to give IAC issues.
"We view Tinder's unique 'casual dating' use case being primarily aimed at single people from 18-34. While there could be some growth in older demos, we think it will be limited. ... We also believe there are limits to the percentage of single people who will become active Tinder users and repeating 'casual daters.' And in our view, Tinder is reaching those limits in the U.S. and Europe (30%-40%)."
In short, most people who go on Tinder don't stay on Tinder as consistent users, and our bet is that it's not because they all find boyfriends or girlfriends. It's because, after a while, the very thing that draws us to Tinder ends up being the thing that makes us want to leave it.
Endless heap of partners: The whole appeal of Tinder, as presented when it came out swinging against all the other dating sites and apps, is that it's fun and easy. The experience is gamified, with the signature swipe and the prompt to "keep playing" after you match. The utterly random mix of men or women who pop onto your screen, filtered by nothing but location, can be entertaining, as can the bizarre or witty "bios" under the photos. And when it comes to ease, well, there's probably no faster way to literally make contact with a member of the opposite sex.
But the ease, of course, only goes that far. If you're using Tinder to find casual sex, you'll first have to wade through the crew of creeps, not to mention keep your wits about you (these are, after all, total strangers).
If you're trying to use Tinder for dating, which is what the so-called "hookup app" has indeed become, the idea of ease becomes a joke. Being a "repeating casual dater," the kind of user Morgan Stanley presumes Tinder needs to stay afloat, requires a level of commitment, discomfort and idealism that's hard to muster.
More swiping doesn't necessarily get you closer to meeting someone you might like. Once you do match, chatting is sporadic and often terrible. The chatting could lead to an in-person date or fizzle into nothing. The dates that do happen can range from the good to the god-awful.
Tellingly, for the 1 billion swipes made daily on Tinder, only about 12 million people match. As for the number of dates or even casual encounters resulting from those matches? The odds don't look great.
Soul-deadening swipes: The bigger issue, however, is not simply that finding a legitimately good, nice person to date on Tinder is difficult. It's that the process of endlessly swiping right and left requires a level of soulless objectification that saps us of the very abilities we need to date.
"Tinder had bludgeoned my brain, stripping all the fun out of seeking chemical attraction in real life and in real places. I could swipe, laugh, send screencaps of goofy profiles to my friends and not take any of it seriously," writes Dayna Evans on Gawker. "But why would I do that if I was actually interested in meeting a future partner?"
To find an actual partner, it helps to notice details about a person, from the personal to the physical. It's useful to consider what kind of person you might be looking for. It's pretty crucial to actually communicate with them.
Those steps aren't impossible on Tinder. But everything about Tinder, from the monotonous parade of swipe-able partners to the sporadic chatting, discourages them.
"By allowing us to play into our desire for a simple, no-frills path to hookups and dating," notes Evans, "the swipe-right culture makes you start to feel like everyone looks and is the same. Tinder gives us what we think we want, but without the spark or intrigue, or any of the human effort that normally goes into sex and dating."
It's no wonder that Morgan Stanley is doubtful about the potential for Tinder's "repeating 'casual daters.'" There's only so much swiping you can take until you realize you aren't dating at all.
h/t Business Insider