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News Article

Dating Apps Reinvent Themselves Amid Pandemic

By MBN Staff | Mon, 07/27/2020 - 13:58

As mobility restrictions and lockdowns begin to rise around the world, dating becomes face-to-face again, and with them new ways to face the new normality without leaving their love life aside.

In June, Tinder launched one-on-one video chats function in an attempt to bring closer its users in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to The Verge, this new function is a great step for the company but it also implies great challenges as video calls can lead to abuse. But according to the specialized news site, Tinder could be building its own offensive image detection system or looking for a third party to provide one.

The app will also start verifying profile photos using a human-assisted artificial intelligence feature that checks if users are really who they say they are. Verification is based on a six-step process in which the user has to take a selfie.

Still, there are still limitations to video dating. To overcome this situation, Bumble launched an "epidemiological guide" to have dates according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations regarding safe distance and null contact, insisting on preferably canceling face-to-face appointments. Since last summer, the company offers the option of video calls within the application. On Grindr, a gay dating app, some users add the caption "positive antibodies" on their profile pages to ease the concerns of their potential hookup.

In a Meet Group survey of more than 2,500 people in the United States, 81 percent of respondents said they would meet someone the day after they met them on the app, while 71 percent wanted their date to wear a mask.

Juicy Business

In the 1Q20, Match Group, which owns Tinder, reported that its total revenue increased 17 percent to US$544.6 million. However, it fell short of analyst estimates of US$544.9 million. According to the report, fewer users signed up for the app and paid for the premium version. A few weeks ago, the company said that in Europe, particularly in Italy and Spain, fewer and fewer subscribers are registering. In Mexico, the most used applications to find a partner are Tinder, Bumble and Badoo. Tinder has a 47 percent market share in the country, while Bumble has 18.6 percent, followed by Badoo with 10.9 percent.

In 1Q20, Tinder added about 100,000 average subscribers, the lowest number in at least a year. In total, it has 6 million registered users. Going deeper into the numbers, in April, women under the age of 30 increased their daily average swipes by 37 percent, compared to the last week of February. Also, the average number of daily messages in the same month was 27 percent higher.

Meanwhile, in the 2Q20 Bumble reached 100 million users. Now Bumble and Badoo together have a base of 600 million users. And Bumble’s CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd sees in the pandemic an opportunity that users can take advantage of. “More genuine connections are forming out of this, and people are really, you know, being secure in who they are meeting before that eventual physical meet-up ever begins,” she said in an interview with CNN.

It is no surprise that investors are taking notice of this booming market that, according to Nomura Instinet, could be worth US$12 billion by the end of 2020.

In early April, Tinder CEO Shar Dubey announced the decision to allow its users to swipe and connect with people from all over the world (a function that was exclusive to Tinder Plus), adding that he was looking for “technology to allow people to share, learn and listen to all those who were going through such a peculiar situation around the world.”

MBN Staff MBN Staff MBN staff