Please have a seat. We need to talk. On Monday, Nov. 2, you rolled out a brand spanking new feature on your dating app, completely out of nowhere: timed matches.
The same day you promptly emailed me, along with however many hundreds of thousands of users you have, an email with the above image. I immediately screenshotted it and texted it as a PSA to all my friends who use the app, because this is BIG news for a bunch of ? single ladies ? like myself who've tried out pretty much every dating app ever at some point. (For research purposes, of course.)
Hinge is arguably the favorite one within my social circle -- as of right now, I have 286 Facebook friends on it -- and I've used it for over a year. I downloaded the app after moving to New York City post-graduation and getting thoroughly weirded out by the Tinder scene here.
First, just to be fair, I'm going to list out all the things I like about Hinge, because there's a decent number of them:
>> I like that I can see the person's full name when I get a match. I can see where they went to school and sometimes even where they work. The lack of anonymity generally means people don't say the kind of sleazy things they feel comfortable saying on Tinder. Before meeting up with someone in person, I can easily Google them to double-check that they're not a serial killer or lying about their identity. I obviously want to feel safe on my dates -- I watch a lot of "Law and Order," guys, better safe than sorry -- and ain't nobody got time for catfishing.
>> I like that you guys make the effort to improve the app's functionality in response to complaints. Hinge wasn't user-friendly at all when I first started swiping on it. It was incredibly buggy and crashed 90% of the time. Now, thanks to a series of software updates over the past few months, there's been noticeable progress. I can scroll through someone's profile without my phone shutting down on me.
>> I like the inclusion of "zombie survivalist" as a tag because it's an easy conversation starter: "How would you survive the zombie apocalypse?" BAM.
>> I like that you recently added the option to delete profile photos and have fewer than the recommended 16 photos. Now people who aren't active on Facebook aren't required to import all their FB pics and populate their profile with photos from their high school junior prom.
>> I like that you also recently added a "open to" section where the user can describe what they're looking for on the app -- dating, a relationship or something more casual. You made this addition in response to Vanity Fair's controversial "Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse'" story, which talked about how dating apps have become a place for hookups and hookups alone. You noticed Tinder wasn't very happy about this label, so you changed your app to make the answer to the pivotal "so what exactly are you doing on a dating app?" question upfront.
Clearly, Hinge is the type of app that values input from its users and incorporates feedback from the ~online dating community~ as a whole. Well, it looks like the users have spoken up about the new 24-hour time limit:
People aren't down with the timed matches. They just aren't. I know you've done your research and extensive testing and yada yada yada to back up your claim that timed matches result in more messages exchanged and more real-life connections. It's a model that other dating apps like Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel and The League have adopted, sure, but that doesn't mean your users are cool with it.
Here's the thing. People are really, really f--king busy. Maybe they're swamped at work. Maybe they're out of town visiting family. Maybe they're stuck in bed with a nasty cold. The point is, there are plenty of reasons why someone wouldn't spend a significant amount of time on a dating app in one 24-hour period.
The result? Tons of matches that expire before either party gets a sec to send off a message. Yes, I realize these people will then go back into each other's queue to potentially match up again in the future, but the whole "second chance" thing is less awesome in practice than in theory. When they scroll through their queue weeks or months later, they'll get a weird sense of déjà vu when they realize they've come across this person's profile before. It happens on Bumble, and it feels like you're swiping through the same people over and over again.
Here's a thought -- how about changing the 24-hour time limit to 72 hours instead? It's a short enough time frame that it weeds out the "I just swiped right on you for validation and have no intention of actually talking to you" matches, but it's long enough that it gives the people who want to chat time to do so without taking away from their already crazy busy lives.
Think about it, OK? It sounds like a pretty solid compromise to me.