A Deep Dive Into Online Dating | #tinder | #pof


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In this week’s Industry Focus: Wild Card, Nick Sciple talks with Dan McMurtrie and Alex Draime of Tyro Partners about the bull case paper they recently wrote on online dating. Some topics discussed:

  • How online dating has affected dating style, marriage and divorce rates, cohabitation, and more.
  • How gender dynamics affect online dating, and how different apps work around that.
  • Why Match is so dominant in the industry.
  • Where Facebook‘s dating offering fits into the competitive landscape.
  • How online dating companies are monetizing their offerings, and how they might expand those ad offerings farther.
  • How matchmaker companies compete with online dating.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool’s free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Jan. 22 , 2020.

Nick Sciple: It’s Wildcard Wednesday, and I’m your host, Nick Sciple. For today’s episode, we’ll be diving into online dating with our guests Dan McMurtrie and Alex Draime of Tyro Partners, who recently authored a paper on their thesis for the online dating market. We cover everything from how online dating is affecting how people meet, how people jump between different online dating apps, and how much runway Match Group has left for monetization. I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation.

Alex Draime and Dan McMurtrie are co-founders at Tryo Partners, a New York City-based hedge fund focused on secular trends driving technology, healthcare, industrial, and consumer markets. They focus on deep dive research. They recently published a paper on their online dating market thesis. It’s gotten a lot of attention in the industry. Alex and Dan, so excited to have you on Industry Focus.

Dan McMurtrie: Thanks, guys! Really excited to be here. I’m a big fan of the show.

Alex Draime: Yeah, we appreciate you taking the time.

Sciple: Yeah, thanks so much. First off the bat, what got y’all interested in researching this space and doing this deep dive online dating?

McMurtrie: Well, we’re 28 and 29. As we lay out in the paper, in that age cohort, there’s not a lot of options other than online dating. I think in real life, it’s been a constant phenomenon. We’ve come of age in the period where that’s become dominant. We’ve seen it go from a niche to a dominant thing. That’s been really interesting to watch. And as we looked at how it was affecting other parts of the market and other companies, and how they were intersecting, we realized, this is actually a really important thing, not just a one-off. It’s been viewed as a widget and not a primary driver. We think it is a primary driver, not a widget.

Sciple: Yeah, absolutely. I’d say from my own experience, and I’m 27 years old. When Tinder first hit in college, it came out of nowhere. Now it’s this phenomenon that’s continued over the past decade. You make some observations in the paper about how the rise of online dating has affected gender dynamics between men and women. Can you dive into that observation and how that’s driving interactions between people?

McMurtrie: Sure. Everything about online dating is about cohort matching. When you make a broad statement about everyone, it tends to be wrong. And one of the reasons why we published the paper was, we saw a lot of people in the press writing opinions that made a lot of sense in a specific cohort, particularly in a New York, San Francisco, talk to your school alumni context, but it was not accurate to the broad population. What generally happens is, we think about this as creating liquidity and transparency in the market. And usually, when there is transparency, consumer behavior starts to change. Because it’s dating, I think people don’t like thinking about this as a rational process, because it’s very psychologically jarring. But what we’re seeing is a few big things.

One, the primary driver is, everyone now has access to multiple orders of magnitude larger pool of potential dates. That’s the first thing you need to understand. You’re going from your dating pool — the people you know at work, the people you know at the bar, things like that, church, whatever, depending where you live — to where you have access to literally millions of people and everyone within 50 miles. And that means both genders, whatever gender you want to be, you have the ability to be a lot more selective because the opportunity cost is dropping massively, because when you’re looking for a first date, you can choose among unlimited options instead of five people you know, maybe two or three people that you think you’re interested in, in real life. That’s really changing a lot of dynamics. And then, once you’re on a date, you go on your first few dates, and you date knowing that in two minutes, you can have a potential date or a date, if not less than that. So, again, opportunity costs and sunk cost biases and things like that are changing. And so, people are not staying in relationships as long, because if something isn’t really hooking you, or if there’s a problem, you can just bail, and you’ve got another option. So that’s causing a lot more turnover.

Because that is the case, opportunity cost is down, selection’s way up, younger marriages are collapsing. People are not getting married very young, because why would you at 18 to 25, when you’ve got everything in front of you, and you can go on a date with whoever you want? And that’s been a big change over the last 60 years, is people going from marrying their first sweetheart to marrying in their 20th relationship or something like that. So, that’s also leading to a lot of, basically, market participants now have more information when they do decide to get married and form a long-term commitment of some kind. And it’s 5, 10, 20 times as much information as last generation. And that’s actually, we think, why you’re seeing divorce rates decline, which is really interesting.

And then, adding on to that, the other dynamic is that, on average, for men and women, it’s a very different dynamic. Women are getting a minimum of 5 times the inbounds that men are. And in many cases, 25 or 50 times. That creates a few things there. One, for women generally on the platform, if they’re interested in someone, they have upwards of 50% probability of matching. So, they can be even more selective, because for a man, you have a 5% or 10% probability, if that. So that incentivizes men to be less selective and swipe more, which ironically reduces the signal for women. For women, they can be a lot choosier, because they know that if they say yes on three different guys, they’re probably going to get at least one. That creates an interesting dynamic. And also, the queue size gets huge. If you think about an inbound on one of the profiles, that then queues up as potentially yes/no, or once there’s a match, a message, on the female side, they have so many people in queue either on requested likes or on messages that when the male sends a message, if he sends it at the wrong time of day, it could be five pages back in their inbox, and they’re never going to see it. There’s dynamics like that around time of day friction that are very, very important, and are the largest hackable item on these dating sites.

The other thing is that the whole thing has become visualized, the Instagram-ification of dating. So, now you’re seeing big changes in consumer spending, because everyone needs to look better on camera than they did in the past. The gating item for you to get in person and be able to maybe show off a sense of humor whatever is, you have to look good in a photo. So, the first gating item is going to be photo quality, particularly on Tinder. That’s changing a lot of different consumer behaviors.

The other thing is, because opportunity costs are low, the stakes for early dates, if you want to be successful, are much higher. You have to have really good date ideas. When I talk to the guys for trying to date, they’re like, “What do I do? Where do I take a girl?” You have to really make sure that if you go on a date with somebody, they have a lot of fun. You can’t just be another cocktail at a nondescript bar that nobody cares about. It’s just not going to work because you’re offering a purely commoditized product at that point. So, it’s changing a lot of different consumer behaviors. It’s changing household formation. And it’s changing general socialization, because the other thing we saw and we talk about in the paper is, people are no longer making referrals, which used to be the dominant way in which people would meet people — your family or friends would introduce you to somebody and set you up. And because there’s an unlimited number of other options, it doesn’t make sense to do that anymore, because if the referral fails, then it can blow up the friend group and create really awkward situations. And anybody who’s been to an office Christmas party has probably seen that go down. We can go on on that, but it gets very complicated. But it’s changing pretty much everything, if you go through that. There’s not much that it’s not touching. That was why we were like, “Wow, this is a much bigger deal than just another app.”

Sciple: Sure, exactly. It’s fundamentals of human behavior, how relationships start and end. To your point when you speak about referrals, I saw that early on, on Tinder. They used to show you who were your common friends. And you were disinclined to swipe on those people because of the social dynamics that could happen. Anecdotally, I was talking to my fiancee ahead of this interview. And those same observations you made about folks being more nit-picky around who they date because of that new supply of folks that they can get after much more quickly, make folks much quicker to ditch a date that maybe does one thing wrong, or checks off a box on the no-go list, or the deal-breakers.

Draime: You’re accumulating a database of things that don’t work for you. It’s actually good, because a lot of people I know — and I would say maybe even my parents and other people I know — they got married, they really liked each other, and there was some chemistry, but they were never compatible as people. And they didn’t date long enough, and they didn’t do the reps and the checks to really vet that out.

So one of the other things we’re seeing that’s really interesting is cohabitation, couples moving in together, is up. I think a big part of that is because people, due to wealth and income, are not buying houses as early. So, people are renting longer, which means you can sign a six-month, 12-month, 18-month lease to somebody and try it out. Can we actually get along in person? But the conversion rate from cohabitation to marriage is dropping very quickly. That means more people are actually doing that check of, “We may love each other, but can we actually live together? Are we going to kill each other?” I think that’s really important. I think that’s a big driver of why divorce rate is dropping, is the percentage of people who are getting married now who have actually attempted to have lives together prior to getting married is much, much higher.

As somebody from a Catholic family, there are people that disagree with that. But I think in terms of the probability that you will be happy, it’s probably ideal. And as an Irish Catholic, I’m a big believer in confession. So I think that’s a better way to go. So it’s changing housing, it’s changing demand for rental properties, in addition to all the consumer stuff. Again, all over the board.

Sciple: Sure. One of the interesting charts in your paper shows how online dating as a share of how new couples meet has rocketed up. It’s almost straight and to the right if you go back to the start of the internet, maybe a little blip before the smartphone came on board. But an interesting observation from that data, as you mentioned, downtrends in referred couples. But also, you see this suspicious upswing in folks reporting meeting through co-workers. You call out in the paper, these are probably folks lying about how they meet, that they’re actually meeting online. That suggests to me that there’s still some level of shame or disapproval around online dating. Do you still think that’s present in the market today?

McMurtrie: It’s funny. In the paper, I think it was Stanford Family Study Center that put those charts out. We really love their stuff. They actually went back to the people that said they met in bars and they were like, “All right, look, dude, did you really meet in a bar?” And they were like, “Well, we were connected on Tinder, but the first time we met was in a bar.” They claimed some technicality.

I don’t think there’s a stigma anymore in 80% or 90% of the population under, let’s say, 40. But there still is a stigma in going to Grandma and saying “we met on the telephone” or something. That sounds weird to older generations. I think there’s still a stigma in going to your parents and grandparents — especially, I’m from Virginia; Alex is from Ohio. We now live in New York. Very different cultures between those two places. And it’s going to be a little different. I’m not going to necessarily go back to my grandparents in Virginia and say, “I met this person on a website,” because they’re going to go, “What are you talking about?” But in New York, I’d be very candid about that. I think ironically, both Alex and I met the people we’re dating through referrals, which is the lowest-probability way of doing it now. So we don’t have to tell that lie. And there’s circumstances that I’ve definitely personally told that lie. “Yeah, we met at the bar.” And my dad looks at me like “Bull[bleep] you met at the bar.”

Sciple: [laughs] A follow-up question I have there. As you see these differences in attitudes among generations, even for us being in our late 20s, remember dating before Tinder and these apps existed — are you seeing among the Gen Z folks, the folks who haven’t known a world where online dating didn’t exist, that attitudes are more different among that group than, say, among our generation, the millennials?

Draime: Definitely. What’s interesting is, now you’re actually seeing an increasing number of people who are 50-plus meeting online, because as you get to a certain age, the available dating pool is much more limited, because a lot of people are married or what have you. I’ve never been 60 and single. Hopefully I never will be. But if you’re 60 and single right now, how do you meet somebody? So now, there’s several specific dating platforms for people who are 50-plus. There are matchmaking businesses. You’re seeing, actually, attitudes change because the general opinion of maybe the 50- to 70-year-old cohort may be a certain thing, but the attitude of the 50- to 70-year-old cohort that’s single is probably going to be different.

Sciple: Sure. As we’re talking about cohorts, you mentioned earlier, the Instagram-ification of online dating. A lot of focus around people’s appearance. When you look at Instagram itself and social media platforms, you see a big habit of folks having platforms across multiple social media sites. People, as they age, migrating from Facebook to Instagram, other platforms. As you look at usage patterns in the online dating space, how are you seeing cohorts migrate among the platforms, having profiles on multiple platforms? How is that playing out?

McMurtrie: Something interesting has happened in the last year or two, I think. For a while, it seemed like all the platforms were the same. They were all swipe left/right, basically off of how well Tinder was doing with mobile phone proliferation. But now, you’re seeing slightly different value propositions emerge. What we think is happening is basically, Match and Bumble and the other platforms are trying to basically say, “We’re going to have a number of different UI functions,” that the individual apps are different UI configurations, and based on biases of the consumer coming into the market, they may have a preference form factor A versus form factor B.

Bumble and Hinge have now decided that they’re going to try to be a little bit upscale, a little bit more… not sure what the word is, but they’re trying to be a little higher quality of a brand, slow things down a bit. Both of them have functions after the match that delays the ability to speak. In Bumble, the woman has to message first, and they have 24 hours to do that, but the man can pay to extend. So, very clever monetization strategy they’ve done. The women are aware that the man can extend the match, and so a lot of women will only talk to guys who extend the match, because it’s a double indication of interest that they’re really serious. That’s unique on Bumble, because on most of the platforms, the paying users are the worst-performing users. Historically, that’s been the case. On Bumble, they’ve figured out a way to make, specifically for the male cohort, paying a table stakes item.

Tinder has tried to use Tinder Gold and other things like that to incentivize people to pay and make it less about the pitch that it’s going to increase your odds. They’re offering more selection; they’re reducing access to the pool. Because generally, the pitch is, “If you do this, you get unlimited swipes,” which just means that your hit rate is very low, and you think that if you can get 50 times access to the pool, that if your hit rate’s 2%, then you might be able to get one match on 50 swipes.

Hinge is structured very differently, where it has a cards on pictures and funny questions and prompts. And the person, when they like the person, it’s strongly suggested that you engage and comment on a specific item. So they’ve gamified it a little bit; they’ve slowed it down. Slowing down the app process is smart, because people don’t turn the inventory as fast.

And so you’re starting to see a bunch of different offerings there. The original firm that tried to slow it down was eHarmony. eHarmony basically would filter applicants. You’d apply, and they would filter applicants for how desperate you were. And then they would only show you three or four people a month, so you’d take those very seriously, because they know you’re already predisposed to making a purchase, in economic terms. And then they’d give you a lot of information. You’re trying to go back and forth. The gamification of slowing it down is one angle.

The really fast dopamine hit. Tinder is largely used as a form of entertainment, not as an actual dating vehicle. People are spending 45 minutes a day on it, and more in certain cases, just because it’s fun. When we think about different businesses, one of the things we like about the dating business is, I think what we would call the dating business is a neurological inevitability. It’s not something people like; it’s something people are biologically hardwired to need. There’s very few businesses that are that way. I think cigarettes are another one. That’s about it. Cigarettes, Coca-Cola. These are addiction-like neurological processes.

And what we found with Tinder is, we found all these platforms very interesting, if you go back on an evolutionary basis, over the arc of human history, if you’re a male and a female is interested, the probability that you can convert that into a relationship or something is pretty high. Just over the cumulative history of humanity and monkeys. So the logical dopamine feedback loop there is that when you get that indication of interest, you get a very positive feedback loop neurological response. And that is what Tinder is gaming, because just the indication of interest is a massively positive feeling. But actually going on the date and getting to know somebody and all that? That’s very stressful. And so people are basically optimizing for that dopamine hit, not for going on dates. And that is Tinder’s core business. The other businesses are trying to say, “When you get tired of that, you can come to this,” and this is a dating thing. But, Tinder is taking advantage of an instinctual feedback loop.

And the other platforms now are increasingly trying to say, “OK, if you really want to meet somebody…”. So there’s a lot of ads all over New York City subways right now for Hinge, and the line on the ad is “designed to be deleted.” So the idea for Match is, they’re going to have all these platforms, and when you rage quit one and go, “I hate this,” you’re going to sign up for another Match property. It’s a brilliant strategy.

Sciple: As we’re talking about Match and talking about the strategies these companies use to give you that dopamine hit and keep you on the platform, let’s talk about Match, talk about monetization. As you look at Tinder encouraging you to keep swiping, spend a lot of time on the app, those other ones are much slower paced, how does that affect the monetization runway of these apps? Any thoughts there?

Draime: We think there’s huge runway for monetization for Match in particular. And right now, they’re monetizing at like a $0.60 per day ARPU. That’s been growing pretty steadily for the last couple years. But with Tinder Gold and Tinder Plus and all the different add-on purchases that you can do inside the apps, there’s room to expand that feature set. We think that’s going to continue to grow. But we also see things that extend the reach of these apps beyond your smartphone. For example, I think it was last October, Hinge announced a partnership with Open Table, where through the Hinge app, when you have a date you can go into the Open Table section of the app and find a place to go. We think there’s opportunities for extensions like that, where you can partner with restaurants, bars, whatever, to actually get people to pick that specific spot for the day.

McMurtrie: And I think at a high level, what’s interesting about when you think about what is the monetization capacity of these businesses, there’s advertising and partnerships, and there’s premium subscriptions. Those are the visible vectors. But I think the way to think about it is, the tangential markets to dating, and the products and services being sold, are generally absurdly high-margin products. We’re talking about cosmetics. We’re talking about liquor. We’re talking about tickets, things like that. So they now have a marketplace which controls the prime consumer in the 18- to 35-year-old category, that structurally has to spend money on that stuff to survive in the evolutionary process. And they control it.

So the question is, over time, can they monetize by taking cuts in those adjacent verticals? Because people are already going to be buying those products so that they can compete on the apps. Before, they would buy those products so that they could compete at the bar, at the club, at the event, they’d look good, feel good; they’d have ways to attract a date. But now it’s all one place.

I think the bull case for Match is a much better version, in my opinion, of the bull case for Grubhub. They actually control all of the demand. So the question is, why would they not be able to monetize at a very high rate with cosmetic advertisements? Why would they not be able to monetize at a very high rate with ticket sales? Why would they not be able to monetize at a very high rate with restaurants? And restaurants are a terrible business. But the point about restaurants is, a customer who comes in and buys three to six drinks is an infinity margin compared to a customer that buys a meal. You’re selling them vodkas, sodas, and beers that are massively high-margin products. So a restaurant can actually afford to pay a deceptively high amount if it can be validated with data that the customers being placed there are there to drink.

Draime: Yeah, it’s just a question of, can these apps actually drive that? If that’s the case, then we believe there’s significant monetization potential.

McMurtrie: The beautiful thing about Match, is they have so many platforms — this is really any tech business, but what’s really cool about Match is, they can do really interesting testing of any of these ideas. They don’t have to change the whole platform. They can go in and they can tweak and they can pilot something just in New York. They can pilot it just in New York under 35. They can do cohort testing and very controlled testing, where they’re not risking the platform in any way. They’re not going to change the overall platform in a way that can impair it. But, they can go in and test these things, get the verification data they need, and then go out to the monetization channel and say, “Look, we’ve proved this works.” And they can make the best pitch ever. “I’m going to make you $5 and take $1.” That’s such a better pitch than most ad sales. That’s what every ad sale is trying to be, but this actually has a very good case for it. That’s the vector where we see monetization.

Sciple: Sure. I guess they can truly link that demand, aggregate that demand and really link it to where these people end up going on dates and capture some share of that value. Obviously, Tinder, when you look at Match Group, is dominating the story. It’s been driving a lot of the growth in revenue. When you look outside of Tinder at those sub-platforms they have — OkCupid is one — which one of those are you most excited about the prospects for?

McMurtrie: Definitely Hinge. I think that you’ve got a few things. Tinder does well because it’s a very gamified thing. It’s very low psychological commitment. It’s kind of a meme. It’s funny. So in new markets, particularly when they went to Europe and Asia and other places, it’s very easy to get people to go on because it’s this fun, fun thing. A lot of people go on Tinder specifically in a very unserious way. But once online dating as a cultural phenomenon gets normalized in a market, then you start to see stratification of interest in terms of people actually wanting to date, people wanting to swipe, whatever.

So Bumble, I think, is in an interesting position where they’re straddling a few cohorts there. And that’s, I think, very clever. They’ve really outperformed what I thought they would do, because I felt initially that they had put frictions in their UI that made it really unpleasant to use. And I think for a lot of people, it’s their least favorite app. I think for a lot of women, it’s their favorite. That’s an interesting thing. But they’ve just crushed it.

But Hinge is the one within the Match universe that I’m the most excited about, because I think if you rebuild online dating today, in a world where it is normalized, you’d build Hinge. And Hinge is where they’re doing the most product testing. Hinge is where they’re doing the Open Table testing. Hinge is, I think, the souped-up, complicated, custom hot rod they’ve got. Tinder is a very simple product. Hinge has a lot more inputs, a lot more data. They can see what type of things people care about. They can see how people try to approach other people. They can see hit rates across different entry vectors. So that’s the most fascinating one to me by a lot.

Sciple: Sure. You call out in your paper, take a shot at Facebook’s dating profile, when you look at the fall and referral of friends among the share in how people meet. When you look at Facebook’s dating offering, do you view that as not a significant threat to Match? If so, why?

McMurtrie: Yeah, and I would note, they called me and wanted to check me on that. Which, I appreciate it. [laughs] We talked through it. And their case is kind of like, they don’t need to make any money on dating, because if this adds a network effect of Facebook, they can monetize across the whole platform. S, they don’t need to do some of the gamification that leads to user dissatisfaction, because they don’t need to ever make money on it.

And that’s an interesting case. But I think younger people do not trust Facebook. And I don’t think younger people want their dating to be done through Facebook. But I do think people who are, call it 35-plus, particularly people who are 40-plus, are extremely willing to date through Facebook. So I think they probably have the best positioning right now in how you capture that older segment. When I talk to people who’ve used Facebook dating, I think the average age has been like 45 or 50. I think Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are dominating 35 and under, and I think Facebook has a really interesting niche in 40-plus. That’s a decently sized market. It’s not nearly as big as the youth market. But they could have a little something there. I don’t think it’s going to necessarily fail. But I don’t think it’s going to compete in any serious way with the other platforms.

Draime: Yeah. If you look at the growth metrics under the hood at Match, the launch of Facebook dating really didn’t have any impact on those growth trends.

McMurtrie: Yeah. There’s just such a strong network effect in social normalization. And they’ve made it Facebook dating instead of Instagram dating, which is interesting. I do think if they went through the Instagram vector, and they made an Instagram-specific dating product, that would be something we’d have to think about a lot more, because that’s got an iron grip on the younger population. But Instagram thrives because of simplicity; I don’t think they want to mess with their cash cow there. I think tinkering with Instagram is a mistake, and I think they know that. But if they did decide to launch Instagram dating, that would be a lot more threatening, I think.

Sciple: OK. Outside of Facebook and Match, is there any independently or companies aren’t public today that you follow and are really excited about paying attention to going forward in this space?

McMurtrie: There are some matchmaking businesses. They’re never going to have that type of scale, but I think they’re great businesses, particularly the older cohort. There’s a market for 50-plus people with some wealth that are willing to pay $10,000-$40,000 for a matchmaking service that is able to find them a partner, because they’re lonely and they already spent a lot of money on a lot of stuff but they can’t find a good life partner and they want that. So they’re willing to pay way more than I thought they would. And it makes sense if you look at it. I think those are there. Brent Beshore at adventur.es owns one that I think is interesting. There’s some other smaller ones. But those businesses rely on local networks and are day-to-day, human touch businesses.

There’s also some interesting ones. There’s one based around Cornell, I’m forgetting the name, that really pioneered the whole “We’re going to place dates at restaurants and bars and things.” Basically, what they do is, they would get their have a deal for drinks or food or whatever, that the only way you could cash in on it is if you went on a date through the app. I think it’s going to take some time before this works. I have been generally curious why these apps, what is the relationship with the app, and at the point in time where you meet somebody, why are they not serving up recommendations for dates and activities and things like that? Because, like I said, you really have to compete on the quality of your dates. So I think that’s an arms race. And I think that’s something that can be monetized on. But it hasn’t been done yet.

That’s really interesting. I think you have things like Minder, which is Muslim Tinder, and they really didn’t think that hard on the name. But that’s interesting. And then you’ve got, increasingly niche — I think as an investor, on the private side, you can probably make a lot of money if you’re able to target a very specific niche. There’s niches that are taboo, that people don’t want to talk about in public, that are actually massive businesses. So I think there’s some of those that remind me of MindGeek, which is the company that rolled up all the pornography websites, and they’ve made an enormous amount of money. There’s some things if you want into a little bit weirder cohorts that would do well. There’s also ethnically centered apps. JSwipe, Minder, etc., that’ll do well.

And then you have the Chinese players. You’ve got Tantan, which is under Momo, which is on the Nasdaq. That still remains fairly small. It’s not yet a driver. They’ve got a transaction happening right now. I think that’s worth watching. I’m not sure yet that it’s investable, but it’s definitely something that we find interesting. They’re the Chinese mega. But the issue they have is, in other Asian countries outside of China — we spent some time in Asia this year — they have the lowest social prestige. The No. 1 social prestige in other countries in Asia is Bumble. A distant second is Tinder. And an even more distant third is Tantan. So, Tantan is considered a trashy, sketchy app in many countries, and there’s some association with prostitution, things like that. That’s going to hurt them. So, they’ve got to figure that out. They may have to launch a Hinge-type product to try to upscale the offering.

Sciple: Yeah. Dan, this brings up a question that I’ve had and we haven’t addressed yet. You mentioned Minder, the Chinese players. You saw with social media, particularly in China, there was a separate social media platform that dominated those countries versus the platforms that dominated in the U.S. and Europe. As you look to these online dating apps, do you see there being a few global dominant platforms? Or do you see these regional players emerging?

McMurtrie: One of the big, if not the biggest advantage the United States has — a fellow fund manager… who’s on Twitter, talks to us all the time, is American culture is globally extremely powerful. I was in Bangladesh this year, and people are watching Netflix, they’re watching YouTube, they’re on Facebook. Our TV shows are globally dominant. Our films are globally dominant. That has a bleed effect, I think, in here. You also see it with luxury products. Aramis is Aramis everywhere. It’s not just Armis in France. That, I think, is what’s happening here, where a local brand will almost always have a lower prestige rank and safety rank and general perception than these major platforms. And it’s an immensely powerful thing in emerging markets, where people are still getting comfortable with these platforms, because they trust the Western brand platforms where there’s already millions and millions of users. I think it’s going to be very hard, barring government intervention and antitrust, things like that, for anyone to hit massive scale outside of Match in Bombay.

Sciple: I hope you enjoyed that conversation on the online dating market. Tune in on Saturday to hear the rest of our conversation with Dan, where we dive into investing in Bangladesh and how to get the most value out of Twitter.

As always, people on the program may own companies discussed on the show, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against the stocks discussed, so don’t buy or sell anything based solely on what you hear. Thanks to Austin Morgan for his work behind the glass. For Dan McMurtrie and Alex Draime, I’m Nick Sciple. Thanks for listening and Fool on!




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