Tinder is charging some users up to five times more than others to use its premium subscription service, but a dating app expert says there’s a couple of ways to get closer to love for less dosh.
New research by consumer watchdog Choice found the popular dating app has been using data from users’ profiles to determine how much they will pay for Tinder Plus.
Choice compared data from the profiles of 60 mystery shoppers who were signed up to Tinder, and found inconsistencies in the prices they were being charged for Tinder Plus.
The research indicated that city-based straight men and over 50 were forking out $34.37 per month, while queer females who were under 30 were only charged a monthly rate of $6.99.
In general, people under the age of 30 were found to be paying a lower rate than their over-30 counterparts.
Users in their teens and 20s were charged between $6.99 and $16.71 per month, while their over-30 counterparts were charged between $14.99 and $34.37.
It’s all about desirability …
In addition to charging select users higher rates, Tinder has also been criticised for giving users a ‘desirability score’.
The score is designed to determine how desirable a person in order to promote profiles within a similar desirability range.
Your desirability score isn’t necessarily based on your pictures, but rather how many people are swiping right on your profile.
The algorithm also considers what sorts of people are swiping right – a user with a high desirability score liking your profile is more valuable than a user with a low score.
Put simply, Tinder wants to match you with people in the same league as you.
If you were holding out and hoping to match with your local Hemsworth lookalike, it might be time to let that dream die.
May the odds be in your favour
Finding out that dating apps are not an even playing field may be disheartening, especially given the current gender ratio on Tinder is nine men to every woman.
But rest assured, there are ways around it that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Tinder’s algorithm is designed to showcase those with high desirability scores to newer users in order to increase usage.
If you suddenly find yourself getting fewer matches, deleting the app and re-downloading it will ensure the algorithm isn’t working against you.
Dating app and intimacy expert Lisa Portolan said there is a number of ways people can get the most out of their profiles.
“Dating apps, like Tinder, are very visual … Essentially you are trying to summarise your character within those images,” Ms Portolan said.
Your profile should be putting your best foot forward, so take the time to make sure it’s as authentic and appealing as possible – and don’t be afraid to ask a friend to look over it.
There are studies that show a smiling photograph is much more inviting, and people are more willing to swipe right on someone who is smiling rather than someone who has a more serious face.
Good quality, high-resolution photos are favoured, but there are some photos that users should steer clear of (looking at you, man holding up the fish he caught).
“None of the women that I have ever spoken to have said, ‘I like the fishing shot’, so I’m not sure why they’re in the mix,” Ms Portolan said.
“A lot of people look at shirtless pictures and think it reflects a certain type of narcissism … unless it’s within context, like you’re at the beach with friends.
“The other one that is quite strange is just a photograph of the car – there has never been anyone that has said to me, ‘I love that photograph of the car’.”
The golden rules for golden-agers
Datings app aren’t exclusively for young people.
For those who are getting on but still eager to get some attention, Ms Portolan recommends getting someone to look over your profile to ensure it’s a good reflection of you.
“A lot of older men say, ‘I don’t take a lot of photographs’, and this is potentially a problem,” she advised.
“Let’s not put in fuzzy photographs, low-resolution photographs – that happens a lot and it puts a question mark around your digital skills.
“Have someone look over it to make sure you’re presenting yourself in your best light.”