Review of Tinder Dating App
We're seriously beginning to think that the latest marketing ploy for new dating sites is to float out the idea that the site just might be a hookup site for straight people (See: Review of Blendr Dating Site). Before testing out Tinder, that's all we heard. Yet after we tested, we learned that the truth is something quite different.
What Is It?
Tinder is a location-based online dating app for iPhone and Android phones and tablets that links from your Facebook account. It is free (See: 3 Best Free Online Dating Sites). It's available from Apple's store, from Google Play, or from the website Tinder.com.
Tinder is like an overlay for Facebook dating. So, instead of sifting through people on Facebook to find anyone available--and sifting through all the related garbage that Facebook brings with it--Tinder locates only those people on Facebook who are available to date and it obliterates everything except for the one thing you care about: pictures.
How Does It Work?
Image © The Dating Gurus 2013
You must have an active Facebook account to begin with. After you download the app, your Tinder profile will be automatically populated with profile photos from your Facebook account, any of which you have the option to delete. You may also upload photos that are not in your Facebook profile.
It's not even necessary to write out a profile (that's so last century!), as the Tinder profile is populated by text from your Facebook profile.
Finally, in the Tinder settings, you can specify a few variables, such as age range of desired mate, location range, gender, etc.
Now, it's time to go fishing. You're presented with picture after picture of potential mates. As shown in the image above, swipe the screen left to discard the match and swipe screen right to indicate to that match you are interested in him/her.
You are not allowed to message that match unless he or she matches back with you.
Is Tinder a Hookup Site?
No. Tinder is designed as a conventional online dating site, where men and women, men and men, or women and women get together for the purpose of a relationship lasting more than one night.
We searched through many hundreds of Tinder female member profiles, and only in a couple of cases were there overt mentions that the member would be amenable to a quick hook-up. In a number of instances, the women said outright that they were not interested in a hook-up.
That said, we've found that most conventional dating sites can be repurposed into hook-up sites if you know how to read--and give off--the social signals correctly.
Within one hour of downloading Tinder, someone had contacted us with the intention of a hook-up.
Tips and Tricks of Tinder
- Clean Profile Information: Beware of the profile information that Tinder pulls from your Facebook profile as it may identify you. We found several instances where the Tinder member obviously did not edit their Tinder profile, because it contained identifying information.
- Be Hot, Really Hot: Tinder is all about how hot you are. So you need to present your absolute hottest picture of yourself.
- Swipe Right Like Crazy: Tinder is also all about quantity over quality. We recommend that you "Yes" as many people as possible. The ratio of "Yesses" to accepted matches is staggeringly low. For every 100 people you "Yes," three or four may match back to you.
- Don't Be Deterred: Tinder, we believe, is engineered to limit your pool of available matches (See "What We Don't Like," below) to keep you coming back to it over time. So, even if Tinder comes back and says that it cannot find more matches within your area, give it an hour and try again: more matches will come up.
- Old People, Go Away: Are you over 55 years old? Forget about Tinder. Their age range settings don't even go past 55. Yes, it's Logan's Run* in a dating app. In fact, the age sweet spot tends to be about 24 years old. Thus, if 55 doesn't exist, 50 is barely there, and 40 is more represented but still sparse. Basically, if you're over 30 years old, the number of available matches sharply drops.
Tinder is free. It does not show ads. There are no premium or upgraded Tinder plans at this time.
What We Like
Its simplicity. Tinder consists of pictures of potential mates, short text about him/her (if that), and the ability to keep or get rid of that person. It's dead-dumb simple.
It can be fun to give potential mates the thumbs-up or -down, though this feeling doesn't last long.
What We Don't like
Plenty. The best online dating sites feel like comfortable, friendly clubs. Tinder, by contrast, feels like one of those arcade shooting games at a carnival. Tinder is fast-paced and shallow. Because profile text has been relegated to a minor position, it's all about how good you look. If you're witty, fun, intelligent--forget about it. Those attributes mean nothing on Tinder; you have to be hot. Nothing else matters.
When you first begin using Tinder, it will quickly expend your list of potential matches within your area. We suspect that Tinder is engineered that way to keep you coming back to it, rather than you checking out everybody in one massive session and then forgetting about the app forever. Yes, because Tinder is location-based, potential matches do come and go from your stated location radius. But we found it ludicrous that we should expend all of our potential matches in our stated radius (50 miles) within a major metropolitan area (Seattle, WA), within 30 minutes. Simply put, we felt manipulated by this.
We suspect that Tinder will enjoy a brief period of trendiness before flaming out. We think that Daniel Stuckey of Vice Motherboard is spot-on when he says of Tinder that "[a]s far as making money is concerned, I'd guess Tinder's value will be in the amount of users it attracts, and that its ultimate plan is to get bought. "
Since the app is free and not much work is involved, it doesn't hurt to try it out. But don't be surprised if you're disappointed. We got bored of Tinder rather quickly.