Popular dating apps are starting to charge

Recent reports stated that millennials’ favourite international dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge have gently begun to sway their user base to a paid model. Alina Hardcastle chats to experts who shed some light on the matter and whether or not you should pay for the privilege of finding love.

Julian Smida, CEO of dating app Wan’Go, stated that in the social industry, it’s critical to grow a solid user base before a revenue model is implemented. “The more users, the more value for the network. Just like Facebook, a service, like any business, needs to have some revenue streams in order to keep operating.”

The dating service model is generally subscription based but can also include in-app purchases for extra features. Smida explained that when pursuing a subscription based model, a service needs to carefully study its value creation versus price tag balance in order to make sure everyone is satisfied. She feels that charging is understandable even from a consumer’s perspective, as long as it’s fair and provides sufficient value.

But could charging a monthly subscription fee lead to more people looking elsewhere? Smida believes this won’t be the case. “It’s not a pricing battle. The consumer alone will judge how and where he spends his money provided that he receives a reasonable share of satisfaction.”

Dating app fatigue

On the other hand, Arthur Goldstuck, managing director World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget, noted that regardless of subscription fees it appears that many users are becoming fed up with these apps. “There is talk in some markets of dating app fatigue which describes declining interest in and use of dating apps.”

Goldstuck says this is attributed to a combination of having to filter through questionable matches that have supposedly been filtered, mediocre or even disastrous dating experiences, and the emphasis on sex rather than relationships.

“Add to the novelty wearing off, and then putting a price tag on all these negatives, and it would not be surprising to find people having less faith in the services as time goes on,” he says

Goldstuck adds that even a successful dating app don’t have a sustainable business model. “Those who experience success on the app, and find a permanent or regular partner, are less likely to come back. This means that your most satisfied customers will not be repeat customers, and that is not a great foundation for a sustainable business.”

Dating app fee structure

The below tables reveal the pricing structure for the dating apps in South Africa. One way to save on costs if you end up choosing to use an app that charges you is to sign up for longer periods as some, such as Dating Buzz, give you a discount for doing so.