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Should you pay for Tinder Plus?

Tinder recently launched its new paid features, known as Tinder Plus. So far, they’re kinda lackluster and downright offensive to some people. NYC’s Metro US featured a Q&A with me about Tinder Plus, if you’d like to check it out! But if you’d rather read my own blog-postier analysis, here we go. :)

Undo left swipe

People were pretty excited when Tinder first teased this feature a few months ago. But what we were hoping for was a comprehensive list of all the people we’d left-swiped, so we could go back and reconsider those options. Instead, Tinder Plus only allows us to undo the most recent left swipe. Lame!

It may be most common that we just want to undo one mis-swipe, but there are certainly plenty of Tinder users who want this feature to go a little deeper. I’m surprised they didn’t make undoing one swipe free, and just charge for undoing even more. I wouldn’t be at all shocked if they changed the feature to work like that down the road. As it is, this is a pretty lame thing to pay a hefty monthly fee for.

Swiping in different locations

The way Tinder Plus implements swiping in different locations is clunky and awkward. I’ve actually received several confused questions about it from clients in the New York metro area, which was a beta test market these past few weeks.

Basically, when you list an alternative location, it outs you as doing so with a little plane icon in the full view of your profile. (Sorry for the lame blur job on this random dude, but I feel bad posting critical pics of strangers here so I try to give them a little privacy, heh.)

This is fine if you’re pre-planning dates for a vacation. But the more common use case for dual location swiping is to fudge your neighborhood in your local metro area. :)

If you live in the boring suburbs or an out-of-the-way borough but you spend all your time in the cool hip parts of the city, you want to meet people who also spend time in the cool hip parts of the city. (Never mind that if everyone is doing this it’s sort of silly, because Astoria is obviously full of people who aspirationally swipe in Chelsea, etc. Insert appropriate blah and yay neighborhoods as is appropriate for your location.)

It’s much less awkward if you just proactively swipe only when you’re in the cool parts of town. No confusing little airplane icon tattling on you for dual-wielding locations. Savvy Tinder users have known this for ages, and they don’t need to pay for the privilege of strategically swiping in different locations!

Obviously there are other use cases, like people who already split their time between two cities, or are considering a move to another city and would like to potentially meet people there before they actually pack up that U-Haul. But even then, a less obvious implementation would suit those users better. Tinder’s airplane is cute and all, but it’s unlikely to land well [SEE WHAT I DID THERE] with most active users.

Ageist pricing model

I mean, look. Some people are getting charged only $4.99 for Tinder, most Americans in their 20s are getting charged $9.99, and those over 30 are getting charged $19.99. Uh, fuck you, Tinder. Nobody in their 30s appreciates being made to feel old.

Even if there is some logic to the purported sensitivity to 20-somethings and their broke-ass budgets, this pricing model comes off as pretty tone-deaf to Tinder’s sizeable 30+ user base. Bad, DUMB marketing move from a company who started out by being all youthy-in-touch pitching to folks in college sororities—are they really so clueless as to think their 30+ users wouldn’t be pissed off at this?

New swipe limit

This is just dumb. Tinder had no swipe limit before, and now it does, and even though Tinder says most users shouldn’t hit the limit, they totally do. Shocking how that panned out, right? If only there were some way they possibly could have tested how this would work in the real world!

Of COURSE this feels like Big Evil Corporate Dating’s influence when no such limit was present before. Of COURSE it feels smarmy that you now have to pay for the privilege of not having a clearly excessive limit imposed on you.

And by the way, Tinder, swiping right on everyone is totally a successful strategy for many of your users, even if Tinder execs preach otherwise. Pay attention to actual use, not your prescriptive ideas about how people should use your product, YOU MORONS. Sigh.

The one thing you can do about this is to slightly tighten your geographic radius. At least that way when you hit the swipe limit, you’ll be matching with a slightly more relevant set of people every twelve hours.

Terrible UX

So many aspects of these new features are awkward and difficult, especially if you want to cancel the recurring charge. (Even though parts of this are up to the platform and not the app itself, apps can still document and guide users through the cancellation process more gracefully than Tinder has done here.)

I’ve been confused and frustrated by various aspects of these new features, and so have several of my clients and friends. With a price that friggin’ high, there’s going to be a LOT of friction and resistance at every single UX pain point, of which there are many.

In a nutshell, I don’t see a lot of people feeling thrilled about Tinder Plus right now. I doubt we’ll ever see a clear breakdown, but I’d love to know how many users adopted this and their demographic breakdown. Savvier Tinder users have already been finding ways to make Tinder work better for them—I don’t see these paid features solving enough problems to overcome their many obstacles. At least, not yet!

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