Tinder Valentine and the “digital dating apps” have changed the way we meet each other. This is a major Socialization shift.
But, this Valentine’s Day, spare a thought for all the poor dating-app creators struggling to catch a loving gaze from investors. Despite the popularity of such apps, with hundreds available, it’s getting tricky for new ones to attract the funds needed to get off the ground.
In Europe, funding for the apps peaked in 2015 before dropping to about one third that amount now. Continuous marketing is needed since users drop off so quickly; even Tinder has seen its growth stall.
Another Valentine’s Day, another new dating app. WillYouClick launches in the UK today — a dating app that cuts out the small talk by removing the chat feature. Instead of engaging in awkward online conversation, couples agree to meet at a series of pre-organized events.
But with hundreds of dating apps available, it’s not an easy industry to break into. It now costs as little as £2,000 to make a simple Tinder-style dating app (with the classic swiping feature), and so there are now hundreds of apps and it is becoming trickier to capture the attention of users and potential investors.
“You have to give people a reason to use these dating apps — you have to really find a niche or there’s no point,” says Shahzad Younas, founder and CEO of MuzMatch, a dating app targeted towards Muslims looking for marriage.
Even in their boom years, dating apps have struggled to attract big sums. In Europe, funding peaked in 2015, when a total of €33m flowed toward dating apps. But this has since dropped to about €10m each year, along with a fall in the number of investment rounds.
Dating apps have notoriously bad reputation on cheating their customers with a large percentage of fake accounts.
As an investor, it is not hard to make the conclusion: if they cheat on their customers, they will cheat on their investors.
This industry is dying. They are now just becoming a breeding ground for spammers and webcam solicitations. So many fake profiles and with identity theft and cybercrimes on the rise people are becoming savvier to someone’s profile being a potential fake. Not to mention just like being in a bar, apps are not the best way to meet quality people. True, I’ve read and know of some success stories, but they are usually from more traditional websites like Match or eHarmoney before “swiping” became a thing.
This is probably due the large number of scammers that these dating apps allow in their system. As a single myself I find these apps to create a judgmental environment, rather than fostering a connection between two people.
In the case of Tinder, they are their own worst enemy. Who wants to use an app that spams them fake matches several times per day, advertising other websites? Tinder is plagued with this sort of thing. I have personally had my Tinder account randomly deleted 3 times for no apparent reason and with no advance warning or communication from Tinder. Many of my friends have ditched Tinder because of these types of issues.
Bumble, by comparison, does not suffer from these problems. Not that I have encountered, anyway.
My point is, if you want to grow an app and keep peoples’ interest, build something worth peoples’ time that works as intended. In the case of Tinder, I’d be willing to bet its frustration with the app itself that is killing their customer base more so than lack of interest in online dating. It’s, at least, a part of it.