Tinder is an online dating app that, according to data from SensorTower, is home to 72% of the monthly active users in the dating app market. If you’re looking to cast the widest net, Tinder is where to go.
I am single and have spent the last few months using Tinder, amassing over 1,100 matches in the process. This is not my first rodeo however. I’ve used Tinder in the past but accumulated a small fraction of matches compared to now. My original methodology – thoughtfully considering each profile – sucked and needed to change.
A buddy of mine, before he got married several years ago, said that dating is a numbers game. I used his input as a starting point for my revised approach: swiping right on every profile.
- Have well-lit, genuine photos that clearly feature both your face and full [clothed] body.
- No group photos
- No bathroom selfies
- No holding alive or dead fish (apparently this is a thing; I don’t get why people do it or what it means)
- No shirtless photos
- No sunglasses covering your eyes
- No “fake model” pics; organic settings and expressions only
- Each photo is distinctly unique and not the same look/expression with slightly-different backgrounds
- Get verified. Having the checkbox on your profile helps quell concerns that you’re a catfish or bot.
- Swipe right on everyone. This single approach optimized virtually all aspects of the platform: matches, cost outlay and time investment.
- Influencing factors:
- I consider my attractiveness and smile an 8 or 9 out of 10
- I ride bicycles competitively and have high-action, novel pics in my profile
- My profile text follows the “show, don’t tell” writing style
- I did not use the Passport feature to simulate being in different locations
So I started my swiping journey and the learning begin right away:
- The free version of Tinder inserts an ad after every 30th swipe right. As I swiped, I would mentally count to 30, swipe left on the ad, then repeat the process. Getting this wrong resulted in an ad that consumed the user interface and prevented additional swiping until I tapped the “x” in the ad.
- The free version of Tinder limits right swipes to 100 per 24 hours. The timer doesn’t start until the 100th swipe happens. I did this for week or so and grew annoyed with the low cap on daily swipes. Meanwhile…
- Tinder tries to monetize the process of people swiping right on you. Tinder has three paid levels: Plus, Gold and Platinum. When someone swipes right on your profile they show up as a blurred box in your “likes” screen. The only way to identify the mystery person is to either pay for Tinder Gold (or Platinum) to reveal the masked profile, or somehow get lucky and find it in the wild and swipe right on it. But it turns out that…
- People that match with you appear near or at the top of your “stack”. The profiles that are shown to you are not random but have an order applied. Whenever I received a match, as long as the person was within my age and distance parameters, they were within the first 5 profiles shown in my daily allotment. At almost every launch of the app, the stack would refresh and change. This ensures your mystery matches are just a few swipes away.
- The main selling point of Tinder Gold to “see who likes you” is a psychological sales tactic and an unnecessary upsell. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if someone “likes” you.
- If you’re prudently swiping right after careful consideration of each profile and someone else is doing the same and is interested in you (or they’re swiping on everyone), you’ll both match. If you run out of matches, then whoever liked you didn’t pass muster and isn’t relevant to your search.
- If you’re swiping right on everyone, you’re going to eventually match with whoever it is.
- Buying any version of Tinder eliminates the ads and daily swipe limit. Perfect, now I can blindly swipe with the phone on the desk while I do something constructive with my mind and other hand (no, not that). Time to max out the age range (18-100+) and distance (up to 100mi away) settings.
- Swiping right on everyone takes a long time, but only has to be done once. I dialed back the distance setting to 50 miles and worked my way up to 100 miles over a few days. I was encompassing several metropolitan areas, after all. After the initial swipe fest, staying on top of the daily new (or reused) profiles is manageable. Or at least it was until…
- Tinder added an “Explore” feature. Marketed as a way to allow people to target and swipe on profiles of people with particular interests, it was implemented it in a way that nerf’d easy bulk swiping. Prior to the change there was a single place that had all the profiles. After the change, the profiles existed in the main screen and across 15 “interest groups” on the Explore screen. Ugh.
- The Explore groups are neither a mutually exclusive nor tag-based profile filter. In the Explore screen there is “photo verified” group. After swiping on all the profiles in this group, I went back to the main screen and found verified profiles that weren’t in the photo verified group. I also reviewed the individual interest groups and they too had verified profiles mixed in. What’s the point of a “photo verified” group if it doesn’t contain all the photo verified profiles? I repeated this process with some of the specific interest tags that can be assigned to a profile and the results were the same: they didn’t contain all the profiles with the respective tag. Conclusion: a bulk-swipe speed bump was implemented and marketed as a “feature”.
- Match rate tapers with newness to a location. When I started I was getting 10-20 matches for every 100 swipes. Then things began to taper to fewer than 5 matches for every 100. I did some roadtripping and swiped in a new place. The match rate again spiked then began to taper by the time I departed for home.
- Matches can be grouped into 5 categories:
- About 70% are moderately-to-severely overweight. This is consistent with the latest obesity statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The numbers say 41.9% of adult women are obese (including severe obesity) and another 27.5% are overweight.
- About 19% are promoting a social media account – Insta, Snap, OF, etc.
- About 5% are from overseas looking for citizenship – usually Thailand, and to a lesser extent, Brazil
- About 4% are people of reasonable appearance and with non-NULL profiles
- About 2% are a combination of obvious bots, transgender people, and presumably straight men looking for friends
- When someone says that they’re looking for a plug, it means they want a supplier for <insert emoji of currently-illegal thing>. Generally it’s weed. I thought they wanted a power source to charge their vape pen. Thank you Urban Dictionary.
- When someone says that they’re a unicorn, it means they’re open to being the 3rd in a 3-way with an established couple. Again, thank you Urban Dictionary. Speaking of alternative lifestyles…
- About 10% of all matches were in an open relationship or wanted to pursue one. I had to add “polyamory” to the “dealbreakers” section of my profile.
- Modesty is dead. I suppose this is how women feel about chivalry.
- The dating pool is negatively skewed. Imagine a room of 100 single people evenly split between straight men and women. Half are great catches and half are not. People mingle, find someone awesome then start dating. This happens 25 times and all the great catches pair up. There are now 50 single people in the room – the half that are not great catches. Now you show up. All the great catches are taken. What was a 50/50 chance of finding a great catch is now 0 in this exaggerated example. This means…
- Matching with the newest members provides the highest probability of finding a great catch (or being someone’s rebound). Perhaps one of those pairs of great catches weren’t compatible. They can either take the necessary time to get over the ex, become emotionally available, then rejoin the dating pool. Or they can immediately join the dating pool.
- Most of the people you match with won’t respond. I’d peg the non-response rate at about 2/3 of the people I messaged. For those that do respond…
- Meeting over a video chat for the first “live” interaction is effective at weeding out the fakers. It also requires little planning. But it’s so impersonal and inorganic.
- Online dating sucks. Nothing beats an organic, in-person interaction over shared interests or friends. Serendipity and spontaneity please.