No Tinder for old men (and women)

Image via Thinkstock

Call it a bad tiered-pricing strategy, friendo

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. March 16, 2015

For Tinder users who are over 30 years old, the premium version of the hook-up app will soon cost double the price for those under 30. It’s a tiered-pricing strategy that movie theatres, airlines, and restaurants have used for decades, but why are people upset about it?

Perhaps we think that Tinder is trying to eliminate the older demographic completely. After all, the majority of Tinder’s user-base is below 30, generally between the ages of 18 and 24. But why would that benefit the company? Would having a dominant younger user-base really help? I don’t think so. I believe Tinder has made a big mistake, and if not for being a subsidiary of InterActiveCorp, which owns Match.com, OkCupid, etc., the app is committing usability suicide.

Tinder’s appeal is the large 30-million-registered-user gallery and the quick-on-boarding capability. Upping the price changes all that. The strategy will not only hurt the older demographic, but it’ll also hinder the younger people too. Sorry if you are paying $9.99 for the service, but I’m really sorry if you are paying $19.99 per month to swipe left and right.

It’s true that paying a premium for the service may help users achieve their goal on the app, doing whatever they are doing, but with so many free social-connection services out there, including Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder appears to be merely poking holes in its monopoly.

Returning to the idea of age discrimination, a company has every right to present this form of pricing. It doesn’t have anything to do with discrimination; it’s more of just how the brand wants to represent itself. Think of all the fashion companies that only sell products to young, good-looking people. But then think of all the fashion dedicated to older folks or people of all ages. Tinder is clearly placing itself on the far side of any Venn diagram drawn. There are hundreds of dating/hookup services out in the market that will accommodate those forlorn users. Tinder is not openly stating it, but it’s clear that it does not want to focus on them.

It’s hard to say that Tinder, so widely successful doing whatever it is it does, has made a grave mistake. They claim to have done the research and all signs point to the strategy being successful. But I believe Tinder did not have to take this route to be successful. We live in a time where age has nothing to do with love, passion, or intimate connections. We live in a time where we claim 30 is the new 20. We live in a progressive time. The fact that one of the pioneering companies leading this progression decided to implement this type of fee to keep certain users on the fringe is a big step backward and a rather surprising discouragement.

When I was young versus kids these days: Technology for romance

Opinions_technology romance

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Feb. 3, 2015

Technology has always played an integral role in the way people communicate their affections, lusts, and desires. From the age of innocence and the composition of handwritten letters to the modern age of Tinder, PlentyOfFish, and Snapchat, we have always found ways to showcase ourselves in the most attractive manner. But times have changed our behaviour; online relationships are not what they once were.

When I was young MSN Messenger was at its prime, ICQ was nearing extinction, and personalized HTML websites, such as Nexopia, were starting to make an impression on youths. Technology was giving us hormone-overloaded kids new opportunities to flirt and establish relationships digitally. Gone were the days of calling a girl’s home, having her father pick up, and then awkwardly inquiring after her. I was a part of the first ever generation to enter high school with a cellphone—albeit my plan was limited to emergencies. Either way, we were living in a new age. Socializing occurred in classrooms and hallways, but it also took place after school, online.

During that time, the Internet was a way to present our persona, but more often than not, our vulnerabilities. Kids were marketing themselves in all the worst possible ways. We showed off our interest and begged for approval, but more often than not our efforts went ignored. The Internet became another playing field for popularity where only few can excel. Keep in mind that this is before the time of Facebook, and although connections with friends are common, as high school students, opportunities to expand our networks were limited and the risk of talking to strangers was high.

Kids these days have more communication choices than friends to talk with and the Internet infrastructure is now incredibly advanced. Apparently, with the right algorithm, you can fill out some questions and have a computer find a mate for you. Such technology is a little eerie to me. Although we don’t understand how it works, we are no longer afraid of it. Internet dating is no longer taboo—it’s big business. But that’s an adult service and I’m talking about the children. Won’t somebody think of the children!

With the improvement of technology, high school students are rejoicing in the convenience, but are also suffering from the danger. Cyber bullying and permanent blemishes such as nude images have taken the lives of numerous young people, and will continue to cause casualties. In my day, kids were limited to the word of mouth. Now, relationships and defamation are at the tips of your fingers.

When I was young I was a part of a popularity contest; the worst thing that could happen was indifference. Now, the effects can last a lifetime. Tech companies that focus on communication for a younger demographic need to find a solution, a means to regulate without interfering. But then again, growing up is all about making mistakes. Figure it out or log off.