Bumble Takes On Tinder’s Boost With New Spotlight Feature

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So you want to be the center of attention? Bumble has announced a new feature called Spotlight that will do just that. When activated, Spotlight will bump your profile to the front of the line for 30 minutes, allowing you to be seen by more Bumble users than you would during a regular swiping session.

Spotlight will be available to all users who are willing to cough up two Bumble Coins (acquired through a separate in-app purchase) for the perk. One coin currently goes for $0.99 in the US or £1.99 in the UK. If you prefer to keep your promotional activities under wraps, have no fear that your Spotlight secret will be exposed. Your profile will not look any different to those browsing. On your own screen, stars will appear across the top of the app to indicate Spotlight has been enabled.

If you think the Spotlight feature sounds familiar, you are far from alone. It bears an obvious resemblance to Tinder’s Boost, which also promotes your profile in your area for 30 minutes. An icon appears next to new matches made during a Boost period, but other users see no indication you used the feature. Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold subscribers get one free Boost per month. Other users may purchase Boosts at any time.

Spotlight has raised concerns beyond its similarity to Boost. Fast Company reached out to Bumble to inquire about whether the feature would unfairly favor wealthy users. Bumble responded with a statement:

We’re excited to launch the Spotlight feature, which allows our users to put themselves “in the spotlight” and be shown to more potential matches for a defined period of time. Who you are shown is dictated by our proprietary algorithm, which considers lots of factors – so no, we aren’t concerned that Spotlight will skew results only to those who pay. In addition, we’ve always approached our paid and unpaid features in a balanced way and priced them accessibly, and our payer penetration metrics – especially our industry-leading rate of women payers – indicates that our audience is excited by the features we offer.

Another challenge came from Hey! Vina, an app for finding female friendships that counts Tinder among its investors. Hey! Vina accused Bumble of stealing the concept and name for Spotlight in an email to TechCrunch.

“Vina launched the ‘Spotlight’ feature version of Tinder Boost a month ago,” wrote Hey! Vina CEO Olivia June. “I just wanted to point this out given that the feature is so similar to ours, that they named it the same as ours, and that Vina (being Tinder’s move in the friendship space) launched before Bumble BFF.”

While Vina may have a point, the term "Spotlight" to describe this feature (or ones very similar) has been used for many years as a name by all sorts of dating services. Those include ones from Match Group, eHarmony, Badoo, and Sparks Network. A search on our own site makes this point easily enough. This faux outrage from other services appear to be just a marketing ploy to make Bumble look bad and to get their name in the media.

This latest feature will no doubt add fuel to the fire of controversy that seems to burn tirelessly around Bumble and Tinder.