Hinge Adds New Features to Compete with Tinder

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An article in last month’s Vanity Fair attacked apps like Tinder as being promoters of hook-up culture among young daters. The article caused a wave of dialogue, backlash and upset, with many people wondering if dating apps were in fact “killing” the culture of dating and navigating relationships.

While technology has been blamed for bad behavior, dating app Hinge is aiming to distinguish itself from its popular and notorious competitor, Tinder. Instead of taking the bait and offering more Tinder-like services like many dating apps looking for success in this growing market, Hinge is taking the hook-up culture argument to heart. Instead of fighting the article's argument, the company is offering an update to its app in acknowledgment of the problem - with an “Intentions” feature.

The update offers a new profile page where users are encouraged up front to include their intentions for using the app, whether it’s to find a relationship, to date, or a casual hook-up. Hinge hopes that this gives more transparency in the online dating process.

According to Hinge, most of the people coming to its app are looking for something more serious than a hook-up. When the company surveyed 1,500 of its users, they discovered that sixty-three percent claim they are looking for relationships, 33% for dating, and only 2% for hook-ups.

The company’s last update called out daters who weren’t being truthful about being single, which has also caused an uproar among Tinder users. (A survey earlier this year found that more than 40% of Tinder users were already in a relationship.) Hinge now publishes each user’s relationship status (that the user shares on Facebook), so there’s no mistaking whether or not a user is single.

The company also added a new feature in August called HingePerks for its most dedicated users, offering discounts and contests for things like trips, ball games, and drinks. The first promotion was a free “staycation” at a Starwood Hotel with a spa service included. They have also offered concert tickets for social media participation (including liking on Facebook, tagging and sharing), as well as a free bottle of wine for the Hinge couple that posts a fun photo on Instagram.

Since its inception, the company has focused on its primary user base – young professionals, another way to distinguish itself from Tinder, which got its start on college campuses and whose demographic skews a bit younger than Hinge’s. In the last month, Hinge has promoted their “most eligible” male and female users according to profession, offering basic profile information. Hinge also asks their most embarrassing date moment and greatest career accomplishment to date.

Whether Hinge's strategy succeed in this competitive dating app market is yet to be seen. But it does offer daters a more interesting and engaging alternative to the dating app experience. For more on this dating app, please check out our review of Hinge.