Hinge Is Already Rolling Back Part Of Its Big Rebrand

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Hinge Redesign

Some of October’s biggest dating news came courtesy of Hinge. The dating service announced a total overhaul, complete with a rebrand, an updated app, and a new advertising campaign. Two changes in particular made big news: Hinge was ditching the swipe and adding a $7 monthly fee.

The move was inspired by a Vanity Fair article called Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’. In the article, writer Nancy Jo Sales criticized the current state of the dating landscape, painting it as superficial and sex-crazed, and placing the blame on dating apps like Tinder and Hinge.

Justin McLeod, Hinge’s founder and CEO, was dismayed by the portrayal and resolved to take action. He announced that big changes were coming to Hinge in the fall, ones that realigned the company with its original, relationship-focused intentions. Then came the news about the swipes and the membership fee.

“It makes sure everyone has some skin in the game,” McLeod told Business Insider last month. He rejected the popular freemium model on the grounds that people who pay tend to be “power users” of swiping apps — the shallow, hookup-focused daters that Vanity Fair put on blast. That type of monetisation may bring in revenue, but it didn’t sync with the kind of community McLeod envisioned on Hinge.

Media outlets from TechCrunch to NPR to Fortune, and plenty in between, rushed to cover the update. Even Vanity Fair got back in the action. But already - just a month after the announcement was made - Hinge has had a slight change of heart. A note is now appearing in the app to long-term users:

"As an Early Member, you've helped create a community of people who want more. To thank you, we'd like to give you Hinge free, forever."

Early Members can now choose a new Basic Membership that’s free forever, but has restricted features. Basic Members are limited to 10 people per day and a shortened list of preferences.

"Hinge is moving towards full subscription, but we know change takes time. We are offering early members, who have stood by us through this journey, free Hinge for life to ensure we have a smooth transition from free to paid," a Hinge spokeswoman told Mashable. "We’re confident that offering early users free memberships will not dilute the initial experience, because the product has been so effective out of the gate."

Users on the new version of the app are reportedly nine times more likely to exchange numbers, according to Hinge, and 71 percent of legacy members migrated to the new app on launch day.

What Hinge did not clarify is who qualifies for a free lifetime membership. If you were an active Hinge user who was disappointed by the announcement of a monthly fee, now would be a good time to check back with the app to see if you made the cut. For more information on this dating app, you can read our Hinge review.