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Hinge ups its Game, Scoring $12 million and Making Time’s Top 10 Apps of 2014

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Tinder who? Dating app Hinge has been on a slow climb uphill, but is gathering a lot of momentum as it goes. The app has broadened its reach beyond the initial major cities, which helped build not only its user base but also its brand as a serious competitor to Tinder.

This month, the app also made Time Magazine’s “Top 10 apps of 2014,” beating out the sensationally popular Kim Kardashian Hollywood despite the fact it made $100 million this year alone. (Tinder did not make the list.) Time took a dig at Tinder, noting: “Hinge sparked a flame in 2014 as it spread to more and more cities around the U.S…[Its] matchmaking connects to your Facebook account to foster friend-of-a-friend connections, a novel concept in a sea of dating apps that prioritize immediate, nearby and mostly anonymous relationships.”

Now Hinge is launching version 3.2, and due to audience demand is starting to change some of its policies, allowing for greater access to matches. Instead of providing potential matches once a day at noon, you can now view them at your convenience throughout the day. (I’m guessing this is to get people to log in more than once a day as opposed to creating a daily traffic jam.)

Hinge is also offering more matches per day. Unlike Tinder which provides an endless array of matches whenever you log in, Hinge is more particular, mostly because it has a more limited network to pull from – namely, your Facebook social circles. In order for Hinge to match you, you have to have a Facebook friend in common. (This probably encourages users to add more Facebook friends to their network, too.)

The app began in Washington D.C. and made its way to major cities including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hinge has further expanded its territories in recent months – adding St. Paul and Minneapolis, Omaha, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Denver, Seattle, Houston and Austin.

According to a recent article in Wired, the company has experienced 500% growth since January. While it isn’t doing Tinder’s numbers in terms of downloads and number of matches per day, the company feels its more measured growth is a better indication of its potential for long-term success.

What is in store for Hinge in 2015? On December 11th, the company announced that it raised an additional $12 million, which will help its expansion into even more cities, including its first launch into international territory in February, when it debuts in London.

Hinge is definitely a dating app to follow. For more details on this dating app you can read our Hinge review.

Tinder Testing its New Premium Services by Charging up to $20 per Month

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Just how crazy are single consumers for Tinder? And how much will they be willing to pay for the service?

The company is betting that certain features will be very valuable to Tinder users who have been requesting them since the service launched. So valuable that the company will be beta testing different price points in the UK, Germany and Brazil, with prices ranging from $.99 US to $4.99 to as high as $20.00 US for the premium version of the app, Tinder Plus.

Tinder Plus will roll out in these three markets first to determine how to proceed in other markets.

POF Betting it Knows What Online Daters Want

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While POF has garnered a lot of attention over the years for its free online dating service and hook-up potential, its founder wants to get back to basics and is focused on the goal – finding people matches for the long-term.

POF does have an advantage over other dating sites: namely, its user base. With 70 million registered users all over the world, it can rightly call itself the largest online dating site. Three and a half million people log on to the site every day to look for matches and communicate with others. The company also estimates that over one million relationships a year begin on its website.

What does this mean for daters? For one thing, the sheer numbers POF draws from memberships means the company can determine how people date from country to country, including their cultural preferences and overall approach to dating. They’ve found that while daters in the U.K. largely embrace online dating, the rest of Europe is a bit behind. They can focus on areas of growth and potential.

POF began in Canada, but the U.S. is by far its biggest market, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

“People in the United Kingdom will wear turtlenecks in the photos they send,” POF founder Markus Frind told The Provence, commenting on the cultural differences of dating he’s witnessed through the POF user base. “Women are way more aggressive in Brazil. They initiate as much as men.”

POF was started in 2003 when Frind was working for another technology company, and created the dating site in his spare time. He ran the company out of his apartment for five years until it reached ten million in annual revenue. Today he employs about 75 people in a large office space in Vancouver, and since POF remains a free service for daters, most of the revenue generated is from advertising.

Though Frind won’t disclose how much revenue his private company makes, he has put aside $30 million for acquisitions and intends to keep growing. In September of last year, he bought speed dating company Fast Life, hoping to add value to his online dating service by getting into singles events.

And as for success stories? Frind met his own partner through work, not over an online dating site. But he has gathered some success stories resulting from POF matches, including a young married couple who met each other five years ago on the site.

With its popularity unwavering, POF is focusing its efforts on technology and growth. The goal according to Frind is still to help people find long-term relationships.

Plenty of Fish Membership Numbers

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The Plenty of fish blog just released some current traffic statistics for their dating site. It's good to see a snapshot of what the user base of Plenty of fish is. Marcus Frind released the statistics to highlight how his dating site has grown and to be more open on the number of members POF has.

The user statistics released are based on active daily registered users. This means that the user must be logged into POF.com to be considered part of the statistic group. I am assuming that the numbers given are an average but it doesn’t say what the timeline is for that. It probably is for last month (January) but I am only guessing that he would release the latest numbers available. The user statistics could very well be for last year, last quarter or some other time period.

Plenty of Fish’s largest market is the United States with 2 million active daily registered users. This is followed by the United Kingdom with 550,000 and then Canada with 450,000. POF estimates that if you take the roughly 1400 dating site (non-adult) found in the United States and combine their paying members you will come out with 2.5 million subscribers. Combining these numbers together sounds like a lot of people and it is, but online dating has a lot of room to grow. The population of the United States sits at about 313 million with about 100 million people actually single. This shows that about 1/3 of the population is single. The United Kingdom has a population of about 63 million and Canada is close to 35 million. If we assume that the proportions of singles in these countries are about the same as the US then there are about 21 million single people in the UK and about 12 million in Canada.

In the US I figure that there are about 5.5 million people actively using a dating site every day. I came up with this number by adding Plenty of Fish’s 2 million active users with 2.5 million US paid subscribers, and then adding in an extra million singles for all of the other free dating sites that people use. This means only 5.5 percent of all singles in the United States are actively using an online dating site. Since about 78% of the US has internet access (according to Wikipedia) then this percentage only slightly improves to about 7 percent. The potential for growth in the online dating industry is still huge when your untapped market sits at over 90 percent.

I also found a few other related statistics. Plenty of Fish currently reports (from July 2012) that they have had 45 million members register since launch in 2003. Their current rate of growth is 40,000 new members signing up every day which works out to about 30 percent a year. Members of POF send out 20 million messages a day generating 7 million conversations. Currently the average age on POF is 35. In 2009 the average member was 40 years old.

To find out more about this dating site you should read our Plenty of fish review.

Cupid's 2012 Milestones

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One of the United Kingdom’s fastest growing dating services is Cupid plc. Two of their more popular dating sites includes Cupid.com and Flirt.

In February of this year they surpassed 100 million unique visitors. Last year during the same period they had only 15 million. The United States accounts for about a quarter of their traffic with the rest coming from Europe. Cupid reports average monthly global sales of around $9 million USD.

Cupid.com also just recently launched a HD iPad app. They already have native apps for both the iPhone and Android devices.

For more on the story you can read the press release and to find out about the dating site you can check out our Cupid.com review.

Plenty Of Fish only Accepts Members from 10 Countries

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According to the blog "Breaking the online dating sound barrier”, the dating site Plenty Of Fish only accepts users from Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, France, Germany and Italy. I did try creating a new user from China and I didn't have any problems (I had the account deleted), so POF must check the IP of the user to see what country it is from before they allow them to register.

The other bit of news about Plenty Of Fish is, it now supports 4 languages. Before now the site was only available in English. As of a few days ago French, German and Spanish versions can be accessed with an Italian version coming soon. This means any text from the user interface (menus, links, etc.) along with all help and information pages are available in the language. The only thing that doesn't get converted is any text a user may have typed for profile fields like the About Me section.

For more information on this story you can check out Fernando's Blog and to find out more about this dating site you can read our Plentyoffish.com review.