“If people are seeking a serious relationship, then they are most likely not going to use Tinder,” the study concluded. Online sites like Match.com or OkCupid, which are both owned by InterActiveCorp are more conducive to finding a long-term relationship, the researchers said. Match.com is subscription-only and OKCupid has free and premium accounts, but both have space to answer questions and will match people based on their values and preferences. Match.com charges $42 for one month or $21 a month with a one-year commitment.
Ghosting (never replying to messages) has been a problem on dating apps for quite some time now. The endless supply of fresh faces and people’s lack of leisure time make it difficult for people to ever actually go out on a date, says Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communications at the University of Kansas. Spending a lot of time to meet Mr. or Ms. Right “decreases your chance of ever doing so,” he says. Swiping endless photos and fantasizing about each one, he adds, “is not conducive to forming a good match, and it’s not exactly a productive use of your time.”
All of this voyeurism can be expensive, if you don’t follow through. The matchmaking industry is now worth about $2.4 billion, and rises around 5% per year, with revenue split between advertising and subscription services, according to a report by research firm IBISWorld. Of that, around $1.1 billion is from online dating, $576 million is from mobile apps such as Tinder, and the rest is made up mainly of matchmakers and singles events. A decade ago, many sites were free or had minimal fees of around $20 a month. (Match.com charged $9.95 per month when it launched in 1995.).
There’s another downside to all that choice. Americans are increasingly picky when it comes to dating, particularly those who have Apple iPhones, according to a separate survey of 5,500 singletons aged 18 and over by Match.com, which was released last month. iPhone owners are 21 times more likely to judge others negatively for having an Android, while those who have an Android are 15 times more likely to judge others negatively for having an iPhone. And those who have older models of either smartphone are 56% less likely to get a date.
On a happier note, dating sites are encouraging people to be truthful to facilitate happier dates and, ideally, relationships. Apps like The Grade and Tinder are forcing their members to connect through Facebook to create more transparency about age and real first names. On Facebook, there’s a limit to how many times users can change their birth date. The Grade uses algorithms and members to rank other users on a scale from A+ to F based on quality of messages, photos and description. Those who get a permanent F grade are expelled from the app.