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Tinder promises features that ‘blur lines’ between physical and digital dating

Tinder promises features that ‘blur lines’ between physical and digital dating

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Tinder is getting new features that will “blur lines between the physical and digital world for dating.” Greg Blatt, the CEO of Tinder’s parent company, Match, says the new features will make the app less boring. Match, which also owns other dating platforms including OkCupid and PlentyofFish, posted its third quarter earnings yesterday, noting that overall revenue of $343 million was up 19 percent year over year.

In an earnings call, Blatt attributed the higher numbers to the success of Tinder Gold, and hinted at new features expected to hit Tinder in a few weeks, including AI and location-based functions. Tinder has also gained 476,000 paying subscribers in this quarter.

Tinder remains Match’s strongest earner, and that’s motivating the company to keep pouring resources into it.

“Until now, Tinder has basically been a swiping machine,” said Blatt during the call. “It’s effective and simple but ultimately limited.” He outlined a plan to change the whole Tinder experience after a match is made, featuring “a rich dynamic content experience bringing you deep into the activities of the people you’ve already matched with.”

The investor slides for the location-based features, which Blatt says are meant to build upon each other, say the new updates will integrate the physical and digital world and “expand into broader social endeavors.” Those location-related features are expected early next year.

Even less detail was given about Tinder’s future AI features, except that they will be consumer-facing and reliant on user data to personalize app experiences. All of the features will rely on the sheer size of Tinder’s tech team, which dwarfs those of other dating platforms that may be just starting out.

While revenue is up, Match’s operating income for the quarter remained flat at $91 million year over year. That’s because employee stock options and increased headcount have been costly, said Gary Swidler, Match’s chief financial officer, during the call.

This quarter, OkCupid’s revenue caught up to the other Match brands after lagging behind earlier in the year, although a breakdown of the numbers was withheld. Match’s stock rose by 5.6 percent to 28.40 during after-hours trading yesterday after the earnings were released.