Online Dating

I’m probably a bit cynical, but online dating has a very destructive business model.

Coffee Meets Bagel profits on rejections. You need to buy beans to match more people (they only show me 1 suggestion per day now; I used to get a maximum of 12 per day as a new member). And when your love interest rejects you, you just have to keep buying more beans in order to “discover” more people. In real life, you might have given your crush a gift which they get to keep or give away, but on CMB they sadly get nothing.

(As an aside, their app is very buggy. Sometimes new suggestions won’t show, or a chat message I received goes missing, or a message I typed mysterious disappears. I have to kill and restart the app to make it work.)

Bumble profits on false hopes or maybe ego. They over-sell the effectiveness of a “boost” to make you feel good about spending money on these, even though the return is questionable. However, even if you don’t buy them, you could still do fine. I don’t use Tinder, but their rules seem very similar. Bumble’s “women chat first” rule makes it a little easier for me because I don’t have to worry about the opening line if the match doesn’t intend to chat (they could still just say “hi” and then go radio silent).

Your run-of-the-mill dating website profits more generally on loneliness. You pay for the privilege to initiate a chat and usually get radio silence. Of course you could get bored and stop paying, so once in a while they would send a case worker to keep you interested.

I think the peril of online dating has to do with the fact that they operate like a casino. Obviously, there are some big winners, but most people go only to lose money, and nobody wants to admit losing. Sadly, online dating hasn’t found a way to make it a win-win business model for them and their customers.