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Why is the dating app Hinge bashing swipe apps?

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Why is Hinge directing its users to a website declaring a Dating Apocalypse?

If “dating apocalypse” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s an homage to Nancy Jo Sales’s 2015 Vanity Fair article, “Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse.” On Hinge’s Dating Apocalypse website, visitors can click through gloomy stats about swipe apps like Hinge and Tinder. For example: “81 percent of Hinge users have never found a long-term relationship on any swiping app”; “only 1 in 500 swipes on Hinge turn into phone numbers exchanged”; and “4 out of 5 Hinge users can’t recall the first name of their last right swipe.”

What’s going on here? Why would a swipe app bash swipe apps? An email to users announced last week: “We’ve swiped left on swiping.” An FAQ on Hinge’s website says “we realized the world of mindless swiping was ruining romance.” That’s pretty strong language for an app that has been part of the swipe machine since its early days. Hinge is billing this new version as more relationship-minded than swipe-focused. The announcement calls the new Hinge, which is set to debut Oct. 11, “a members-only community of people looking to get past the games and find something real.”

Hinge launched in February 2013, not long after Tinder came on the scene in 2012. Both are powered by users’ Facebook profiles; and both prompt daters to make quick yes-or-no decisions about people based on short profiles, a collection of Facebook photos and lists of mutual friends.

Since then, Hinge has made a few structural changes to try to get singles talking to one another and going out on dates: In late 2015, the app added time limits whereby users had 24 hours to start a conversation with a match, or else that match would disappear, similar to the Bumble model. Later that initial-message period got extended to 14 days, at which point a match expires.

Even in its new incarnation, Hinge will still be a dating app, of course. How much will really change? We do know that users will be expected to pay, exact price TBD, although existing users will get a free three-month trial. Right now most similar apps are free — with premium services for an extra price.

Hinge says requiring users to pay will weed out the creeps and flakes, bringing you only those magical people who want relationships. If only it were that easy! Certainly Match.com and eHarmony aren’t free of jerks simply because signing up requires a credit card.

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