Technology

Tinder Gets Back To Its Roots, Launches College-only Service

Tinder U, Tinder college
Image Source: Tinder (screenshot)

Tinder has come up with a new matchmaking service focused on college students. Tinder college service – called Tinder U – is rolling out for iOS devices now. There is no information on the Android release of the service.

Tinder U – what it is?

To access Tinder U, one must have a .edu email address from a 4-year, accredited school and enrolled in a college or university program. Also, you must be on campus when you sign up for Tinder, i.e., it is for the not-for-profit schools with an in-person classroom setting, rather than online classes.

If you meet all these requirements and sign up, you will be automatically logged into the new service once you restart the Tinder app, according to TechCrunch. The logo of the school will appear at the top of the screen, while the profile of other students will get flair at the bottom indicating their school.

“Tinder proudly launched at USC in 2012, making the college spirit an important part of our history and brand DNA…. With Tinder U, we’re excited to honor our roots with a new experience that helps students meets other students nearby,” said Tinder’s chief product officer, Brian Norgard, in a press release.

Tinder college service offers the same functionality as the regular app, but the UI is slightly different. The new service has the same swipe mechanics as the regular app. It is primarily a dating service, but can also be used to find new friends, a study partner and more. The service will give more preference to the profile of your fellow students. Also, you will be able to find students at other schools.

Users will be able to swipe off campus; they can tap a toggle button at the top of the screen to swipe by location. For instance, a student from Columbia University can view profiles from New York University, Fordham University and others. Users can also toggle to the regular Tinder app.

Tinder college service – a smart decision

Tinder’s new service makes sense, and is a smart business decision by the company. According to the company, more than half of its users are between 18 and 24 years. Also, the use of the dating apps, in general, is highest among this age group, according to Pew Research. The timing of the Tinder college app also makes sense.

Facebook will soon enter the dating market, which is currently lead by Match Group (Tinder’s parent company). The service is estimated to have 50 million users globally and about 3.8 million subscribers. Tinder started in September 2012, and started its paid subscription in March 2015 for $19.99 per month.

“Five years ago at college campuses around the U.S, students first heard about Tinder through friends…. We believe it is critical that Tinder maintains a strong foothold at universities around the globe, especially given that every 18-year-old who starts college is building a social life from scratch making new friends and starting new relationships,” Mandy Ginsberg, Match Group CEO said while announcing the Tinder college service at its quarterly earnings a couple weeks back.

Tinder is also facing steep competition from other dating apps like Bumble. Last year in August, Match Group made an attempt to buy Bumble for $450 million, but failed. In November, the group again tried with a higher offer, but Bumble turned it down. It is believed that the reason for turning down Match’s offer was more about ethics than money. Bumble founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, worked at Tinder from 2012 to 2014. Previously, she had hinted that the work environment at Tinder wasn’t favorable for women.

Bitmojis for users

Meanwhile, the company is also in the process of launching a new feature to woo young users. Tinder will soon allow users to send Bitmojis to their matches. The feature, for now, is available to users in Mexico and Canada, and soon will be rolled out globally. For the U.S. users, the Bitmojis should be available by the end of this summer.

To use the Bitmojis, users will need to tap the green Bitmoji icon beside the GIF in the app. Next, they must click “Connect to Snapchat,” which will throw a pop-up asking the user to confirm if they want to chat on Tinder using Bitmoji. The Snapchat handle won’t be visible to the Tinder matches.