Investor Essentials Daily

Swipe, match, and repeat

Match Group's (MTCH)
April 16, 2024

Dating apps have seen significant growth, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to Match Group’s (MTCH) dominance in the market with apps like Tinder and Hinge.

Tinder, launched in 2012, popularized swipe-based dating and has over 10 million paid subscribers.

Despite its success, Match Group faces criticism for potentially addictive user experiences and a recent class action lawsuit alleging their apps encourage compulsive use.

The controversy raises questions about ethical design and its impact on users’ mental well-being, even as Match Group’s market influence continues to expand.

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Dating apps have seen explosive growth over the past decade, becoming a mainstream way for people to find potential partners.

This trend accelerated even further during the COVID-19 pandemic, as social distancing measures left many seeking online connections.

While numerous dating brands launched with different focuses or features, one company has emerged as the undisputed leader—Match Group (MTCH).

Match Group owns leading apps like Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, and others, dominating the global online dating market.

Tinder in particular has achieved unparalleled success. Since its 2012 launch, Tinder revolutionized the concept of swipe-based dating and amassed over 10 million paid subscribers.

Though competitors launched, they were often adopted alongside rather than instead of Tinder.

Match Group’s ownership of multiple top apps, along with its “pay-to-stand-out” subscription models, have helped make it highly profitable. However, some argue these business practices may also be fueling addiction among users.

Users report feeling entangled in the “addictive nature” of endless swiping, as Match Group continues “gamifying” the user experience through features like boosts and super likes.

There is evidence many users struggle with “burnout” from the overwhelming process.

These concerns came to a head in February 2024, when a class action lawsuit was filed accusing Match Group apps like Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid of being “designed to be addictive and encourage compulsive use.”

The suit claims Match Group’s algorithms are intentionally optimized for “hooked” behavior over meaningful connections.

Match Group denies the allegations, calling the lawsuit “ridiculous”. However, if found valid, it could significantly impact the company’s profitability and set legal precedents around ethics in user retention design.

As dating and socializing continue shifting online, Match Group’s dominance looks poised to grow if legal issues can be overcome.

But the controversy also highlights the need for responsible product stewardship, as dating apps increasingly impact the mental well-being of millions worldwide.

Best regards,

Joel Litman & Rob Spivey

Chief Investment Strategist &
Director of Research
at Valens Research

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