What paid dating app upgrades are worthwhile?
March 5, 2021 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Many dating apps (such as Tinder, Bumble, CMB, Hinge), are free, but sell premium memberships and extra-cost features. I am interested to hear which upgrades Mefites have found to be genuinely helpful and worth paying for, and which were wastes of money.

I'm a US-based straight male, but other perspectives are also very welcome. Please do say where you're coming from, though.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Bumble has worked very well for this fee-paying divorced fortysomething straight male. Admittedly, I have used no others , so can’t compare. Does that also say something?

Guess it depends on what you are looking for. If strictly hookups, Bumble may not be best first choice, or so my multi-app hookup-hunting friends tell me.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by armoir from antproof case at 2:21 PM on March 5, 2021

At 50, and never married, I met my wife of 10 years now on a paid subscription on Match.com.
I assume it's still around and they have an app.
I also assume that dating and apps have changed a lot in the previous decade, so YMMV.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 4:17 PM on March 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I recently canceled my paid membership to OkCupid, because it became nearly unusable. So that's a data point.
posted by woodvine at 7:17 AM on March 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

It’s been a few years since I used any dating apps or websites myself, but I did at one time have extensive experience on them (even did my dissertation on online dating, way back in the Stone Age of 2008) and used some paid features here and there. My advice? Don’t pay for a thing on these apps. It is, and has always been, a numbers game. Just get on there and swipe. If there’s a service that requires you to pay to send a message to someone, don’t use it. The same people are on multiple apps and the chance that you’ll find someone on another app that doesn’t require an upgrade to reach out is high. Paying for a service or feature also doesn’t guarantee that someone will respond to you any more positively. In the end, it all still boils down to whether or not someone finds you attractive or appealing and no “super like” or profile boost is going to change that. Constructing a strong profile with clear and accurate pictures and communicating respectfully with matches will do more for you than any upgrade ever will.

Also, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to bypass a dating app paywall by reaching out to someone on social media unsolicited (even if they have it linked to their profile). It’s creepy and if the interest is mutual, they’ll match with you on the app.

Eta: I’m a woman in the US.
posted by Fuego at 7:36 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

My advice? Don’t pay for a thing on these apps. It is, and has always been, a numbers game. Just get on there and swipe.

Well for some of them, like Hinge, you are paying for unlimited swipes...
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:26 AM on March 6, 2021

What showbiz_liz says is true, but when I used Hinge and the like I received enough specials (things like, “free unlimited swipes all weekend”) on a regular basis that it wasn’t worth paying to have that ability all the time. I regularly reached the point with all the major apps (Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid) where I literally ran out of people to swipe through and had to wait and come back to the app later. In New York City, presumably one of the markets with the largest user base. It’s not worth it to me to pay for the ability to get through that queue even faster.

I’m not sure if men receive the same amount of “specials” that women do, but if so, just wait for that and save your money, especially if you are in a smaller dating market.
posted by Fuego at 11:49 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m not sure if men receive the same amount of “specials” that women do

I don't have hard factual data to back me up, but I strongly believe they don't. I think dating apps need women (thus the specials, and whatever other encouragement they can do to keep women active on the platform), but do not particularly need men.
posted by metabaroque at 11:35 PM on March 6, 2021

As a woman in NYC who has done a lot of app dating in the past few years, the one paid feature that improved my experience was occasionally purchasing Boosts on Tinder. I had a noticeable uptick in matches and went on several dates based on those. It’s true that this kind of dating is a numbers game, but Boost improved my numbers by showing my profile to more people. I had a premium Bumble account for a month or two, but found that my queue of people who had already swiped right on me were far outside of my geographic zone. I didn’t find any other paid upgrades to be worthwhile.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 10:28 AM on March 7, 2021

I'm a 39yo woman in Minneapolis. The only feature I've found useful is occasional boosts; the extra visibility is nice and I can coordinate them with spells where I have more time and energy available for managing the extra communication and going on dates. I try not to spend more than a few minutes a day on the apps for mental health and just overall life balance, so have never felt like I was even close to running out of swipes.

As an experiment, I paid for a month of the full premium access on OkCupid a year or two back to see what the difference was all about and found it extreeeeeeeeemely not worth it. While I was able to see all 1000+ or however many likes I'd gotten, I dutifully worked through the full list and — not exaggerating in the least — 99.9% of them were just...empty shells of profiles. Like one bad picture (if any) and all some variation of "just trying this out, dunno what to write here, im an open book so whatever u wanna know just ask." I'd rather take my chances with the questionable algorithm than spend my hard-earned dollars to access a list of people who aren't actually engaged with the site.
posted by anderjen at 9:18 AM on March 8, 2021

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