Tinder is moving forward with a testing plan for Tinder Plus, a new paid version of the app that brings premium features to users and finally starts a revenue stream for the growing IAC-owned dating company.
With the paid version, users will have access to two new central features of the app, Undo and Passport. Undo lets people go back on the person they just swiped left on, a highly common accident, and Passport lets people search outside their geographic region.
“The most-requested feature we get is a button to go back and have a second chance with people that users swipe left on,” said Tinder co-founder Sean Rad. “Everyone has wanted it from the beginning. It’s absolutely at the top of the list.”
Tinder Plus simply unlocks that feature, letting users have the modern-day “missed connections” experience they’ve been craving. But it does it in a smart way, as the update will prominently feature a big yellow “Undo” button right on the home screen, whether you’re a paid user or not.
This means that the button will be there to go back and find that long-lost love, but it will only work if you cough up the cash.
Another button will also appear on the home page, to the far right, called Passport.
This will let people search for other matches outside of their general location, and toggle between those locations easily. As it stands right now, Tinder automatically searches within a certain geographic radius, with the user designating just how far out that circle goes. With Tinder Plus, users will be able to search for other Tinder players in different cities all over the world.
And beyond the voyeurism aspect, Rad sees Passport as more of a sophisticated problem for Tinder users who travel frequently.
“We often hear that people want to be able to start swiping in a location before they’ve left to go on a trip or vacation, and that once they’ve actually made a meaningful connection with someone in a new location, their trip has come to an end,” said Rad. “We also hear people saying that they want to get recommendations for places to go and where to eat in a new city, and Tinder Plus can do better at that.”
Of course, the downside to the Passport feature is that regular users, paid or otherwise, who are using the app to search in their own vicinity may be served people who are actually in another location, and might not even have a trip planned anytime soon. This could dilute the app’s usefulness to some users.
“We don’t think it’ll be a big enough problem where it will hurt the experience to search locally,” said Rad. “Especially since a lot of users will be paying for the feature, and the voyeuristic quality probably isn’t enough of a value add as opposed to those who are actually traveling.”
Rad also explained that part of the reason that people love Tinder comes down to the fact that you find and create really “random relationships that you never would have expected,” and that’s because Tinder is always trying to remove the barriers to meeting new people.
“Location is just one more barrier. We’ve already addressed the psychological barrier with the double opt-in, and the social barrier, which we worked on by making Tinder socially acceptable,” said Rad. “Passport breaks down the physical barrier.”
For now, Tinder isn’t launching Tinder Plus in the States. Instead, the paid version will roll out to a few select countries, including the UK, Brazil and Germany, with only 40 percent of the user base in each of those markets gaining access to it.
This is because Tinder wants to be more thoughtful about pricing and hasn’t decided the proper monthly price for features like this. They’ll be testing at a number of price points, from $.99 to $4.99 to $9.99 and even $19.99 in some markets, to see what fits.
“We think different people will pay on a wide range, but we want to find that sweet spot that most users can agree on,” said Rad.
Once they see how people respond to the features and react to the value proposition, Tinder will figure out a set price and launch the premium version of the app globally.
This morning, news broke that Sean Rad will be leaving the company as CEO and assuming the role of president and board member. He will still be serving as CEO until a replacement is found. During the interview for this story, Rad declined to comment on any questions regarding his departure from the CEO role.
By Jordan Crook