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Time’s running out; more dating apps using time limits

Love ’em or leave ’em

hinge adds time limit

Bumble was arguably the first notable dating app that used time limits for matches, giving women 24 hours to send the opener, and now Hinge has picked up on the trend. Hinge, if you’re unfamiliar, functions like Tinder except it only shows you potential matches who are connected to your network of Facebook friends.

So is there an advantage to having them?

Northwestern University psychologist Eli Finkel told the Washington Post: “These time limits are a very good idea. Just like in other domains, making something scarce tends to increase its value. That’s why advertisers pitch products with a ‘limited time offer.’ The fact that this particular match will become unavailable soon will tend to make him or her more appealing to you. Just as importantly, it will increase the likelihood that you initiate contact.”

But what do users think?

Here is some Twitter reaction featured in this MTV article:

hinge adds time limit

Added Deepa Lakshmin of MTV:

People aren’t down with the timed matches. They just aren’t. I know [Hinge has done its] research and extensive testing and yada yada yada to back up [its] claim that timed matches result in more messages exchanged and more real-life connections. It’s a model that other dating apps like Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel and The League have adopted, sure, but that doesn’t mean [Hinge] users are cool with it.

Here’s the thing. People are really, really f–king busy. Maybe they’re swamped at work. Maybe they’re out of town visiting family. Maybe they’re stuck in bed with a nasty cold. The point is, there are plenty of reasons why someone wouldn’t spend a significant amount of time on a dating app in one 24-hour period.

Hinge’s motivation for this new feature seems to be to jolt people into interacting with each other with a greater sense of urgency. According to BuzzFeed:

Before rolling out this new policy, Hinge tested it out in several cities, and found that a time limit increased the number of conversations and phone number exchanges by 50%. Knowing that there’s a time limit helps relieve awkward tension about [who] sends a message first.

In a way, it kind of puts more of a human element into dating apps; in real life you usually have a short window within which you have to decide whether to approach a woman. Although lack of time constraint is supposed to be one of the advantages of online dating.

It will be interesting to see if Tinder and other apps adopt this change.

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About Luke Harold Luke Harold is a journalist who has written for publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Orange County Register.

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