Match is becoming the first major dating app to provide its premium users with personally-tailored advice through a free human coach.
The company announced today that it is beginning to roll out a new service called AskMatch which allows its paid users to chat on the phone with one of the company’s dating hired ‘experts.’
According to a report from TechCrunch, Match members can pick their coach’s brains on a variety of topics that include how to set up a good dating profile, getting over a break up, or more general advice on dating.
Online dating company, Match has begun rolling out its free new service, AskMatch, which connects users to a human coach capable of dolling out dating advice
In multiple phone interviews, Match CEO, Hesam Hosseini said that the service will help to push the online dating platform, which has been in existence since 1995, into the future.
‘Match’s mission has always been around relationships and bringing people together. We want to go beyond just being an app on your phone,’ Hosseini told Engadget.
According to a blog post from the company, the service is currently being offered to users in New York City and will eventually be rolled out nationwide.
To use the service, eligible members will be able to click a ‘Talk to Coach’ button found in the apps discover tab. They will then be connected to a coach whom they can ask for advice and follow up with later on if needed.
‘We want to break out from behind the screen and get to know our members,’ said Katie Wilson, Match’s Head Dating Coach in a statement.
‘Members will have the support they need from their coach as they navigate dating in general, not just online.’
Unlike Tinder, Match.com is home to an older demographic of romantic hopefuls, nearly half of which are between the ages of 30 to 49-years-old
Match will work to compete with a growing number of dating apps like Bumble, Hinge, and Happn, which have eaten up a large share of the online dating world.
One of the most popular dating apps, Tinder, is owned by Match’s parent company, Match Group, and has also introduced additional features and services in an attempt to court a broader base of premium subscribers.
Among the added features are additional ‘super likes’ which let users notify potential matches when they’re interested and ‘boosts’ that can be purchased to place subscribers to the top of the picking order.
The company also began limiting the amount of ‘swipes’ a person can take in the app before being asked to join its paid premium tier.
According to a report from the Financial Times this month, Tinder’s strategy has seems to have enjoyed some success, with the app growing 1.3 million users year-over-year. Last year the app boasted that more than 4 million of those users were paying for the service.
With added features, Match is likely looking to court more users, similar to its popular app, Tinder, which offers ‘boosts’ and extra ‘super likes’ for a cost. Stock image
Unlike Tinder, however, Match faces unique challenges through the age of its users base.
According to the company, almost 50 percent of users are between 30-49 years old, while more than 50 percent of Tinder users are between 18-29 years old.
As a result, features like Tinder’s ‘Festival Mode’ which allows users to find each other at music festivals may not be quite as popular with the service’s romantic hopefuls.
In an interview with Business Insider, Hosseini says that while the Match service is open and available to all of its users, men in particular have taken advantage of the company’s sage advice.
According to the report, Hesseini said in a beta test, men using Match were three times more likely to opt-into the feature.
HOW DID ONLINE DATING BECOME SO POPULAR?
The first ever incarnation of a dating app can be traced back to 1995 when Match.com was first launched.
The website allowed single people to upload a profile, a picture and chat to people online.
The app was intended to allow people looking for long-term relationships to meet.
eHarmony was developed in 2000 and two years later Ashley Madison, a site dedicated to infidelity and cheating, was first launched.
A plethora of other dating sites with a unique target demographic were set up in the next 10-15 years including: OKCupid (2004), Plenty of Fish (2006), Grindr (2009) and Happn (2013).
In 2012, Tinder was launched and was the first ‘swipe’ based dating platform.
After its initial launch it’s usage snowballed and by March 2014 there were one billion matches a day, worldwide.
In 2014, co-founder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble, a dating app that empowered women by only allowing females to send the first message.
The popularity of mobile dating apps such as Tinder, Badoo and more recently Bumble is attributable to a growing amount of younger users with a busy schedule.
In the 1990s, there was a stigma attached to online dating as it was considered a last-ditch and desperate attempt to find love.
This belief has dissipated and now around one third of marriages are between couples who met online.
A survey from 2014 found that 84 per cent of dating app users were using online dating services to look for a romantic relationship.
Twenty-four per cent stated that that they used online dating apps explicitly for sexual encounters.