The Tinder dating app for smartphones has gained a strong following in Finland among people looking for suitable matches in their local area. A crew of competitors has popped up in the rest of the world, but in Finland, the free Tinder app has retained its leading position.
One reason Tinder has lost its following abroad have been some recurring concerns. Since April 2015, Tinder has required users to supply personal information about their political and religious standing as well as their current and former employers through Facebook. Without access to this information, users cannot use Tinder beyond a certain version. In March 2015, the company introduced another questionable practice, an age-related pricing system where users are required to pay more on a monthly basis depending on their age.
Security issues have also come to the fore. In Australia an investigation found that with the help of a screenshot and Google Image search, people could easily find out the identity of Tinder users if their Facebook page wasn't secure. Anti-Tinder campaigns like www.breakupwithtinder.com have recently received national attention, calling for women to demand greater integrity and safety in online dating.
Bumble lets women make the first move
One alternative is ‘bumble’, founded by the Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe in December 2014. On bumble, the woman always makes the first move. If she doesn't say something to a new connection within 24 hours, the connection disappears.
This woman’s prerogative alternative gets little support from Finnish dating experts. The Helsinki-based blogger Miss Ruki Ver knows what she is talking about, as she has done experiments on Tinder to see which types of images are most successful at finding a match. The woman behind the online moniker is Finnish language teacher Säde Kankare.
“I can’t get very excited about it. Both parties should have an opportunity to propose meeting. I say this despite the fact that I got pretty straightforward invitations to have sex on Tinder,” says Kankare.
University of Turku dating service researcher Anne Holappa agrees, although she does believe that apps like bumble will eventually find a target group in Finland, for example, among those women who have lived in a violent relationship.
“A relationship is a reciprocal interaction. An app in which either party can take the initiative would be more worthwhile,” says Holappa.
Common interests, friends and hangouts
UK-sensation ‘Hinge’ is also a new entrant to the dating app market that limits potential matches to people in the same line of work or who share several social media contacts. The objective is to create couples who have something in common.
’Happn’, on the other hand, is an app that pinpoints potential matches that frequent the same places, like restaurants or fitness centres.
Favourites among gays at present are ‘PlanetRomeo’ or ‘Grindr’, while the largest forum in the Nordics for the LGBT community is the ‘Qruiser’ app.
The future of such dating apps looks bright. Their basic services are free of charge and they are based on a basic human need. Juuso Puranen is writing his thesis on Tinder at the University of Jyväskylä.
“Tinder is different in Finland than it is in the rest of the world, where proposals can be very direct. The dating scene on Tinder is much more innocent in Finland,” says Puranen.
Looking for GPS love
The online dating apps are based on global positioning. For an added fee, however, candidates can expand their search to any part of the world. If you are travelling to Africa, you can arrange to have some company.
And where there’s demand, there’s also supply. Even paid companionship has found its way to the world of dating apps.
“There are a few bogus profiles on the Finnish Tinder site that lead to paid pages. The photo usually features a beautiful woman who says she is interested in someone exactly like you,” says Puranen.
Although the apps attract their fair share of people wanting to hook up, some of its users are sincerely interested in finding the man or woman of their life.
“Many people say they have met people they would never have met otherwise,” says Puranen.