Despite returning to the fold with a bold $7 monthly membership fee, dating app Hinge is now offering freemium options to early adopters.
Hinge relaunched on 11th October after almost a year out of the spotlight, building a new version of the product after founder & CEO Justin McLeod felt “something had to change” last December.
The revamped version brought new story profiles, ditched the swiping system favoured by the majority of mobile dating apps and introduced a new $7 monthly membership fee.
The New York-based startup said the subscription was designed to “make sure everyone is on the same page and not just using Hinge for entertainment” – pitching the product as the “Match.com for the next generation”.
When it announced its return, Hinge also informed all existing users they would get a free three month trial when the current app automatically upgraded on 11th October.
However, it now appears the company is also offering a freemium membership to all “early members”, by way of a new free Basic Membership level.
On signing up, early users of the app are met with a screen that says: “There is a Hinge for everyone who wants to find something real.”
It informs them that Basic Membership is free, but comes with limited discovery capabilities – users only able to discover 10 new people per day.
Singles can still upgrade to the $7/month “Full Membership” option – which gives unlimited discovery, preferences, deal-breakers and more – essentially turning Hinge into a freemium product for early users.
An earlier version of the in-app message, spotted by Business Insider, said it was giving “early members…Hinge free, forever”.
But considering that old Hinge users who already had an account on the dating app prior to the $7 subscription fee were given a three month free trial, it seems this new Basic Membership isn’t simply for existing users of Hinge, but all early members.
In a statement responding to the development, Hinge said: “Hinge is moving towards full subscription, but we know change takes time. We are offering early members, who have stood by us through this journey, free Hinge for life to ensure we have a smooth transition from free to paid.
“We’re confident that offering early users free memberships will not dilute the initial experience, because the product has been so effective out of the gate.”
Coming almost a month after its relaunch, the move suggests that take-up amongst new users hasn’t been what Hinge was hoping for, so it decided to introduce a free basic membership level to get singles using the app.
Despite the well-executed roll-out and strong brand positioning, it’s a worrying early sign for Hinge and its new direction, as the industry watches on to see if its bold mobile subscription strategy catches on with online daters.
Read more about the relaunch here.