Tinder is going back to its roots. What started on university campuses is going back there, with the launch of a dedicated version of the dating service specifically for students: Tinder U.
“You’re invited to Tinder University”, the startup screen says, but that’s potentially a misnomer. Like Facebook when it first launched, Tinder U is only open to American University students, and only people with a .edu email address, geolocated on campus will be able to sign up.
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That’s a decent way of keeping out non-students, though not absolutely flawless. Staff and former students may also retain a .edu address, but in general terms it’s a good way of keeping the app exclusive to students on the university.
Although the verification requires students to be on their campus, users can opt to see other students beyond the immediate geofence, meaning that those enrolled at NYU could still see those from Columbia University, say.
The advantage for users is pretty clear: students can mingle with their peers without having to fend off the advances of creepy admirers from elsewhere.
For Tinder, the advantage is possibly even greater: the app already skews towards people in their 20s, but if it can become the default for 18-21-year-old undergraduates, there’s a larger pool of people to convert to paid users.
Or as Mandy Ginsberg – CEO of parent company the Match Group – said on the recent Q2 earnings call: “We believe it is critical that Tinder maintains a strong foothold at universities around the globe, especially given that every 18-year-old who starts college is building a social life from scratch making new friends and starting new relationships.”
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Aside from being the most avid users of Tinder, it makes double sense for the Match Group to double down on the young.
Facebook’s own dating platform isn’t too far away, and while the social network has over two billion users worldwide, younger generations aren’t embracing it half as much as their predecessors. Even if Facebook dating is a huge success, the university market is likely still the Match Group’s to lose.
Will you be getting on Tinder U? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.