Tinder pioneered the staple we see in almost every dating app today: swipe right to like, swipe left to dismiss. Hinge, which launched roughly six months after Tinder in February 2013, followed this archetype. Hinge became the less sketchy, less superficial version of Tinder, showing some text with each photo and only potential matches who shared a Facebook friend. But starting today, the app is ditching its swipe-based routine in an effort to be the relationship app for millennials, what it's referring to as a "Match.com for the next generation." Instead of swiping, users will create a "story" on their profile that other users can comment on and tap to "like." It's a dating app that masquerades as a social network, making it slightly more user — er, dater — friendly than a traditional dating app.
Potential matches scroll up and down to see your photos, as well as responses to prompts such as, the next vacation you want to go on or your dream superpower. These prompts are intended to ease the frustrations of summing yourself up in 300 witty characters. Instead of sending you an opening line that probably says, "Hey, how's it going?" someone who is interested in you can add a note to a photo or Like it. These comments aren't public to other users, so there's no chance of Hinge turning into an Instagram-like popularity contest. But there's a catch: Hinge will now cost $7 per month. Users are unlikely to be happy about paying for something that used to be free, but Hinge's founder, Justin McLeod, thinks that's a good thing. "We are sure we'll lose some people, but we want to lose some people, frankly," McLeod told Refinery29. The goal of this new "members-only community for relationship-seeking millennials" is to weed out those looking for hookups, or people who pass the time casually swiping but never engaging in conversation. Research conducted by Hinge found that only 15% of matches on the app led to actual conversations. For those who still question the $7 charge, Hinge is quick to point out that this is still far less than what competitors, such as eHarmony, charge. McLeod initiated Hinge's transformation after Vanity Fair published a popular article about what Nancy Jo Sales called "the dating apocalypse" in September 2015. This apocalypse, created by swiping apps, was full of lots of sex, ghosting, and misogyny, and few real relationships. Whether removing the swiping and making people pay for the app will lead to more relationship-focused users remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure: There are no shortage of creative alternatives on the dating landscape. Hinge has a lot more competition than just Tinder out there.