Economic theory dating

Coffee Meets Bagel has a Woo button, where users pay (with the in-app currency) to send an extra signal to a specific someone.

Bumble allows men to “extend” one, and only one, match each day, which tells the recipient that she’s (at least somewhat) special to him.

The men (let alone the women) would benefit from a collective agreement to each send fewer and higher-quality messages, but have no way to co-ordinate such an agreement.

When Coffee Meets Bagel launched, one selling point was its enforcement of such a policy: users received just one match per day.

In the online job market it’s trivially “cheap” to submit one more for one more role, so employers receive hundreds of unsuitable suitors for every open position.

Online apartment-hunters and apartment-owners face similar levels of inundation and frustration.

The executives at the apps themselves tend to see the problem as one of gender dynamics; their innovations are intended to tackle the unhappy experiences that too many women report.

With certain tweaks, some of the strategies pioneered by the dating apps could be used in other markets.

Where love leads the way, perhaps others will follow.

Traditional heterosexual dating apps have a fatal flaw: women get flooded with low-quality messages – at best vapid, at worst boorish – to the point where checking the inbox becomes an unappealing chore.

Partly as a result, men see most of their messages ignored.

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