How to monetize online dating services - and do it safely

How to monetize online dating services - and do it safely

Dating and social services have become one of the world’s strongest subscription businesses. In 2018 Tinder was the nr 2 non-game app by worldwide revenue. Dating apps made up three of the top 10 apps by consumer spend last year in the UK and six of the top 10 in France. There are now over 1,500 dating apps or sites available altogether.

Probably everyone has a serious Tinder-couple in their inner circle - maybe even a Tinder marriage (if you know it or not). Using dating apps is less and less a taboo and more and more a common form of entertainment and socializing. Apps might actually be helping more people build committed relationships.

According to one study Tinder users are more likely to be looking for a committed relationship than are offline daters. When around 30 percent of men who are not dating online say it is “challenging to commit,” only 9 percent of male Tinder users say they find it difficult to maintain a committed relationship. It can be attributed to having a realistic idea of the dating pool ahead of you - dating apps give quite a comprehensive overview of the dating scene, whereas offline daters are merely speculating what the pool might look like.

This technosexuality also has a dark side, for example questionable effect on mental health. There have also been complaints about these apps being unfriendly to women. As a reaction to that, Whitney Wolfe Herd, a former Tinder vice-president, launched an app called Bumble which relies on women to make the first contact with men. The firm - where 85% of staff are women - is now valued at over $1B, according to Forbes magazine. Tinder launched a similar feature in India.

Dating apps are now a firmly established (and profitable) part of the dating scene. Dating services have to keep up with the market changes and take their business model where the people are. And the people are on mobile devices, apparently. This includes integrating mobile payment methods (e.g. DCB) to maximize the amount of users able to make payments. But monetizing dating services also raises the question of payments’ safety. Carrier billing is significantly more secure from the consumer perspective, because no personal data is transmitted or stored during the checkout process.

Today people are more afraid of online identity theft than being robbed on the street. During the past decade, there have been several data breaches where private information on millions of users has been exposed. The biggest of them was the Sony PlayStation Network case in 2011 when 77 million accounts were hacked and estimated losses amounted to 171M dollars. In 2014, Sony agreed to a preliminary $15 million settlement in a class action lawsuit over the breach.

The data is even more sensitive in the case of dating, where users are in quite a private and vulnerable situation to begin with. Most notable example of this is the Ashley Madison data breach: it is a site for enabling extramarital affairs. When it’s user data was hacked and leaked, it resulted in thousands of marriages and relationships breaking up, also at least few suicides have been linked to the incident. Now imagine the consequences, if for example a gay dating app data would be leaked in a conservative country.

All in all, the dating services audience is increasingly becoming mobile. Carrier billing is the perfect match for monetizing these services in more than one way. On top of convenience and accessibility, it can be presented as a safest payment option to users who are afraid that their identity may be exposed online.

Read more about the digital dating scene and it’s monetization strategies from our recent dating white paper: