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Tinder, America’s fast-growing online-dating juggernaut, last week unveiled its first big branding partnership aimed at its core audience of millennial fling-seekers: a neon-drenched video-ad campaign hyping Bud Light’s mega-keg party, “Whatever, USA.” Meanwhile, over at Tinder’s less-youthful rival e Harmony, a recent ad saw its 80-year-old founder counseling a single woman besieged by bridesmaid’s invitations to take some time (and, of course, the site’s 200-question compatibility quiz) to find that special someone: “Beth, do you want fast or forever?
” Both companies are dominant forces in America’s .2 billion online-dating industry, which in the last few years has quickly become a bedrock of the American love life.
With the industry expected to grow by another $100 million every year through 2019, analysts say the dating game is increasingly becoming a battle of the ages, with both sides hoping their age-based gambles yield the most profit from those looking for love.
It’s not clear that the young and perky are the best market for corporate matchmakers.
Two-thirds of the singles and fling-seekers in America’s online-dating market are older than 34, IBISWorld data show.
Pew Research surveys show 45-to-54-year-olds in America are just as likely to date online as 18-to-24 year olds, either because they’re divorced or far from the easier dating scenes of college campuses and first jobs.
Tinder shook up the dating world, known for its long personality quizzes and profile-based matchmaking, with its ego-boosting, hook-up-friendly, mobile flirting app: Two daters are presented with each other’s photos, and if (and only if) they both like what they see and swipe right, the service hooks them up with a chat box, where the daters can take it from there.
After taking off on college campuses, Tinder now boasts 26 million matches a day, and its leaders have invested heavily in maintaining its reputation as a hook-up haven for young people.
When Tinder last month rolled out its Tinder Plus upgrade, the service said it would charge singles over the age of 30 twice as much for the premium service, about a month.
But e Harmony has doubled down on its outreach to older, love-serious singles, preaching anew its “29 dimensions of compatibility” that they say have led to more than a million marriages nationwide.
The service has spent more than billion in advertising in recent years, largely on TV ads for older audiences far removed from Tinder’s dating pool.
“The Tinder thing is very exciting, because they’ve caught the attention of young people in America, but the only thing that’s wrong with it is what’s been wrong with dating for a thousand years. I have presided over the funerals of more marriages than any psychologist, and it is miserable.” Surrounded by rivals like Hinge, Zoosk and Wyldfire, Tinder has nevertheless tripled its user base since the start of 2014 and now reaches more than 3 percent of all active American cell-phone users, an analysis from 7Park Data shows.
They put all their money on one variable: looks,” said e Harmony founder Neil Clark Warren, a grandfather of nine who’s been married for 56 years. It’s also become increasingly addictive: The average user checked the app 11 times a day, seven minutes at a time, the firm said in 2013. It is one of several dating sites in Inter Active Corp., the monolithic New York media conglomerate, which also owns Match.com, OKCupid and a heap of shallower dating pools, including Gen XPeople Meet.com, Divorced People and Little PeopleTags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating