Hinge has been around since 2012 and in June 2018 Match Group acquired 51% stake in the company with a 12 month window to acquire remaining shares. In February 2019 it did just that. It’s an unfortunate exit from a customer perspective (since Match is where all dating apps go to die) but I am hopeful the some of the bugs will at least worked out now that it has more resources from a technical perspective. Hinge is notorious for having a glitchy app. If you are OCD about that kind of thing or always concerned about what does it mean when I do X but Y happens, this is not the app for you. If you can overlook this major con, there is some great hope for you.
Hinge brands itself as the app that is designed to be deleted. Instead of a quick swipe ala Tinder, Bumble, you have to tap an ‘X’ for no and check mark for yes. Sounds great – but that’s where the optimism stops. Not all Hinge data fields are required so you will encounter some incomplete or lazy profiles. I get that people want some privacy but there are ways to be a little vague about your job (list industry/job type vs company name and title), but there needs to be more required fields in order to have a better user experience from both sides. Incomplete profiles are viewed as scammers, not serious or lazy – do you want to be viewed as such?
Even if you manage to fill out all the recommended fields, there are the prompts. Hinge has some cute prompts and some cringeworthy prompts you can view some of my favorites here. You can tell a lot about a person they way they not only choose their prompts but answer them as well. I am all for making it easy to X out any profiles that self-sabotage their efforts on dating apps rather than nudging them to do better. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. When it comes to prompts, one cute, playful prompt/answer is fine but if you don’t reveal anything about yourself, your passions, curiosities, ambitions, guilty pleasures etc. then you can’t expect people to take you seriously. Hinge is notorious for cliche answers to prompts (see if how many cliche profile answers you have by reviewing the dating profile bingo card). Conversely, Coffee Meets Bagel uses standard prompts where people are more thoughtful and detailed in their responses.
So you filled out the fields, added some good prompts and answers now comes for the photos. Hinge (unlike other apps) requires 6 photos. This is a bit challenging for many folks on dating apps who don’t have that many decent photos. Unfortunately, many take the stand of ‘you only look as attractive as your worst photo’ so if you add filler photos to meet the requirement, you can be self-sabotaging your efforts. This seems to be one of the biggest pain points of the apps for users but there are ways around if you know who to ask.
Once the profile is set up you are now ready to start swiping but not so fast. Hinge is popular in many large cities but a little thin in suburbs where Tinder is still King (in terms of # of profiles, engagement). But assuming there are enough people in your area, demographics (mostly used by 25-45 year olds) then the tapping function of Hinge is where many people get flustered. The main knock on the dating app is that it appears tapping X or the checkmark does not register and the profile re-appears. Similarly messages sent to profiles appear to not go through as profiles re-appear. Did it get sent? Was it a bug or did it go through and should I not seem needy. These are all the things going through people’s minds when using Hinge.
One last pain is account settings. Many folks are confused about receiving free premium accounts, others get locked out of accounts and many unanswered questions take forever just to get acknowledge by customer service (a common theme in the Hinge world).
Once you decide who to X and who you like, there comes the decision whether to like or send a message. I wrote more about this here. Even if you manage to send a custom, thoughtful message, there is no guarantee you will get a reply. It might be your biased approach or it could be your skim profile or photos. If you have questions about which apps to use or need feedback on your dating profiles, read about my offerings here. Once you decide who to X and who you like, there comes the decision whether to like or send a message. I wrote more about this here. Even if you manage to send a custom, thoughtful message, there is no guarantee you will get a reply. It might be your biased approach or it could be your skim profile or photos.
Hinge is one of several apps I recommend to folks but there are others I recommend as well depending on age, gender, orientation, location, photos etc. Understanding who is on the app, what you are looking for and what you have to offer can dictate how successful you are on dating apps.