Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Tinder’s Opaque, Unfair Pricing Algorithm


The research — which spanned five continents — reveals that within a single country, consumers can be quoted up to 31 unique price points for a Tinder Plus subscription. Further, some people are charged up to five times more for the exact same service: In the Netherlands, prices ranged from $4.45 to $25.95. In the U.S., they ranged from $4.99 to $26.99.

Consumers International and Mozilla also determined that Tinder’s personalized pricing algorithm can charge older users more money. On average across the six countries investigated, 30-49 year-olds were charged 65.3% more than 18-29 year-olds. This is occurring even after Tinder faced a $24 million lawsuit for unfair pricing based on age in California.

Florian Mueller:

The Dutch ACM is not just an antitrust enforcement agency. They have a broader mandate, which is why I likened them to the FTC. They do look into all sorts of issues. Now, the problem they are facing here is simply this: people wonder why they are pursuing their Apple case at all, given that it benefits Match Group and a few other foreign companies, but no major Dutch player, and the answer is the “C” in the Autoriteit’s name. The argument is that it’s about Dutch consumers. Now, if there is one huge problem affecting dating-app users in the Netherlands that is worth looking into and addressing, the ACM should follow up on Mozilla and Consumers International’s first-rate investigative work. Those non-profits do the job that organizations like the ACM should be doing in terms of “your tax dollars (or euros) at work.”


Regrettably, the Tinder pricing scandal is also unhelpful to Epic Games. The Fortnite maker co-founded its Coalition for App Fairness with Match Group and Spotify. It’s bad enough that an amicus brief proposed by the CAF was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the most important regional appeals court in the world--it’s arguably more important to the global economy than almost any national top court. Now a CAF co-founder faces a major credibility problem when it comes to the question of who really overcharges app users.

Damien Petrilli:

Apple could bring this in the Netherland court, to show how shady are dating Apps and how bad it would be without Apple’s control.

However, they can’t because it would backfire: showing how unsafe is the App Store as all dating apps were reviewed and approved.


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