Tinder is taking a cue from one of its main rivals. According to a report from MarketWatch, a future update will introduce the ability for female users to decide whether they want to initiate all conversations with future matches.
The ladies-message-first arrangement was made famous by Bumble, which was launched by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd following her acrimonious departure from the company. Unlike its rival, however, Tinder will not make ladies-first messaging the default; instead, any user who wishes to opt in can enable the feature in their settings.
“Often, women don’t really want the pressure of kicking off the conversation, but if they want it, that’s great,” Match Group Chief Executive Mandy Ginsberg told MarketWatch. “Giving people the choice versus telling people how to engage is the big difference.”
Tinder currently allows any user to make the first move after a mutual match has been made. The double opt-in design is one of the features that made Tinder famous and rocketed the app to the top of the download charts. Though Tinder remains the one to beat, Bumble has quickly grown into a powerhouse that presents one of the greatest threats to Tinder’s supremacy.
It’s no surprise, then, that Match Group has previously tried to acquire Bumble. The company reportedly made an acquisition offer for $450 million last year, but was turned down. Now it looks suspiciously like Tinder has resorted to swiping Bumble’s successful features instead, though Ginsberg insists the update is “not a reaction to any competitor.”
In fact, she told MarketWatch, it’s the result of years of behind-the-scenes talks and testing regarding how dating brands can better serve female users.
“We have to constantly listen to what women want and address their needs, not just on Tinder but on all products,” she said. She also emphasized that Match Group is working to “curtail bad behavior, any negative behavior or advances, and inappropriate communication” across all its dating properties.
Tinder declined to offer an official comment when asked about the MarketWatch report by TechCrunch.
Whitney Wolfe Herd opted for a diplomatic approach, simply saying “We applaud any company making business decisions that empower women.”
The feature could certainly be a step in that direction, but, as TechCrunch points out, it will require some interface changes to make it clear who has enabled ladies-first messaging and who is not, lest both parties get stuck in limbo waiting for the other to break the ice.
The new setting is not available yet, but look out for it to appear in an update on on Tinder later this year.