Tinder in India is now rolling out a new feature that allows women to make the first move. The setting, called “My Move,” is similar to the core feature in rival dating app Bumble, which is currently enmeshed in multiple lawsuits with Tinder parent Match Group. Match sued Bumble for patent violations following failed acquisition attempts that would have made Bumble another Match Group brand along with Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, Match.com, and others.
In February this year, Tinder confirmed it would later begin to test a new option that would allow women to choose when to start a conversation, but said this would not the default setting, as it is in Bumble. Instead, Tinder would allow women to decide whether or not they wanted this feature toggled on, it explained then.
The company hadn’t yet rolled out the option at the time, but said it would come in a future update as a test, ahead of a public debut.
According a report from Reuters out this morning, which TechCrunch has also confirmed, Tinder has been quietly testing “My Move” in India for several months, and intends to roll out it out worldwide if all goes well.
The company says it’s formally announcing the feature’s arrival in India today. It’s first available to users in India on iOS, Tinder tells us.
To use the feature, women go into the app’s settings to enable it with a toggle switch. Once turned on, only they can start a conversation with their matches. Previously, anyone could start the chat after a match.
“At Tinder, we are constantly evolving our platform to help create a low-pressure environment where our users feel in charge of the connections they make,” said Tinder India GM, Taru Kapoor, in a statement provided by Tinder. “By giving our female users the ability to exclusively send the first message if and when they want to, My Move provides women the autonomy to choose how to engage with their matches and empowers them to control their experiences. We believe that true choice is letting women be who they are and empowering their choice to shape their own identity and experiences,” Kapoor added.
Tinder also notes that in India, conversations about dating are still “relatively nascent” but ideals are evolving quickly.
“Women, in particular, are seeking out ways to take charge of their romantic and social experiences – a phenomenon we see both across India’s cities and towns,” Kapoor said.
Bumble has grown to prominence by branding itself as a more female-friendly dating app, but the “women go first” feature has always felt a little bit of a gimmick.
What women tend to care about more is not who starts the chat, but how pleasant or awful that chat then becomes. In terms of dealing with straight up harassment, Bumble tends to take a public stance on banning online jerks – even going so far as to publicly shame and ban those who send nasty messages. (That is, if you believe that “Connor” was a real dude and not, say, a clever marketing stunt, which seems more likely.)
These moves – even if artificially crafted – help to set Bumble’s tone. Meanwhile, Tinder still has to deal with its “hookup app” reputation of days past. And present, if we’re being honest. Tinder is still the go-to place for on-demand sex, as HBO’s new Tinder-shaming dating app documentary Swiped points out.
In other words, Tinder simply adding in a Bumble-like feature alone won’t be that much of a threat to its rival, as the latter has positioned itself over the years to attract a different type of user. But it does go to show the extent of the bad blood between these two rivals, as Match Group has effectively taken the position that if it can’t have Bumble for itself, it will directly copy it.