Did You Know Tinder Has a Secret Desirability Code?
Guess what? Tinder, the hottest mobile dating app now has an algorithm to secretly decide if you’re hot, or not.
The story broke when Fast Company’s Austin Carr got a glimpse of his score in a conversation with Tinder’s CEO, Sean Rad.
On BBC Radio 4, I discussed this feature on You & Yours with Winifred Robinson.
The BBC talked to some Tinder users and most weren’t excited to know they were being scored based on their desirability. The majority didn’t want to know their rating.
You can listen to the segment How the Dating App Tinder Calculates Its Desirability Score here. Click on Tinder when the segment opens up to hear our lively discussion.
How does Tinder calculate its desirability score?
Julie: When it comes to the mobile dating algorithms of Tinder, it’s a bit of a big secret. Nobody knows exactly how attractiveness is measured, but what we do know is that it’s based on things such as the amount of right swipes, the amount of mutual matches, and how well you have made your mobile dating profile. If you have a profile that is not filled out, you probably won’t be as desirable as someone who fills out their profile and uses all 6 photos, and actually writes a 2-3-sentence description of who they are and what they’re looking for.
When you say it’s counting right swipes, what’s the significance of the right swipe on Tinder?
Julie: when you swipe right it means “yes, I’m interested in this person” and if the person who is viewing your profile also decides to swipe right because they think you’re attractive, then you have a mutual match and you have the ability to chat with each other in a text-like form until you decide to meet in person.
Men right swipe more often. What are women doing?
Julie: Women are getting bombarded with potential matches and when they see people that don’t look very good, have blurry photos, or saying that they’re just looking to hook up, they’re going to swipe left. They’re very picky. Women will look at the profile and decide if they might want to go on a date with them. Men, on the other hand, are visual. It’s hot or not for them, and they just swipe right on almost anyone just to get a match.
Was it a big surprise when the truth emerged that Tinder is also calculating the attractiveness of people on the site?
Julie: I wasn’t surprised at all about Tinder’s new ELO score, that’s what they call it, with their hidden algorithms to determine if somebody is attractive or not. We’ve seen this with many other dating sites, including Ok Cupid, and for Ok Cupid premium members, you can actually see who has a higher rating or a lower rating on the attractiveness scale. So I’m not surprised. What I am surprised about is that it’s a secret for now, but I have a hunch that at some point they’re going to add that as a premium paid service for people that only want to swipe right on people that have a high desirability score.
Is it just an algorithm on Tinder and similar apps that work out how desirable you are? Is there any human input? Does anyone who works for the company look through your description and make a judgment or look at your photographs?
Julie: There are many dating companies that actually review the profiles and the photos before actually approving those. We see sites like Match.com and JDate that have a strict moderation policy where all photos and any changes to the profile have to get approved by a customer service team. So there are some checks and balances in place, but not necessarily on a mobile app like Tinder.
If you think you’re more interesting and attractive than the people you’re being matched up with, is there anything you can do about that?
Julie: I would not want to know. If I’m more attractive than the girl next door, then that’s someone else’s decision. But with this attractiveness level, it’s really an ego boost or an ego bust.
If you use these apps, is there anything you could do to boost your own rating?
Julie: When I work with singles, I actually critique and create Tinder profiles and profiles on other dating sites, I make sure that the 6 photos are really terrific. And the first photo is the first glance – you need to be looking into the camera and smiling. And if you’re a woman, I suggest you wear red because red is proven to be the color of love, romance, and the stop sign. Guys swipe right to more women wearing red. If you’re a guy, write something on your profile. And if you’re looking for something serious, say something in your profile like “not interested in a hookup,” “looking for the real deal.” And, of course, please no selfies in the mirror, and wear a shirt.
For more information on how to be successful with Tinder and other mobile dating apps, click here.
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Watch our new book trailer for the revised edition of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online.