Worldwide dating app Tinder is opening an outpost in Ghent where 33 Belgian IT professionals will work to develop the app, making Ghent the first European city to enhance it.
The American company was founded in September 2012 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Now also located in Ghent, the Belgian company Massive Media will co-develop technical aspects as well as product development.
"An app like this evolves every day, there are constant improvements and new possibilities. Our job is to find new and better ways to connect people – in the case of Tinder from a romantic standpoint," Massive Media CEO Joost Roelandts told De Morgen.
"We will now independently renew and improve a number of parts of the app. Because we are located in Europe, we can also focus on growth in international markets. We have experience in that area because our products are also available all over the world."
The rise of Tinder
Tinder has dramatically changed the dating landscape since its launch in 2012, with online dating more popular than ever since match.com – which owns Tinder – blazed the trail in the 90s.
While people previously were limited to location and their own social networks, dating apps allow users to cast a much wider net in the search for a potential partner. Pew Research revealed that 59% of adults believe that dating is a good way to meet people. For the LGBTQ+ community, this can be particularly helpful in countries where being gay is illegal.
However, using the app can sometimes be exhausting, with its seemingly endless supply of dates. However, the app algorithm can sometimes make it difficult to actually secure a date.
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In addition, some users feel that not everyone on the app is interested in going on actual dates. "There are hundreds of timewasters on there who have nothing better to do than mess you around," said frustrated blogger Sara Brown on the BBC.
Moreover, dating apps such as Tinder are not the most female-friendly environments. Tinder's dating app rival, Bumble, specifically addressed concerns by women and created an app in which women take the initiative.
Yet despite such hurdles, the online dating landscape keeps growing. Tinder is available in over 190 countries and used in over 40 languages. The five countries with the most Tinder accounts are the US, UK, Brazil, Canada, and France.
In an article published by Reuters, it was noted that Tinder has 66 million active monthly users. Of these, 78.1% are men and 21.9% are women. According to Tinder, 50% of its users are between 18-24.