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Tinder Is Building Out Its Ad Product

The dating app might finally make some money.


Dating app Tinder is ready to make some money.

The Los Angeles-based startup, which isn’t generating any substantial revenue, is building out its first ad product, according to multiple people familiar with the company’s plans.

Tinder has also approached a handful of potential ad partners, including Facebook and Twitter, which could help the company fill its ad space once a product has launched, according to these same sources. Twitter owns mobile ad network MoPub, and Facebook has multiple ad networks that Tinder could use.

It also looks as though the company has found someone to lead that charge: Brian Norgard — co-founder of ephemeral messaging startup Tappy, which Tinder acquired in January — is now Tinder’s VP of Advertising Products, according to a separate source. Norgard and Tinder co-founder Sean Rad worked together previously at Adly, a brand marketing company Rad founded in 2009.

A Tinder spokesperson told Re/code it doesn’t comment on its product roadmap.

It’s unclear what this ad offering might look like; our sources say it’s still early in the process for Tinder. But bringing on revenue, specifically with advertising, wouldn’t be a total shocker for the company.

For starters, IAC, the media company that owns a controlling stake in Tinder, said 10 months ago the dating app would be advertising by the end of the year. Things never materialized.

Then Rad was asked to give up his CEO role in October. He’s still CEO, but IAC is still actively hunting for a replacement, according to sources, at which point Rad will stay on as President. So it’s possible those plans were pushed back.

IAC mentioned Tinder’s ad strategy again during its most recent earnings call in February. Greg Blatt, chairman of IAC’s The Match Group, said he expects “[Tinder] ad revenue to be a meaningful part of the mix,” but wouldn’t specify timing beyond saying the company expects “some ad revenue this year.”

Tinder has the potential to be a valuable network for advertisers. Users share important targeting info as part of their profile, including gender, age and location. Plus, you can assume that most users are single, or may be looking for a good place to bring a date, like a local bar or restaurant.

It’s not hard to imagine an ad for one of those bars appearing within the app every 15 or 20 swipes. TV networks have also used Tinder to help promote programming. Fox has created fake profiles of characters to promote its show “The Mindy Project,” for example; it just didn’t pay Tinder to do so.

With a new CEO on the way and a highly engaged user base — Tinder generates 14 million matches every 24 hours, according to Forbes — it’s easy to see why IAC may want to expedite the revenue process.

Ads won’t be Tinder’s only play. The company has also said it will offer a “premium” version of its product, Tinder Plus, although that’s not set to launch in the U.S. until March.

Update: Tinder is already testing its premium product in a few international regions and makes a small amount of revenue from those tests. The product has not launched globally yet.

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