Dating App Tinder to Launch Verification Program for Stars (Exclusive)
This story first appeared in the March 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Tinder has sparked a fire in Hollywood.
The mobile dating app has become popular among a set that has included Jamie Kennedy, Lindsay Lohan and Ashton Kutcher. Celebrity use has increased to a point that Tinder plans to launch a verification program similar to Twitter's famous checkmarks.
Tinder CEO Sean Rad tells THR some of the photo-centric app's high-profile users make few matches because people assume they are fake. Tinder requires users to create profiles through Facebook, but "sometimes celebrities use different names on Facebook," he says while lounging in the lobby of the W Hotel in Austin during South by Southwest. "This will allow celebrities to enter Tinder in a different way."
Tinder was born out of a startup incubator owned by Barry Diller's IAC in 2012 and first launched on college campuses. The app quickly has become part of the pop culture lexicon and today boasts more than 750 million profile ratings and more than 10 million new matches a day. It also got a boost during the Winter Olympics in Sochi after U.S. snowboarder Jamie Anderson mentioned it during an interview with Us Weekly.
Tinder syncs with a person's Facebook profile to pull photos, friends and interests. It then surfaces potential matches to users based on mutual friends, common interests and proximity. Stars will still sign up for the app using Facebook but then will be able to change their names.
Because of the location factor, usage often picks up during festivals or large gatherings like the Olympics. In fact, Rad says he heard that some Tinder users congregated near the Dolby Theatre on Oscar Sunday in the hope of matching with a celebrity.
Tinder chief marketing officer Justin Mateen adds that its double opt-in system -- users can chat only after both "swipe right" -- makes it a safe space for stars: "Tinder gives them the control to filter through the noise and communicate with people they want to know."
*This story was updated to reflect that Josh Groban is not a Tinder user.