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Our singles community is massive, and you're only a couple of clicks away from finding a date.At what point in the completely nightmarish process of online dating does one decide that it’s worth spending money on making that experience slightly less terrible? But a free-for-all doesn’t pay, which is why if you’ve ever spent time on Bumble, Ok Cupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, or any of the other zillion apps promising to make us feel a little less lonely, you’ve likely seen ads for a mysterious paid version of the very same service.And app makers claim it’s worth it: In June, Coffee Meets Bagel co-founder Dawoon Kang told Vice that men who pay the per month for the upgraded version have “a 43 percent higher number of connections (mutual likes) than non-payers” and that conversation lengths increase by 12 percent.Those I talked to who’ve used premium versions of free dating apps didn’t have a singular reason for doing so — their motivations ranged from wanting to expand their location-based potential matches to avoiding the stigma of being discovered by Facebook friends on a kink-friendly app in a conservative town.

I figured if I could see the matches, I could at least see who was swiping on me.And what the freemium pricing model did for online games is becoming the strategy used by dating apps today.They’re free to use, but the psychology of gaming suggests that the more you use them, the more tempting it is to advance to the next level.They offer perks like read receipts, the ability to see who’s already swiped right, and a temporary “boost” that automatically puts you at the top of the pile for a certain amount of time.The practice has a long history: Ok Cupid rolled out its A-List feature as early as 2009, before Tinder and Bumble even existed.

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