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Inside Super-Secret "Tinder Select" Dating App for CEOs, Supermodels, "Elites"

Tinder, the "hook-up dating app" that involves swiping photos of potential mates left or right depending on whether you like their profile, has been operating a members-only version of the platform called Tinder Select.

TechCrunch, which first revealed the existence of Tinder's "secret tier," reported that it "is meant to serve only the elite users on the app, including CEOs, supermodels, and other hyper-attractive upwardly affluent types."

One source using the app said it’s “for celebrities and people who do really well on Tinder.”

Tinder invited people to the platform, the article says, adding that some of these elite members are empowered to "nominate’ others." But the nominated can’t nominate anyone else -- which prevents the exclusivity of the members-only layer from spreading uncontrollably.

"It’s unclear exactly how Tinder decides who gets invited and who doesn’t, but the common thread among those on the Select app is that they’re generally attractive and relatively high-profile," TechCrunch reported.

So how does Tinder know who to invite?

Here it gets a little tricky.... One's Tinder Elo score, the app's proprietary algorithmic rating system, may come into play, the story posits.

Chances are, most of us wouldn't dare want to know what our score is. So reports FastCompany, in a story called I Found Out My Secret Internal Tinder Rating And Now I Wish I Hadn’t: The dating app uses data to give every user a desirability rating. Here’s how it works—and what happened when I discovered my number.....

Read that story here.

TechCrunch also noted that it obtained photos of Tinder Select, describing it as looking "way better than regular Tinder in terms of design. It features a gradient navy blue ‘S’ at the top, where the Tinder flame is normally found, and other blue accenting in place of the usual orange. Users who have access to the Tinder Select layer of the app can toggle on Tinder Select from the top bar.

"These users can switch back and forth from regular ol’ Tinder and Tinder Select, which makes sense considering Tinder Select may have a smaller pool of users in certain markets."

Tinder Select has been around for almost six months at least. Reportedly, Tinder is not seeking to build "hype" with the Select version. Rather, it's "a truly stealthy layer of the platform for the most attractive, eligible 1 percent. After all, six months (at least) seems like an inordinate amount of time to test a product without announcing it."

Screen shot of an actual invite of one of the chosen few....

Business Insider has revealed an inside look at Tinder select in a story posted this week, on June 14.
The writer of the story, Inside the secret version of Tinder for celebs and other VIPs — here’s what the invite-only 'Tinder Select' is like, seems to be a bit clueless about TechCrunch's report about the app allowing certain "elite" members" to nominate people for Select. But the nominated can’t nominate anyone else, etc.

So don't feel bad.

Nathan McAlone, who wrote the BI report, noted:

For the last few months, I've been testing Tinder Select, a secret version of the popular dating app...

To be clear, I am none of those three things. But Tinder Select has definitely made it easier for me to match with people, thanks to its supercharged algorithm.

Tinder has never officially acknowledged Tinder Select exists — Tinder declined to comment for this article — and there's a lot of misinformation out there about it. But here is what Tinder Select is actually like, from someone who has used it.

The way some press reports have described Tinder Select is like a virtual VIP section of the app, where celebs and high rollers can pop metaphorical overpriced bottles, and talk about how this club is "okay, but really only in the VIP."

That's not really what it is.

The first thing to note about Tinder Select is that it functions more or less the same way regular Tinder does. There is no separate feed where you can swipe only other denizens of Select World.

So when you fire up Tinder Select, what you get is a Tinder feed that looks the same as your normal one except for a few color changes. The most visible difference is that when you run across someone who is also a Tinder Select member, they appear with a blue border around their picture, and a badge that says "Select" along the top.

These people are few and far between, even in New York City, which suggests it's very much still in beta. In fact, there are so few people in Tinder Select, that when putting together this post, I couldn't find the profile of a Tinder Select member to screenshot and blur. That said, most of the Tinder Select members I've seen in the past worked in tech or in PR.

However, there's a supercharged algorithm

But even though you can't filter the feed, there is a huge way that Tinder Select changes your experience: the algorithm. In short, if you are a Tinder Select member, the algorithm is stacked in your favor — and I'm not talking about a little bit. It feels like some giant Cupid is sitting on your side of the scale.

The first evening I got Tinder Select, I swiped a few people, and it didn't seem that different. My feed felt a bit more curated, and front-loaded with people who likely were popular on Tinder. But it wasn't that noticeable. All in all, the experience felt largely the same.

But then I went to bed and woke up with over 20 new matches. I'm certainly not normally that popular, and that hadn't ever happened to me before.

My theory is that Tinder Select pushed my profile toward the front of the feeds of people I had swiped "yes" on, and it was working through my back catalog of swipes. Speaking with other Tinder Select members who wished to remain anonymous, they all said they noticed the same thing. That apparent boost has continued over the last few months using Tinder Select, and I've found that often if I spend some time swiping, a few hours later matches will start to pop up.

But it's not just people I have already swiped right on. I also feel like I run across more people who have "liked" me already as well. But it's hard to tell. One indication that my profile is getting preference in other people's feeds, even those I haven't yet come across, is that more people are "super liking" me than used to before I was in Tinder Select. Other Select members told me they've also noticed an increase in super likes.


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