And if I want to buy a new house and I go from open house to open house, I could be doing other things.
However, we invest in those search costs because it’s worth it, because we get something we really want.
Similarly, women don’t have to worry about how they’ll be perceived for initiating a conversation.
“We have a phrase for these things: just blame it on Bumble,” says Mick.
Dawoon Kang, co-founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, says “the reason women haven’t been fully excited about using dating services is because there wasn’t one that understood how women want to date.” Sarah Mick, Chief Creative Officer at Bumble, says her app wants to end “digital cat-calling,” and to subtly give women more power in their dating interactions.
One way to view the problem is as a tragedy of the commons, where users acting in their (narrow) self-interest over-exploit a shared resource and therefore harm the common good, ultimately harming themselves.The apps strategically restrict choices to shift users out of a bad equilibrium – low-quality messages and low response rates – into a better one.While the dating market will always have a heart of its own, many other markets face similar challenges in the internet age.The classic example is overfishing: each individual fisherman is tempted to harvest the ocean just a little bit more, and improve his current catch, but if all the fishermen do so then the piscine population plummets and everyone suffers in the long run.In the case of online dating, the “shared resource” is women users’ attention: if every man “overfishes” then the women’s attention (and patience) runs out, and the women abandon the app altogether.The men (let alone the women) would benefit from a collective agreement to each send fewer and higher-quality messages, but have no way to co-ordinate such an agreement.When Coffee Meets Bagel launched, one selling point was its enforcement of such a policy: users received just one match per day.PAUL OYER: Well, in everyday life, we’re always going around making decisions and some of those decisions are very costly.So when I go to the grocery store, if I spend a lot of time scanning the shelves, I could be doing other things.Even for the men, the benefits may well be worth the price.Bumble has several other features that strategically influence users’ behaviour in order to lead more users into real conversations.Coffee Meets Bagel has a Woo button, where users pay (with the in-app currency) to send an extra signal to a specific someone.Bumble allows men to “extend” one, and only one, match each day, which tells the recipient that she’s (at least somewhat) special to him.Bumble’s unique feature is that only women can make the first move (that is, send the first message).