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.
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.
Kang reports that American dating apps traditionally had a ratio of roughly 60% men to 40% women, “which doesn’t sound that extreme, but if you actually take into account activity level – guys are twice as active as women – the gender ratio becomes even more lopsided; in the active user base it’s more like .” This kind of skewed ratio can have huge effects on users’ incentives; as Tim Harford, an economist, has written, even a slight imbalance in a market radically shifts power away from the over-represented group, as they are forced to compete hard or remain single.
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.
Bumble’s unique feature is that only women can make the first move (that is, send the first message).
Of course, this greatly restricts activity for the men, but the restriction breaks the great coordination problem and solves the tragedy of the commons: since women are not being inundated with messages, the men they match have a real chance of a date.
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.
For a man, his potential dating pool starts out narrow and widens with time.
A 25 year old guy friend of mine told me a man in his 30s once told him this is the toughest age for him to date.
During a 3-month period of what felt like an Ok Cupid binge, the "Hourglass Theory" materialized in my mind and I couldn't help but share it with my cubicle friends nearby.