Hinge has been the go-to app for serious swipers for a while now. Launched in 2015, the app was originally designed to deepen the experience of app-based dating, focusing on users’ long-form answers to questions and prompts rather than just on their looks.
Hinge has been going strong for a few years, and in 2019 it was purchased by the Match Group, which is best known for Match.com.
The new owners have been making some changes at Hinge HQ, including a new look and now new features too. The most obvious recent addition is Hinge Standouts, so, what are they and why should you care about them?
What Are Standouts?
Standouts are the best of the best of Hinge. Or at least the best for you personally.
Your Standouts list, which can be reached from the app’s main page when you click the star icon in the menu bar, is a curated list of users you’re most likely to hit it off with.
As it’s short and sweet, you can scroll through all ten of your standouts easily without wasting half your day glued to your phone.
Well, that’s theoretically possible, but phones are just so hypnotic, I’m sure you’ll find some other app to stare at… and there’s always your main Hinge feed too…
Your Standouts feed is updated daily with ten fresh users that Hinge feels are a perfect fit for you.
That means you get seventy standouts a week – surely even the pickiest dater would find someone they liked in a list of their seventy best matches?
How Hinge Standouts Work
Your Standouts are chosen by… wait for it… an algorithm! This means that, essentially, some very smart data scientists and app developers got their heads together and worked out the best way to predict who swipers are going to like based on previous activity.
So, if you usually go for dark-haired beauties who love hiking, you’ll find a whole load of those in your Standouts.
Of course, I am neither a scientist nor an app developer and probably not smart enough to be either, so that’s a massively simplified explanation.
You won’t find just one type of user, whether that be based on looks, interests or prompt answers, in your Standouts as the picks are based on thousands of data points and a variety of activities you’ve carried out on Hinge.
Hinge themselves claim that Standouts are picked for you from all the users with the best prompt answers.
While in some cases that may be true, both because Hinge can probably see how other users are interacting with other users’ profiles and therefore how long they are spending reading and interacting with their answers and because they can see how in-depth the answers are, it is also true that Standouts are… well… stone-cold hotties.
So, you won’t get any blindingly boring or empty profiles from those in Standouts, but if we’re realistic I don’t believe that it’s just being incredibly interesting that gets people included in the daily listings!
Can’t I Just Find These Users Anyway?
Perplexingly, Standouts are removed from your normal feed and only available through the Standouts tab. There isn’t yet any information on whether this is permanent or time-limited, so we’ll just have to wait and see and I’ll update readers when I have the info myself.
Presumably, this is an individualized thing, as everyone’s feed is a little different anyway, so Mandy in London might be in your Standouts, yet she might also appear in your mate Jeff’s feed even though he’s sitting beside you.
Theoretically, this isn’t really a problem. It’s nice to have all your most likely picks in one place, and only negatively impacts on the poor left-behinds in the normal Hinge feed. But that’s before we get onto the whole Roses thing…
What Are The Roses On Hinge?
Okay, so Standouts are a good idea and I get that the Match group needs to monetize Hinge. But really, roses? The heyday of the Bachelor was at least a decade ago.
The Rose is sort of a unit of currency on Standouts. It’s also the only way you can contact Mandy in London short of pushing Jeff over and grabbing his phone.
You get one free rose a week and after that, you have to pay for them.
You can’t like a Standout’s pictures or message them normally, you can only send the rose and then wait (I assume with bated breath, whatever that means) to see if they will get back to you.
And of course, that’s not so bad, it’s not much different to sending a like or a message (apart from the idea of sending a rose being inherently slightly embarrassing to most of Hinge’s Millennial and Gen Z user base), except that it is because after that first weekly rose you have to buy any additional roses you want to send and they ain’t cheap.
In fact, one rose costs $3.99, six cost $19.99, and 12 go for $29.99.
I’m not against paid features on a dating app, I know they have to make money, but that’s a little steep to essentially send a like that’s liable to be ignored anyway!
When To Send Your Hinge Rose
The other issue with Roses is that your free one arrives on a Sunday, but you get a new set of Standouts daily. So what are the possible scenarios?
You’re lying in your bed, hungover, eating pizza and swiping through Hinge and your new rose appears.
Screw it, you see someone cute, so you send off the rose. But the next day, with fresh, non-hungover eyes you’re much more interested in someone else and you’re out of roses!
Of course, you can buy a fresh one (and obviously this is what Hinge wants to happen) but you still feel a little stupid. And out of pocket.
Scenario two, you’re a person with self-control, you’re not even a bit hungover on Sunday when your rose appears.
No one is quite perfect all week, but then it’s Saturday night and your Standouts for that day really are not standing out for you, yet you can’t stop thinking about someone from Tuesday’s batch. Your rose can’t help you now, that person’s gone…
Hinge wants you to be in pickle number one, obviously, and maybe pickle number two will push you there in the future. But again, the price of Roses feels a little prohibitive to buying more and it would all feel a lot fairer if Standouts accumulated over the week or you got a couple of Roses to use!
The Verdict on Hinge Standouts
At the moment, Standouts feels like a good idea with a few creases to iron out. The Roses are just too expensive for an app used by younger people, especially with only one free per week.
This could be solved with more free Roses or a lower price per Rose. I mean, I’m the irresponsibly Hinge user from Standouts Scenario number one above.
I’m buying Roses if they’re 99 cents because that’s not even a dollar and therefore basically free? Maybe the Hinge scientists can check the working on that for me. Standouts themselves are great – from what I’ve seen they’re accurate, with every one of mine being someone I would swipe right on.