dating apps bumble
Photo: Courtesy of Bumble

Dating on the apps can get messy. Just hope when it happens, it's not in public.

 

Unfortunately that's the scenario for two of the hottest dating services, whose long-simmering tango of mutual ambivalence exploded with a long public insult followed by an also-long public clapback, like the Pinot-fueled Instagram posts of aggrieved exes. Except this involved a full-page ad in the "New York Times."

 

On Monday, it was reported that Tinder parent company Match was suing Bumble, another one of those app-based swipey-dating things, for patent infringement and misuse of intellectual property. Match alleges that Bumble copied "Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise."

 

Interesting pickup technique: See, Match keeps trying to buy Bumble, having offered $450 million in November, which the company declined. But everyone deals with rejection differently.

 

On Tuesday, Bumble responded to the lawsuit with a long letter posted on its blog, emailed to subscribers and published as that "Times" ad, declaring that the company was going to "swipe left" on Match's "multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us. We'll never be yours."

 

 

Seems like there's some history there. Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe was a cofounder of Tinder, which she sued for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. They settled the lawsuit out of court, with no admission of wrongdoing. Wolfe then founded Bumble, which marketed itself as a woman-friendly alternative to Tinder, and promptly became more popular than Tinder among millennials and college students. It has also branched out into professional networking with growing success. Bumble and its 23 million users are now valued at $1 billion, versus $8 billion for all of Match — which includes the paleolithic match.com site (what's a dating site?).

So it's clear why Tinder would be pursuing Bumble. But it's clear the as of today, the two are at far opposite ends of the table. Bumble's letter continued: "We — a woman-founded, women-led company — aren't scared of aggressive corporate culture. That's what we call bullying, and we swipe left on bullies."

The company added: "So when you announced recently, in another attempt to intimidate us, that you were going to try to replicate our core, women-first offering and plug it in to Tinder, we applauded you for the attempt to make that subsidiary safer… Instead of swinging back and forth between trying to buy us, copy us, and sue us, why don't you spend that time taking care of bad behavior on your platforms?"

And with that, users of both apps shuddered at the prospect of having to take sides.