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Tribes: all the better to deliver targeted advertising to manwhores! "Boys who prefer kissing other boys will be glad to know that Grindr, the location-based hookup app focused on gay men, has today released a huge update with a handful of new features and a brand new look and feel, including an all-new logo. To date, Grindr has over 7 million downloads worldwide, with over one billion chat messages sent each month and 1 billion photos sent every two months. This is up from 4 million downloads in June of 2012, with 1 million daily uniques, though founder Joel Simkhai clarifies that between 2.5 and 3 million of those downloads are monthly active users. In terms of conversion rates, Simkhai merely states that “a good percentage” of users upgrade to the Grindr Xtra subscription model, and reminds that Grindr has made its way into the top 15 highest grossing apps in the past five years, number one in social. “When I look at most of the top 20 highest grossing apps they don’t seem sustainable,” said Simkhai. “They’re mostly games. The fact that we’re there is a testament to what we’ve become to gay men, a basic utility.” In terms of revenue, 75 percent of Grindr’s income comes from Grindr Xtra, and the other 25 percent comes from Grindr’s advertising business, which is split evenly between ad network-powered ads and in-house ads sold by the sales team. As a long-time and regular user, Simkhai felt that a huge revamp was in order for the five-year old app, which has remained mostly unchanged over the course of its life. The update brings with it a number of changes, most notably the introduction of Tribes (a way to categorize yourself beyond just gay). These let users self-identify with various tribes (which include Bear, Clean-cut, Daddy, Discreet, Geek, Jock, Leather, Otter, Poz, Rugged, Trans and Twink). Grindr is using this form of identity expression to make money. Free Grindr users can only identify with one tribe, whereas Grindr Xtra members can choose up to three. After years of being able to get away with just giving the user access to gay guys nearby, Simkhai has expressed that users are looking for something more specific than just gay. “Now there are so many guys, people would rather spend their time finding what they’re really looking for,” said Simkhai. According to the founder, Tribes are more about increasing speed and optimization of the app as a tool rather than facing competition from niche-based apps like Scruff and Recon."


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