Why Tinder referral program never worked in India?

Shaadi.com gets the majority of users through referrals.

Both Tinder & Shaadi.com

  • are network effect products.

  • have an overlapping target audience.

  • are free to try out.

Why did Tinder have no referral success then?

Enter - the "Taboo effect"

For most Indians, Pre-marriage dating is a taboo.

Arranged marriage is a well-accepted social norm.

Every referral has two major components.

  1. Referral incentive.

  2. Social capital.

For average taboo category tinder users,

Referral incentive they get <<< Social capital they lose.

You put an Rs.1000 cashback on a successful referral for tinder and still get the same result.