Consider yourselves blocked. That’s the message dating app Bumble has for its competitor Match Group after the latter filed a patent infringement lawsuit on Friday.
Bumble, founded and led by former Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe Herd, took out a full page ad in Tuesday’s edition of the New York Times to speak openly about its frustrations with Match Group, a company that has repeatedly tried to buy and copy Bumble.
“We are going to tell our full side of the story in court, and we feel confident in that,” Herd told Mashable in an interview on Monday.
Bumble and its executives could not comment directly on the intricacies of the lawsuit nor any pending offers with Match Group, but according to Herd, regardless of circumstances, Match Group simply wouldn’t be a match. Match Group owns dating apps Match.com, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder. Tinder, especially, does not align with Bumble’s values. Herd had founded Bumble shortly after she had filed a lawsuit against her former employee, alleging sexual harassment.
“Our brand and our values come before our bottom line.”
“Whoever it is we do end up partnering in with the future, another company or individual, or going at it alone and pursing an IPO at some point, we will do whatever speaks to the brand values. Our brand and our values come before our bottom line,” Herd said.
What are Bumble’s key values? The origin was women first, as in allowing women to make the first move in a dating app. And it’s grown from a dating app to a social network that emphasizes female empowerment.
“Bumble was founded with several key values: empowerment, equality and kindness. We are a company that was built to empower women and empower men to respect women. We want to create a place where all types of connections take place, a platform and a brand where women always make the first move,” Herd said.
In accordance with that brand value, Bumble decided to ban guns from appearing in users’ profiles in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Meanwhile, Tinder was cagey in its response and finally decided to be clear that it still allows guns, for the most part.
A strict gun ban didn’t resonate with everyone, but according to Herd, it was the “right decision” for Bumble.
“If you line up our values and then you add guns to the bottom of that, one of those things doesn’t fit,” Herd said. “What we’re also trying to achieve is ending misogyny and taking misogyny out of connections.”
Match Group sent this statement on Saturday in regards to the lawsuit against Bumble:
Match Group has invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development of our industry-leading suite of products. We are committed to protecting the intellectual property and proprietary data that defines our business. Accordingly, we are prepared when necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights against any operator in the dating space who infringes upon those rights.
Here’s Bumble’s letter in full:
Dear Match Group,
We swipe left on you. We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us.
We’ll never be yours. No matter the price tag, we’ll never compromise our values.
We swipe left on your attempted scare tactics, and on these endless games. We swipe left on your assumption that a baseless lawsuit would intimidate us. Given your enduring interest in our company, we expected you to know us a bit better by now.
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. Ask the thousands of users we’ve blocked from our platform for bad behavior.
In fact, that behavior? It only fuels us. It motivates us to push our mission further — to work harder each day to build a platform, community, and brand that promotes kindness, respect, and equality. That’s the thing about us. We’re more than a feature where women make the first move. Empowerment is in our DNA. You can’t copy that.
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.
We strive every day to protect our nearly 30 million users, and to engineer a more accountable environment. 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?
We remain focused on improving our users’ experience, and taking our mission worldwide, until every woman knows she has the power to make the first move, to go after what she wants, and to say “no” without fear.
We as a company will always swipe right for empowered moves, and left on attempts to disempower us. We encourage every user to do the same. As one of our mottos goes, “Bee kind or leave.”
We wish you the best, but consider yourselves blocked.