ASSOCIATED PRESS - July 15 - Seven Nigerians are facing charges after prosecutors say they targeted people on dating sites and swindled them out of ~$1.5M. Five have been arrested and two are fugitives.
CTECH - July 13 - Former AOL and dating service Badoo executive Amit Shafrir explains why he believes the recently announced Facebook dating service stands little chance of succeeding.
Single app policy Facebook has announced that it will incorporate its dating service into its flagship app. A separate app focused on dating would be the correct approach. Here is why: - Context Everything we do, we do within a certain context. When we browse LinkedIn we are in a work or professional context; when we browse Facebook, we are in a social context; and when we are using a dating app, we are in a fun, entertainment or optimistic context. - Demographics Millennials and members of Generation Z, who are the prime targets of any dating service do not generally use Facebook. They do use Instagram. - Promotion It would look somewhat off to have other Facebook assets promote the main Facebook app, and given the different demographics, would probably not be very effective. - Virality A great dating app should have a natural buzz to it. That is not Facebook. App store Users searching for dating apps on Apple's App Store or Google Play would not see Facebook among their results.
Monetization Monetization is simply not in Facebook's DNA.
Thinking small My sense is that Facebook is not treating this opportunity with the gravitas that its potential merits. It is limiting itself to a small subset of its vast user base of over 2B, and to a subset of potential functionality.
CHEDDAR - July 13 - At first glance, Match Group's acquisition of dating app Hinge, known as the "anti-Tinder," doesn't seem to make much sense. But for parent company IAC, the more competition - even internally - the better. "We have always disrupted ourselves, and we like to disrupt ourselves," explained Joey Levin, CEO of IAC. "So when we see something that says it's the anti-something-we're-doing, if it's a good business, it's a good management team, it's a good story, it's a good product, that's something we're interested in doing. We like competing with ourselves."
WESTWORD - July 12 - Amy Baglan is a co-founder of the online dating platform MeetMindful. Baglan wants her dating site to be a tech fix to tech stress, enabling people to connect in meaningful ways with others who are also interested in "mindful living." The origins of MeetMindful date back to 2006, when Baglan was the VP of a New York City startup, Ez Texting. She started to practice yoga and meditation, and found that they "filled a void" in her personal life. In 2010, she quit her job and embarked on a journey to India and Southeast Asia. In 2012, Baglan returned to the US, and founded a company called Yoga Dates, which hosted events like "Yoga Speed Dating" and "Vinyasa and Vino." The events were instantly popular. In 2014, Baglan met Adam Taylor, and together they created a successful prototype of the site she'd envisioned. The next year, Baglan and Taylor launched a beta version and were accepted into Techstars Boulder Accelerator. MeetMindful has been growing ever since, nearly doubling the size of its team over the past six months, and recently raising $5.5M.
THE HILL - July 12 - People who show their support for the ACLU on their online dating profile are more likely to get a date than those who don't, according to OkCupid. The company began offering a pro-ACLU badge about a month ago that displays on a user's profile if they answer yes to a question about supporting the ACLU. Users who are pro-ACLU also get 15% more "likes".
DEADLINE - July 12 - Bumble is offering five filmmakers £20K to make a short film. It has narrowed this down to ten filmmakers with five of them set to be revealed in August, with their films launching in January. The project is being overseen by stars including Guardians of the Galaxy and Elementary star Ophelia Lovibond and Black Mirror star Georgina Campbell, as well as radio presenter Edith Bowman, and others.
YAHOO LIFESTYLE - July 11 - This new feature recommends one highly compatible match every day. The app selects the matches based on algorithms that suss out users previous actions on the app and their interests. Hinge's latest feature comes on the heels of Match Group's purchase of a 51% controlling stake in the app in June. It also comes over a year after the company moved away from swiping.
FORBES - July 11 - Bumble, which Forbes values at $1B, has brought its 29-year-old founder Whitney Wolfe Herd a $230M fortune. While Wolfe Herd missed the cut for this year's Forbes list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, Forbes predicts it won't be too long before she joins the ranks, assuming Bumble keeps growing at the rate it has. Only four years old and with ~35M users, Bumble has become America's fastest-growing dating app with users growing 70% YOY. With ~10% of them paying $9.99 per month for in-app perks and a advertisements launching last year, the company brought in $100M in revenue in 2017.
THE INVESTOR - July 10 - Korean health care platform firm CareLabs has acquired BNK Lab, the operator of social dating apps, in a bid to strengthen its services in beauty and dating sector. CareLabs paid 11B won ($9.85M) in return for the entire 50K shares of BNK Lab. BNK Lab's platforms boasts a combined monthly active users of 240k. They include Babitalk, which provides information on cosmetic surgery, and multiple dating apps such as DangYeonsi and Sweetme.
WIRED - July 10 - Kelly Rakowski started an Instagram account called Personals where people can post their dating ads. She has 35K followers now. She wanted to create a way for people to find each other through their phones without the frustrations of dating apps. "You have to be present to write these ads," she says. "You're not just throwing up your selfie. It's a friendly environment; it feels healthier than Tinder." And now, she wants to an app. The Personals app will focus on the things people say and the ways others connect to them. The Personals' Kickstarter is about to reach its $40k goal so Rakowski will be able to turn the ads into a fully-functioning platform.
SEEKING ALPHA - July 10 - June has been a busy month for Match Group. The company announced that it had acquired a controlling stake in Hinge, and also introduced several new features for Tinder, with several more currently in the works. Tinder Picks is a new feature available exclusively for Tinder Gold subscribers. Picks, which mimics rival app Coffee Meets Bagel, presents users with four profiles daily based on factors such as education, interests, and swipe history. Loops feature, which it had previously tested in Canada and Sweden, allows users to post two-second, looping videos to their profiles in lieu of a static photograph. The company is testing a "Places" feature, which allows users to see potential matches who frequent similar bars, shops, and other locations. In Q1 '18, Tinder added 368K subscribers and delivered its best average revenue per user (ARPU) growth in two years. According to Match CFO Gary Swindler, Tinder's ARPU in Q1 grew 37% year-over-year. The company's ARPU as a whole reached $0.58 in Q1 - well above the $0.53 that it achieved in 2017. With such fantastic economics and a sticky user base, Match Group is significantly undervalued as a company. Yet, shares remain depressed amid negative sentiment surrounding Facebook's entry into online dating.
THEGAYUK - July 10 - A man is planning to sue the gay dating app, Grindr, for racial discrimination and is looking for co-plaintiffs across the US's fifty states so that he can bring a class action. Sinakhone Keodara, the CEO and founder of the Asian Entertainment Television company says that Grindr allows "white gay men to write in their profiles 'no Asians', 'not interested in Asians' or 'I don't find Asians attractive'," which he says, leads to people feeling "offended, humiliated, degraded and dehumanised" by the app.
PRESS RELEASE - July 10 - This partnership, with an international company like Gameloft Advertising Solutions, will allow Happn to optimize advertising revenue with a global reach on par with its presence around the world, and allow all brands to finally have access to its audience and its qualitative inventory. Launched in 2014, Happn is the first mobile dating app to use real-time geolocation to help you discover people users've crossed paths with in real life. To date, Gameloft Advertising Solutions has delivered ~3k campaigns for prestigious brands such as Air France, Coca-Cola, Ford, FOX™, Kellogg's, McDonalds and Netflix.
OPW - July 10 - Many of you have been around in the industry long enough to follow the 'Are You Interested' and Snap Interactive story. But do you know the inside story? Cliff Lerner is the CEO/Founder, and I think his story is both amazing and insightful. His new book is Explosive Growth and covers his story and guiding principles for growth. Essential reading for anyone in the dating industry. I met up with him in New York at Lexington Brass for brunch a few days ago. He's fascinated with blockchain now, and out of dating. He's going to be traveling the world and making up for lost time. Anyway, pick up his book already, and please leave a stunning review, if you like it. :-)
THE GUARDIAN - July 7 - Scouring photos for a conversation starter has become standard on Tinder, as a woman's viral post about toilet paper proves. Hana Michels, a comedian and writer from LA, who shared a screengrab of her Tinder profile to Twitter, found that a lot of men whom she matched with weren't interested in her at all but in her toilet paper holder. She had been chastised by 23 men in a year for the direction in which her toilet paper was facing. On apps like Tinder, you're expected to start a conversation with very little to go on. As such, mise-en-scene trawling has become an essential way of opening a dialogue. Tinder users admitted to scouring the backdrop for conversational fodder.
MATCH UK - July 9 - Up to 30th September, when subscribing to Match, single parents get 3 hours of free child-care time with Yoopies, Match.com's babysitting partner. Yoopies is a leading childcare expert across Europe with a network of 800K childcarers in the UK.
KOREA HERALD - July 9 - The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in South Korea will review online video advertisements by international matchmaking agencies to see if any of them incite bias or are likely to infringe on human rights. Several marriage brokers have recently been ordered by the ministry to delete ads that sexually objectify women or promote bias. Some, for instance, claim that women of certain nationalities have "nice figures" and are "simple." Those found to have violated the law will be ordered to immediately delete the ad. If they do not comply, they will be subject to criminal charges or administrative measures such as suspension of business and cancellation of business registration.