What is your founding story?
I started working in the internet industry almost 10 years ago. I had almost no idea about computers or programming. I spent the first 3 or 4 years working all the time including weekends, which allowed me to get all the information I needed in order to start my own company.
I had the advantage of discovering the Internet in its early stages. In the last 10 years we've built hundreds of websites including dating and community sites.
What are some of the top internet dating sites that you built?
One of the biggest and I think one of the most known websites, we've worked on few years ago, was a gay dating site Adam4Adam.com. Other websites, we've worked on, were Mary.com, PeopleFishing.com, MyPartner.com and Shopmania.com which is a price comparison and also social shopping community.
Which sites would you say you're most proud of and why?
At this moment the website, I'm most proud of, is Shopmania.com because it combines everything we've learned so far. It's a very large community of users in 25 countries and is translated into 15 languages.
What would you say is your site building philosophy?
I think we can always do better than what we did last time. With every new site we build, we try to bring in something new and this helps us to evolve. Also it's important for us to work on some challenging websites that require interesting and complex solutions.
What are the main building blocks? What are the main technologies that you like to use?
We're using PHP, Perl and MySQL. We're also developing on Oracle. But what we like using most is PHP, Perl. It's very fast and reliable.
What do you do better than your competition?
We're not only doing programming, we offer programming consulting services. We've built so many websites and have some very good knowledge with internationalization and localization, adapting the software to different languages and regional differences. Even though it seems easy, it's not. We have a very powerful mechanism that we developed for creating multi-language websites. There are many problems that can appear when you develop an international website starting with computer text and coding, formatting of numbers, writing directions from left to right or from right to left that could cause problems in design.
What proportion of your business now would you say is social networking and internet dating related?
It's about 50%.
How is business now? The climate has changed a bit so have you seen things move in any direction?
We still have enough clients and I would not consider this a significant crisis. I think things are going to change in the next year and we'll get back to normal. On the other hand, I think in such periods you have the opportunity to develop a new business because the competition is less significant.
I must say your pricing has been extremely competitive in the past. What would you charge for building a dating site like Date.com?
It's hard to say. It really depends on the requirements. You need to consider more and you can't build a website like Date.com from the first step. A website like this gets developed in time. There is a first version, then a second version and then it will improve. The website will need millions of users and this can't happen in a month.
Say if you had 6 months to work on a site, what kind of ball park price would you say?
I would say from $30,000 to $50,000. But again we build the first version and then improve it. You can't launch a perfect website. You need to understand this because this needs to be added to your marketing strategies. You have to wait 3 or 4 months to get the best conversion, to see the website is perfect and then okay you can put money into advertising.
The dating industry seems to be doing quite well right now surprisingly or not surprisingly really if you think about it. On the one hand, we were concerned about the slump and people bailing on their memberships but on the other hand it still represents a pretty good deal. So business is up.