OPW INTERVIEW - Dec 21 - International Dating Ventures’ holdings include eLove, the first dating service to fuse both traditional matchmaking and online dating. COO Terry Fitzpatrick details the differences between eLove’s two programs and how the company has been able to grow despite the difficult economic climate. – Jenn Rubin
What is the story behind eLove?
We’ve been in the traditional matchmaking business for the last 25 years. In the last five or ten years 85% of our membership base had tried online dating and it just has not worked for them.
eLove brings together the online dating community and the offline traditional matchmaking service. We have an online dating service and if the users don’t find success, they don’t have to leave eLove to look for a traditional matchmaker. Ideally, we want everybody to stay within the eLove community. This is really so we can efficiently monetize all our online registration and all our leads.
We consider eLove a life stage company. We want eLove to be that one stop service for anybody who is serious about meeting people. If they choose to do the online portion, great. If they need a little bit more help, the traditional matchmaking will also be provided there. We want to be that one-stop solution.
How does eLove differ from other organizations in International Dating Ventures?
A couple of those websites would be TogetherChristian.com and LoveAccess.com, but those are purely online dating platforms. eLove is that unique site where you can choose which path is right for you. Is it going to be traditional matchmaking or is it going to be online dating? So that’s how it differs.
How many members does eLove online dating have?
eLove has over 2 million members online and offline it would probably be in the tens of thousands. In offline, we currently are in 22 States. We have 43 physical locations.
What are some of the unique features on the online dating site?
You’ll find the same services on eLove that you would find on Match.com.
If I went to eLove.com and clicked on the matchmaking section, what would happen?
First, we need to make sure that they live in a zip code that we have a physical location. We also need to make sure they’re of the right age. Traditional matchmaking works best for people in their late 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. We’re not looking for people in their teens or early 20s.
If they qualify, they will receive a phone call. We ask them about their criminal background history, because if you do become a member, you will have to go through a background check. From there, they would set up an appointment and meet with the local matchmaker. At that stage, it takes about an hour to two hours with a matchmaker to put together a profile on what they are looking for in a significant other. From there, dating begins. Most people will go on their first date within seven to 14 days.
How is eLove online dating different from the matchmaking program?
You don’t have the personal attention online. Offline, you’re dealing one on one with a matchmaker who will be able to help you with dating coaching and tips. What is very unique with the offline is after you go on a date, you will call your matchmaker back and discuss the date. We need feedback on what you liked and didn’t like about the person.
Can you tell me a little bit about some of the matchmaking membership rates?
Traditional matchmaking usually starts around $2,000, and you will be able to meet 8 or 10 people. Prices do increase if you need more help with relationships coaching.
What is the eLove online dating memberships?
The basic one is $29.95 a month.
What are some of the biggest challenges in the next 12 months for eLove?
It’s probably keeping up with our growth plan. To do that we need to find talented people to work with us. It’s very difficult to find the right matchmaker.
Have these difficult times hurt your business at all?
The economy has touched all companies, but we’ve been very lucky. In 2009, we opened up more stores then we have ever opened up.
How do you predict eLove will look in the next few years?
Hopefully, if you look at eLove two years from now, we’ll be in 50 States with over 100 physical locations in the United States. We’re halfway there now, so we’re getting there.