MARKETING WEEK - Oct 31 - The app, dubbed Matchlist, allows Facebook members to register with the site for free and find potential partners in their area. Users can also make a shortlist of potential dates and ask selected Facebook friends for feedback via a private message.
STAR TRIBUNE - Oct 29 - A Burnsville woman wants Great Expectations to return the $2,705 she forked over to find Mr. Right. They say she's "being dishonest." In Washington, the state attorney general took action after reviewing nearly 60 complaints about the service. Among the company's alleged misrepresentations: significantly overstating the number of eligible members. In 2010, Great Expectations agreed to a settlement that provided partial refunds to some customers and restricted the way the company markets its services in Washington.
EHARMONY LABS - Oct 28 - People are delaying marriage. In Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, the mean age for marriage is 29-30 for women, 31-33 for men. The percentage of those never married before age 40 has been on the rise. Educated women are less likely to marry. This is the opposite trend compared to those in the US and Europe, where marriage is more common among those more educated.
by Erina Lee
See full article at eHarmony Labs
JEWISH JOURNAL - Oct 27 - jDate recently announced results from a study that claims the site is responsible for facilitating more Jewish marriages than all other dating sites combined. The study, commissioned in-house by JDate’s parent company, Spark Networks, and conducted by the research company ResearchNow, was based on a survey of 948 Jewish Internet users who have married since 2003. Of those surveyed, 52% said they met their match on JDate, compared with Match.com, which facilitated 17%, and eHarmony, which can claim 10%.
by Danielle Berrin
See full article at Jewish Journal
OPW - Oct 27 - If you'd like to get the inside track on the tools we use at Courtland Brooks, you may want to pick up a membership and watch this video on Mixergy. I give an overview of the following best-in-class tools in the course... My Intervals, Freshbooks, Tungle.me, EchoSign, Relenta (CRM), Cision (PR).
OPW - Oct 26 - Nominations for the 3rd annual iDate Awards end this Friday, Oct 28th. Please make your nominations now. The iDate Awards highlight the individuals and companies who exemplify the best, most innovative aspects of the Internet Dating and Matchmaking Industry. The Award ceremony will take place on the night of January 24, 2012 in Miami, as part of the 9th annual iDate (Internet Dating Conference). The twelve categories are:
The schedule for the nomination/voting process is as follows:
- Now through October 28, 2011 - Nominations Accepted
- November 10, 2011 through January 4, 2012 - Voting
- Jan 24, 2012 - Awards ceremony and winners announced.
FORBES - Oct 26 - Oxford University reports that 15% of people met their current partner online. Free dating site Meet Locals is similar to Facebook in design and navigation. The site allows you to add friends to your profile with whom you can share personal information and private photos. The best features are the video chat and cam feature where members can engage 1 on 1 with their local partners.
OPW - Oct 26 - I ran into Michael O’Sullivan at iDate Moscow. He runs Sites Instantly, a little white label upstart based out of Russia. Here’s his story. - Mark Brooks
How was Sites Instantly started?
It was started in 2002 by a colleague of mine, Tobias Heaton Armstrong. He saw a gap in the market for white label software and he recruited our current development team which is based in Russia.
What’s your background?
Primarily I’m a technical computer engineer by trade but I’ve always ended up in a sales environment.
What do people typically earn in the part of Russia your team are based in?
Developer costs are probably 60% of what you would pay in the UK so it’s not cheap as chips but price determines quality. Russian mentality is very good for understanding technical tasks; if you get the right guys who have a bit of imagination you can do some great things.
How many people do you have there?
We have 7 people working in Russia, almost an ideal size for software development. If it’s any bigger you run into problems like no-one knows what someone else is doing. Cupid has 100-200 developers and that is a real management challenge.
What sets Sites Instantly apart?
Two things...We’ve spent a lot of time on ease of use. You can create the site in 2 minutes. We try to make it easy for people to roll out sites, people who are not technically minded. We find our features work well in casual and niche markets. The other good thing is that we are small tight team so with our top web masters we are able to do things that some bigger players can’t purely by nature. Once the supertanker gets going its very hard to custom features for someone.
Magic question: what do you pay out?
50%. I agree that 50% is fair to everybody; nobody is motivated more or less that way for your success.
What markets do you convert in? What markets are you beyond critical mass in?
I would definitely say UK is our biggest market; it’s probably about 70% of our paying members. Continental Europe after that and USA is about 5-10%
Can you disclose revenues?
Yes, it’s all public information after all! It’s about £70,000 per month, obviously that is split between our white label partners.
So you’re pushing 1 million pounds a year in revenue. What are your goals for 2012-2013? Where will you be in 2013?
We want to earn significantly more in the next couple of years. We have a bunch of initiatives to help us grow revenue. The UK is a lucrative market for us so we want to grow there. We have members on a management team who are based in Shanghai and we are waiting on reports of how we can crack the Chinese market.
IB TIMES - Oct 25 - BeautifulPeople.com, the dating site that only allows good-looking people based on the opinions of the people who use it, have released a 90-second video in response recent attacks on the site's concept. The site was attacked by a computer virus - named Shrek. 30K people gained membership without going through the ruthless membership process. They were then then unceremoniously kicked off the site at a financial cost of more than £62,000 to the site's operators.
by Ewan Palmer
See full article at IB Times
PLENTYOFFISH - Oct 23 - A lot of people have been setting up white label dating sites the last few years. Here are the most important factor in making money:
1. Never agree to the default terms a white label dating service offers you such as the default rates 50 - 50%.
2. Constantly negotiate.
3. Always make sure both your initial and rebill percent rates are really high.
See full article at PlentyofFish blog
Mark Brooks: A few more things...
4. Make sure they have solid email marketing. The best services do email marketing for you.
5. Make sure they offer plenty of payment options to users, especially important for Europe.
6. Make sure they offer niching, if you're planning on running niche dating. (i.e. Christians only meet Christians, gays only meet gays, etc)
7. Test a few services to see which converts the best. Payouts are one thing, but if the white labeler sucks at converting and retaining, then their payouts are moot.
BUSINESS WIRE - Oct 24 - Now available on iTunes, the latest release of Jazzed’s iOS mobile app contains a new feature that allows users new ways of self-expression and discovering new people. Jazzed’s new mobile feature is a constantly updating gallery of images. People can search by:
PR.COM - Oct 23 - Fellody is a flirt-platform that matches people based on their taste in music. Fellody.com is online since Oct '11 and reached ~18K Facebook fans within eight weeks before the official start. The startup uses the frequency of how often songs are played, genres, artists and other info to match members and display their likes and differences.
OPW - Oct 22 - WhiteLabelDating.com had their partner conference this Friday and Saturday for 80+ Gold and Silver partners. Last night was their black-tie awards ceremony. We’ll run the awards list on Online Personals Watch next week. Here’s my notes from the partner conference today, which is just finishing up now.
WhiteLabelDating.com (WLD) is now 90% partner brands and 10% own-brands such as Dating Agency and Singles365.com. The own-brands are used as learning and proving grounds for best-practices which are shared with partners at seminars and advisories and via partner managers.
WLD now has 6500 partner sites with 7 million members, with 3 million new members added in the last year. Revenue stands at GBP 23.5 million over the prior 12 months – up 43%. 20% of business is non-UK now. Countries served are UK, Ireland, Australia, S.Africa, USA, Canada and New Zealand. There’s 100 employees in Windsor. 30 of which are developers, up from 20 last year.
The run rate for revenues is 30 million GBP now which makes WLD the largest dedicated white label platform in the world. The biggest media partners are Bauer Media, Trinity Media, GMG Radio
Members are paying more now. This is largely due to dramatic improvements in the product, the introduction of true niching, and strong email marketing. WLD sends 9 million emails a day now which is more than eBay Europe
WLD is launching in the USA next year and have spent $2 million on a business with a portfolio of 600 geographically focused domains such as LAdating.com and PhoenixDating.com. The USA business will be rolled out and launched region by region next year and there’s an seeding marketing budget of 1 million GBP reserved.
There’s also a big push on mobile. WLD’s mobile dating platform launches before Christmas. Ross Williams, the CEO, said ‘mobile will be a 1/3 of our business in the future.’ New users from mobile sources are typically half the cost of new users from desktops.
WLD targets 45% revenue growth in the ensuing year, with 30% of revenues coming from non-UK markets, up from 20%.
TECH FLASH - Oct 21 - Founders Nick Soman, Sonya Lai and Ron Lai say they want to make dating simple, social and safe for women, by letting them vouch for -- and ask questions about -- guys on Facebook. "Women don’t like the lack of trust and transparency on existing dating sites, and that they prefer to meet people through friends", said the founders. "We’re building a dating layer on Facebook to help women meet people through the people they trust."
BUSINESS INSIDER - Oct 20 - According to Brandon Wade, CEO and founder of SeekingArrangement.com, all relationships are monetary exchanges in some respect. His website, a matchmaking service for "Sugar Daddies," makes those exchanges a little more transparent. Unlike most dating websites, where men outnumber women, the Sugar Babies on SeekingArrangement outnumber Sugar Daddies 10 to 1. The average age of a Sugar Baby is 25 and the average age of a Sugar Daddy is 36. There are also a handful of Sugar Mommies and Male Babies on the site, which just hit 1M members.
DAILY MAIL - Oct 20 - Only 1 in 6 Brits prefer to meet in bars and at parties and 1 in 12 want to meet at night clubs. 3 in 5 Brits are dating or have dated someone they met online and staggering 84% would meet someone in the real world they have chatted virtually.
by Maysa Rawi
See full article at Daily Mail
THE STAR - Oct 21 - A new dating school launches next week with an introductory workshop called Happy Dates by matchmaker and dating coach Stacie Ikka and psychologist Dr. Andrew Shaul, who specializes in couples counselling. The pair refers to themselves by “edu-daters.” The intro session, which will be free and will accommodate 50 participants will consist of interactive trust exercises and some role playing. Every participant will be offered the 100-question test, and can get results (in a private session later on) for a special $50 deal. Their 100-question scientific survey aims to help diagnose areas that need improvement such as low self-esteem and poor communications skills. The regular price will be $199 thereafter for an analysis of one’s dating abilities. The plan is to set up a series of workshops geared to specific dating issues. That kind of couture treatment would cost about $1,500 for 10 sessions of hand-holding.
by Leanne Delap
See full article at The Star