WASHINGTON POST - Sep 20 - Courtney and George met on eHarmony.com and were eager to go on a first date, but both had hectic schedules in May 2011. George was preparing for a year-long deployment as a Marine; Courtney was lobbying for KIPP DC’s charter school students on the Hill. In November 2011, George deployed, and they started to Skype every few days. In May 2012, George was allowed a two-week vacation. He planned a cruise for the couple, around the boot of Italy where George proposed on one knee on a gondola. The two bought a house together in Alexandria in December.
by Rachel Lubitz
See full article at Washington Post
Mark Brooks: It's encouraging that these kinds of success stories can be pitched and placed with upper echelon media such as the Washington Post. eHarmony is all about success stories and testimonials. It works.
NY TIMES - Sep 27 - The first speed dating-like event was organized in 1998 by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo in Beverly Hills. Within a year or so, the speed-dating idea had gone viral, with imitators around the country. Deyo and his friends trademarked SpeedDating, they began the process of filing a patent. But as the trend exploded, Deyo realized he had lost control of the idea. "Online dating has better return on investment," says online dating coach Evan Marc Katz. "You might not meet as many people in a month, but you will get to choose those people."
by Pagan Kennedy
See full article at NY Times
FT - Sep 27 - Ivan Fatovic came up with a matchmaking website for people desiring a parenting. “There were a few sites that provided anonymous sperm donors for lesbian couples but no service for people who wanted to meet a like-minded person with whom they could have a child.” After raising $150K from friends and family, he and three co-founders launched Modamily.com. Since then several similar sites have sprung up, including PollenTree.com, Coparents.com, Co-ParentMatch.com and MyAlternativeFamily.com. Modamily costs $29.95 a month. The site also offers a “personal concierge service” that makes personal introductions, costing $149.95 for three months.
FORTUNE - Sep 25 - Sam Yagan launched OkCupid in 2004 with friends. Before OkCupid, they started SparkNotes, an online alternative to CliffsNotes study guides, in 1999. It sold to iTurf, for $30M. After that he joined his friend Jed McCaleb to launch eDonkey, a P2P file-sharing service that they scaled fast but shut down after pressure from record labels. Only a year and a half after buying OkCupid for ~$90M, IAC made Yagan CEO of its entire Match division. That entire segment contributed $713M of IAC's 2012 revenue of $2.8 billion. Yagan gets emails on a weekly basis from people launching a dating site. He actually roots for new online dating competitors to launch, because he is the only buyer. Match buys so much that the list of significant e-dating competitors is short: eHarmony, Spark Networks, PlentyOfFish, HowAboutWe and Zoosk (rumored to be going public this year).
by Daniel Roberts
The full article was originally published at CNN Fortune, but is no longer available.
VENTURE BEAT - Sep 26 - HowAboutWe’s parent company, ThisLife, has closed $4.2M of a $5M round. This brings the company’s total capital raised to $23.3M. The company is now adding 100K users a month.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
SHALOM LIFE - Sep 26 - Colin Hodge is the CEO of Bang with Friends, an online dating app that came back on the market as "Down" after it got banned from iTunes.
Q: Does it work the same way?
Q: Where did you get the initial idea for Bang with Friends?
A: We started this project in a night of brutally honest conversations and programming. We focused on the key missing pieces in online dating for our generation: honesty and bite-sized consumption.
Q: What has the response been like since you've come back on the market as 'Down'?
A: Pretty positive. Now, you can have our app on your phone without any stigma.
Q: What are you trying to establish with Down?
A: To uncover the hidden potential of some of our friendships since it's safer than meeting a total stranger.
Q: Do you consider Down a dating site?
A: We're not a dating site, but we are dating as it should be.
by Daniel Koren
The full article was originally published at Shalom Life, but is no longer available.
CHANNEL NEWS ASIA - Sep 25 - Spouses for sons and daughters are now being sought on a TV channel in India. Shagun TV is India's first 24-hour matrimonial TV station. The shows feature potential brides and grooms along with their families and advise them on matters ranging from relationships to wedding planning and shopping.
by Zain Awan
The full article was originally published at Channel News Asia, but is no longer available.
PR NEWSWIRE - Sep 25 - Match.com has acquired all remaining shares held by Marc Simoncini, Meetic's founder, which represent 6.7% of the capital. The average price was €29.5M (€18.75). Match now owns 87.5% of the capital and 88.6% of the voting rights of Meetic. Mr. Simoncini has resigned from Meetic's board of directors. Match intends to launch a voluntary simplified public tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Meetic at a price of €18.75 per share.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
OPW INTERVIEW - Sep 23 - SafeCharge has focused on the iDating business and attended iDate conferences since 2004. They’ve signed numerous significant clients in the iDating business now. They know our industry. Here’s my interview with the their CMO, Shemer Katz. - Mark Brooks
Tell us more about SafeCharge. What do you do, and what's the founding story of Safe Charge?
SafeCharge is a payment provider, established in 2000. Today, we provide services to thousands of online mobile merchants, including some of the biggest dating companies. We provide them the connectivity to the acquiring bank risk management services, and our main objective is to give them the best payment conversion with minimized risk of fraud.
Can you tell us who you are working with?
We serve half a dozen of top dating sites in Europe you list on your European online dating ranking page on OPW.
Why are they using Safe Charge?
Because of our experience in the idating industry. We offer the best payment conversion because we know the statistics, we know how to reroute the transaction to the proper acquiring bank, and how to manage the fraud. We have a large negative database that has been built throughout the years specifically to this industry. So we know exactly who the fraudsters are and we know how to block them ahead of time.
Now that is interesting. You have a black list…..
Yes. The black list has been built throughout the 13 years that we have been serving the industry.
You work with idating as one vertical. What are the other verticals you work with?
We work with sports betting, gaming, online financial services, online games, retail, and many other digital services.
What would you say are some of the latest trends in the payment processing industry that are important for the internet dating industry executive to know about?
Mobile payment is definitely one of the hottest trends. We also accommodate our payment services to support the mobile payments. Our mobile payments page is HTML5 compliant and the users get a native payment experience.
In addition to that, dating merchants are increasing the payment options that are available on their checkout page in order to increase their conversion in each region. Of course that is a great way of increasing revenue, just offering more payment options.
What has been hot though in the idating industry specifically? What has done well in the way of alternative payment systems? What would you say would be the top two additional?
It varies by the geographic. I would say that mobile payments, premium SMS, and direct carrier billing are the most important payment options. Also the cash-based payment is growing in some regions.
Are there any new regulations that the industry should be aware of?
I think that the enforcement of PCI compliance by the card schemes is major. The merchant has to go through the process to become compliant with the PCI requirements. More and more merchants prefer to use an external card vault to safely and securely store their customer's sensitive payment information. This is actually the most effective solution that still allows for the one click payment for repeat customers while completely offloading the burden of PCI compliance to a third party like SafeCharge.
STAR OBSERVER - Sep 25 - Grindr has considered threatening the Turkish government with legal action over their ban. The app was blocked by Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace this month. Grindr is now working via its geo-targeted advocacy service “Grindr for Equality” with KAOS GL and online LGBTI advocacy group All Out to pressure the Turkish government into lifting the ban.
by Benjamin Riley
See full article at Star Observer
REUTERS - Sep 24 - Cupid PLC was hit by higher marketing and administrative costs. Adjusted pretax loss for the six months ended June 30 was £2.5M ($4M), from a profit of £3.5M a year earlier. Revenue rose 12.4% to £43.4M. Marketing spend increased 18% to £27.4M. Administrative expenses rose ~60% to £4M. Cupid said it expects continuing business to return to growth and profitability in 2014.
UPSTART BUSINESS JOURNAL - Sep 24 - "Men are on all the apps", says Molly Messenger, head of product at Swoon. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more skeptical. That's where Swoon hope to stand out. It is a free mobile dating app, similar to Tinder, that is geared toward making women comfortable using their smartphones to find dates. In the coming months, Swoon will release female-only features, such as the ability to text profiles to a friend. The big challenge that awaits Swoon is monetization.
ISTOCK ANALYST - Sep 23 - Founded in 1993 and launched in 1995, Match.com is now one of the most recognized online properties in the world. Since its acquisition in June 1999 by IAC, Match has expanded its business portfolio to include PeopleMedia (2009), Singlesnet (2010), OkCupid (2011), Meetic (2011), Twoo (2013) and more. Match is the second-largest segment at IAC by revenue, comprising 26% of IAC's total sales in 2012. The segment's revenues have grown 78% over the past two yearsm largely driven by acquisitions. Tinder has yet to be monetized, and could offer meaningful upside in the future.
The full article was originally published at iStock Analyst, but is no longer available.
TECH CRUNCH - Sep 21 - Dattch is a dating app exclusively for lesbians, bisexual and/or bi-curious women, designed by a female team. The app has just closed a £100,000/$160,000 angel/small seed round. "The gay female dating scene is badly served," says founder and CEO Robyn Exton. “Nobody was thinking about a female user, and actually how do women behave? What kind of triggers are they looking for?" So what are gay women looking for? Firstly, lots and lots of photos. Photos of where you live, what you wear, things you like, places you want to go. Dattch is taking its design inspiration from Pinterest. The app’s other focus is a text-based messaging feature.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
USA WEEKEND - Sep 21 - Among those ages 50-65, the top three deal breakers are poor health (78%), financial instability (76%) and a potential partner they find physically unattractive (75%), according to OurTime.com survey. The survey also asked whether respondents want to marry at this stage of life. 51% want to marry and 49% are against it.
by Sharon Jayson
The full article was originally published at USA Weekend, but is no longer available.
ANINEWS - Sep 20 - DoingSomething.co.uk, a dating site based in London, has started organising sightseeing toilet tours with London Loo Tours. Participants are going to be led around Westminster on a bar crawl and will be required to periodically stop off at public toilets, where they are going to be given a brief history on the bathrooms and tips to find free ones in the area.
The full article was originally published at AniNews, but is no longer available.
STANDARD.CO.UK - Sep 20 - Tinder is the fastest-growing free dating app. The app is close to the original Facebook concept, Face Mash, where Harvard students were presented with two people and had to choose the most attractive. Its British audience is growing by 25% each week. London has the highest percentage of single people in the UK. Around half the population 20 - 59 years old are single.
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK - Sep 20 - The average Briton will spend a total of 14 minutes each day, or 86 hours in a year, looking at strangers’ social media profiles, according to new research by money saving site www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk. 72% of respondents would check up on ex-partner’s new love interests, the majority, (66%), were women.
This post also appears on SocialNetworkingWatch.