What is Charm?
Charm is about having fun while meeting real people, real fast. We've always been about driving new connections and deepening relationships among our users. We believe substance and authenticity are missing from many social apps today. For example, studies have shown that the people who use FB the most are among the most unhappy, potentially because people are consuming a highlight reel of other people's lives. Meanwhile, the popular dating app Tinder is photo only. We don't think you can get a first impression of someone from a photo. If you are at a bar or coffeehouse you are attracted by personality as well as appearance. Ultimately we built Charm to show people are more than a profile photo, to enable the personality to come through.
Does Charm represent a 'pivot' in your business model?
We launched Charm as a standalone app because we think mobile apps are best when they are simple, doing only one or two things and doing them well. On a web site, you might be able to launch feature after feature into a menu, but on mobile that would only bloat the app. Mobile users visit for a few minutes a session and more than a hundred times a month. We view the audience for Charm as much the same as the audience for MeetMe and we heavily promote the Charm app to our MeetMe users, but we believe the simplicity of Charm as a standalone app will increase its potential.
We see much of the industry moving towards a portfolio approach, from IAC with Tinder, Okcupid, and Match; to Twitter with Vine; to Facebook with Instagram, Poke, and Messenger. We have said publicly we plan to launch 4 new apps in the next 6 months and Charm is the first of those.
What are the challenges of using video in the iDating space? What's the upside of video?
Video slows down the consumption and presents some friction as users must add a video. At the same time, videos add a whole new dimension to apps like Tinder, and ultimately are more authentic. Photos can be 5-10 years old and be the best picture of a person ever taken. Videos don't reduce a person to appearance in the same way as a photo does.
Will video be the new profile photo?
What's changed is video has come into the mainstream on mobile only recently with Vine's launch and Instagram's recent update. Vine recently pioneered the short, looping video that enables creativity by stitching interesting videos together in a simple record-process. We believe this has dramatically reduced the friction to video creation and opens up natural opportunities for meet-new-people applications.
How's the growth of Charm coming along?
It's very, very early but we are pleased to see tens of thousands of users join in the first week.