INTERNET WORLD - July 4 - The aim is to position the brand more clearly and to attract new customers, mainly the younger target group of 25- to 45-year-old singles. The company deliberately "chose a simple communication of the new brand name," says marketing manager Breiling. "Our market research has shown that further explanations are unnecessary. The Singles intuit that LoveScout24 makes sense as a new name and better related to this product promise." Membership numbers are showing it.
WUV.DE - July 17 - Match.com, which operates in Germany under Neu.de, has bought FriendScout24 from Scout24 Holding. The investment firm Hellman & Friedman, which is the majority owner of Scout24, wants to focus primarily on their real estate brand ImmoScout24. In November last year, Hellman & Friedman took over 70% of the shares of Scout24 Holding from Deutsche Telekom for 1.5B Eur.
by Leif Pelikan
See full article at WUV.de
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
GRUENDERSZENE - July 7 - The Scout24 group is considering selling online dating site FriendScout24. According to Scout24's CEO, Greg Ellis, the company wants to focus on its real estate and car business.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
W&V - Feb 10 - The Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW) has agreed on rules for dating sites. The "SPIN Kodex" defines clear rules related to cancellations policy, recurring payments and privacy issues. The first companies that have been certified are FriendScout24, Neu.de, eDarling.de, Shopaman.de, secret.de and partner.de. Companies wishing to submit to the SPIN Kodex have to go through an extensive auditing with numerous documentation requirements. This process has to be completed again in two years.
by Annette Mattgey
See full article at W&V
GVA.BE - Nov 21 - Deutsche Telekom sells a stake of 70% in its Internet subsidiary Scout24 to U.S. investment company Hellman & Friedman for ~1.5 billion Eur in cash. Scout24 operates sites such as AutoScout24, FinanceScout24, JobScout24, TravelScout24 and FriendScout24, one of the biggest German dating sites.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
PRESS RELEASE - May 10 - eDarling, FriendScout24, Neu.de and Parship voluntarily committed to comply with rules (SPIN Kodex) that Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW) put together to protect their customers. The "SPIN Kodex" defines clear rules related to cancellations policy, recurring payments and privacy issues. All parties must take all necessary measures to prevent fraudulent or criminal misuse of their platforms by third parties.
FRIENDSCOUT24 - Dec 14 - FriendScout24's iPhone app is now available in the App Store. The app is available in Germany and the Austrian, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch and Swiss version will follow soon.
The full article was originally published at FriendScout24, but is no longer available.
OPW INTERVIEW - Oct 27 - Friendscout24 holds the top spot for the biggest dating site in Germany, according to comScore WorldMetrix. Martina Bruder is the CEO. We caught up with her to find out her thoughts on matchmaking, LBS, mobile and how the market is changing. - Mark Brooks
What countries does Friendscout24 operate in now and what are your market positions in those countries?
Friendscout24 is operating in 7 European countries. We are number 1 in the German speaking markets, which are Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We are also amongst the top 3 in the other markets which are Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium.
I noticed you recently partnered with a company called Attivio and you’re using active intelligence. Tell us more about that.
We changed our service provider to Attivio in the 1st quarter of 2009. They offer a very good service and we’ve developed that service further with them as we move forward to really have a state of the art product in terms of search. That is all I want to give away about what we do with Attivio. But the service has really helped us to enhance our search results for the users.
We were talking earlier and you mentioned a term RQ, what is RQ?
RQ is the international translation and in Germany we call it BQ, Beziehungsquotient. RQ is our newest product and RQ stands for Relationship Quotient, which has a close relationship to the intelligence quotient. RQ tests your approach to relationships, whether it is a long or short term approach. It checks what you expect from a relationship to really be happy. You can also see which type you are and you can match your type and your RQ with everyone else’s RQ on the service.
Have you reviewed your user base to see what proportion of your users are looking for long term versus casual relationships?
Friendscout24’s usership is very broad. Every day 12,000 new people register, which means clearly we’re not a niche product. Almost 40% are looking for a long term relationship. If we allow multiple answers, this goes up to 60%. But the rest of them or the same people at the same time are also interested in other types of partnership.
What is the split between male and female in that 40% number?
Females are the bigger number in being long term related. I think that seems to be part of human nature. But we also see that women take a self determined approach at short term relationships.
We’re talking about highly educated women here, with their own income. They clearly are not all looking for someone to just marry and be happy with for the rest of their lives. They have a tendency to go for short term relationships too.
We did some research to look at the future of online dating and what needs people want to see served on online dating services. To find someone you can spend your life with is what everybody has in common whether they are short or long term oriented in the now. This basic need never goes away.
How are you addressing the rise of free dating?
We can’t see it as really affecting the market. The market leaders all have paid services. So for us the rise of free dating isn’t an issue. In the past 2 years we’ve seen that the willingness to pay more is what has driven market growth. So market growth in the last 18 months has no longer been driven by the number of new people but by the ability of the services to offer high value services, which people are willing to pay higher prices for.
Are you seeing a rise in the number of users who are wanting to use their cell phones and iPhones to access the service?
Yes absolutely. You can’t even call that a trend any longer because it is a fact. We offered mobile services very early in our company life which is natural because we are part of Deutsche Telekom. Right now we’re really waiting to see our new iPhone app enter the market.
Do you think location based services are an invasion of privacy or do you think ultimately these location based services are good for internet dating?
Location based services will really be a new thing which we have to take very seriously.
Can you tell me how internet dating has changed and effected society since the mid-90’s?
I think that internet dating has changed the way people approach partnerships. It actually helps people to be a lot more self determined in finding the right partner. But it also ensures that the approach you choose is much more defined by you. You are the owner. You are in control. This is especially important for women. So for women this is a very emancipated way to approach a partnership. It has also helped people to feel a lot more at ease with finding out about another person before they actually get serious with that person. It helps you to feel more secure; it helps you to go into a partnership with a better understanding of who that person is. And if you don’t want to continue a partnership you don’t have to.
I think it has really helped people to become more self determined and to have a lot more control. If you look at the success rates, 33% of our singles who quit the service tell us they have found the person they were looking for. So this is a success rate which the market has brought to society.
DW WORLD - Aug 20 - Every month ~7M German singles are active on online dating sites. And with over 2,000 German online dating sites, it would seem that these singles are spoiled for choice. This, however, isn't necessarily the reality as the public loses track of which sites are actually useful, according to Henning Wiechers, CEO of Singleboersen-vergleich, an online portal that rates dating websites in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Although many areas of e-commerce tend to be dominated by large American companies, Wiechers said 7 of Germany's top 10 online dating platforms are "made in Germany." Hamburg-based ElitePartner targets high-income singles with a university education. ElitePartner's last year's turnover was over 20M euros ($25 million). Other leading websites, like FriendScout24 said it registers thousands of new members every day. FULL ARTICLE @ DW WORLD
This is the news for February 23rd through March 2nd, 2010. Here is the news we covered:
HORIZONT.NET - Feb 24 - According to Nielsen 7,5 Million German Internet users visited at least one dating site in January 2010. Parship, Elitepartner, Friendscout24 overall counted for 16,4% of active Internet users in Germany. In the last year, dating sites spent 107M Eur for advertising. FriendScount24 which spent 39.8M Eur had 1.1M unique visitors in January 2010 followed by ElitePartner with 893 unique visitors and FlirtCafe with 809 unique visitors. FULL ARTICLE @ HORIZONT.NET
This is the news for the week of October 23rd through October 29th, 2009. We hope you enjoy the new weekly news format. Here is the news we covered for this week:
PR NEWSWIRE -- June 25 -- Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine (AIE) has been selected to power Deutsche Telekom's FriendScout24. Using Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine, FriendScout24 was able to create a more user-friendly site with real-time field updates that lets visitors know which members best match their dating criteria and are actually present online at that moment.
The full article was originally published at PR Newswire, but is no longer available.
OPW -- June 6 -- OKCupid is being a good sport and is sending traffic to some of its competitors, for free! If you take the OKCupid's "dating-personality-test", at the question 43. they ask about genital diseases and state "if yes, click here" and link out to a leading dating site. In Germany the link used to take users to FriendScout24. After FriendScout24 complained, they swapped the link out with "parship.de". In France OKCupid sends people with genital diseases to meetic.fr, in Spain to amigos.com, in the USA to eHarmony and in Brazil to Terra.com.br. - Mark Brooks
OPW INTERVIEW -- May 24 -- FriendScout24 is the top internet dating site in Germany and Switzerland and ranked #3 in Spain. See rankings. Here's our interview with the CEO, Christoph Mempel. - Mark Brooks
What is FriendScout24's founding story?
FriendScout24 was founded 1997 under the name People United by private founders in Cologne. In 2000, People United was acquired by the Scout24 group, a private finance company, and was renamed FriendScout24. The company then moved from Cologne to Munich, where most of the Scout24 companies are located. In 2003, the Deutsche Telekom Group, the largest telecommunications group in Germany, which has an internet presence, bought the whole Scout24 group, including FriendScout24.
How many people work at FriendScout24 now?
Right now we have 90 employees, and we think by the end of the year there will be about 110. We are constantly growing. To give you an idea of our development: we started with 5 to 10 people after the acquisition by Scout24.
How would you characterize FriendScout24 against your competition, and how is the service different?
In Germany, we have with 7 millon members the largest database of singles. FriendScout24 is the market leader and stands for reliable and first class service. For example, we constantly work to secure the authenticity of the user profiles. We want to offer our users everything they need, to get the best chance of finding the right partner by offering them a big variety of interesting singles. I think this is the most important thing to know about FriendScout24.
I see you're in Germany and Spain, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. With your top 3 positions in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, how are things going in Italy, which I hear is the emerging market for Internet dating.
This year, we could add the Netherlands to that list. We launched our service in the Netherlands at the end of January. Regarding the Italian market, we're doing quite well. We entered Italy almost a year ago and the market situation is similiar to Spain. The challenge right now is getting more and more online traffic in Italy. We support our brand with a lot of press work, furthermore we are working on identifying different channels, which we can use to push the online traffic and the business opportunities in Italy in general.
How have you reached out to users via mobile phones?
In Germany, we launched a mobile application very early and we were one of the first companies to implement such a service. However, this was no focus for our business for quite a while, because the technical development of mobile phones was not that fast. Now it is emerging again. Therefore we will extend our mobile application features, and will also implement new product innovations in this field.
Have you also considered launching applications on social networks such as Facebook and other local networks?
It's interesting that you ask, as this is also on our list this year. We believe, that this is not a big topic right now. In Germany, the social network companies, including Facebook, are ready to start with a German site and there are further popular sites, e.g. StudiVZ. We are monitoring this segment of the market very seriously and will - based on the developments - check the appreciation for such applications.
One of the arguments that I hear time and time again is that social networking is pulling people away from the Internet dating market. Is that true or do you think the two can work together?
I think they can work together. We don't see a shift in people going away from dating sites to social network sites and I believe it's still a different business. Two years ago, when the hype about social communities started, we weren't sure if there would be an impact on our work and if this would draw a lot of users from our sites. In reality, we can't see a big impact of social communities on our work, because the focus is quite different. Besides, social networks are successful in Germany, and especially StudiVZ, in terms of page impressions, is a very highly ranked site, regarding the younger target group. However, our members are not only looking for a social network, but also for a targeted search of a soulmate. We have 9,000 registrations daily, so they don't appear to be a real threat.
What are your goals for FriendScout24 over the coming year?
One of our main goals for this year is to secure and expand our market leadership in Germany. We see a market consolidation right now in Germany. For the last 3 – 4 years everyone expected a consolidation, but it didn't happen in Germany. Therefore it is important for us, to keep and to strengthen our position. There is a lot going on in the German market. I'm sure you're informed about Meetic, which acquired Neu.de, a big player in Germany.
A second goal is to expand our European presence. We have a few other countries on our list to launch our product this year.
Talking about product innovation, we do have a lot of convenient features for our users. It's our main focus, to offer a big variety of attractive features which make it easy, fun and successful to find a partner.
SWISS INFO -- Apr 14 -- The most popular Swiss dating agencies - swissflirt, friendscout24, meetic and match.com - each have up to 260,000 registered users. Switzerland's population is ~7.4 million - with ~five million over 18. The top 20 worldwide dating sites receive ~90 million hits a month. Swissflirt, which claims to be Switzerland's largest dating site, has ~90,000 female users and twice as many male users. FULL ARTICLE @ SWISS INFO
Mark Brooks: Europe is hot! I'm in Prague right now. Expect more Euro content and luminary interviews. ;-)