THE GUARDIAN - Nov 27 - Jerry Miller's FarmersOnly.com dating site has attracted 5M subscribers. Miller, who works in agricultural marketing, got the idea to start the dating service when he kept meeting lonely farmers through his work. Living in a rural area where the nearest neighbor is miles away and everyone knows each other does not leave a lot of dating options. Also the odd hours and lack of weekends of farm life don't make for easy dating.
THE GUARDIAN - Oct 29 - Match.com operating profits plunged by 80% to £1.6M in the year to 31 December. Turnover was also down more than 10% at £38.2M as apps such as Tinder changed the nature of online dating. "The industry is in a bit of a crusher," said Mark Brooks, analyst at consultancy Courtland Brooks. "The mobile medium has come of age and over 70% of Internet daters in the UK are just using their smartphones. It's an amazing transition that has truly roiled the dating industry. If Match is suffering, their competitors are suffering more."
"Smartphone growth is an opportunity more than a challenge," continues Brooks. "Laggard dating companies that have not created compelling mobile experiences are dying. Most old school incumbents have stumbled in this respect." Research firm Mintel predicts that despite the current upheaval the UK online dating industry will grow from £165M to £225M by 2019.
by Zoe Wood & Sarah Butler
See full article at The Guardian
THE GUARDIAN - May 23 - 3nder fights back by asking users to tweet pictures of their socks with #TinderSuckMySocks. Tinder is alleging copyright infringement against 3nder, an app for non-monogamous couples and their potential partners. Founder Dimo Trifonov vowed to fight Tinder but said the financial muscle Match Group might be too much for it. 3nder grew 30% in 2015, sending its revenues soaring by ~980%.
THE GUARDIAN - May 5 - Some couples use Swipebuster, FlexiSPY and mSpy to track each other's texts and Tinder swipes. Swipebuster scans Tinder's public database and reveals whether someone has a profile and the last time they used it for $4.99. FlexiSPY and mSpy, once covertly installed, enable remote surveillance of a person's phone. On the more ethical side are apps such as Couple Tracker and mCouple that allow partners to access each other's texts, calls, Facebook activity and GPS location.
THE GUARDIAN - Apr 11 - Match.com has come under fire for suggesting red hair and freckles are "imperfections" in its new ad on billboards in tube in London. Another advert, which features a person with two different coloured eyes, has also been criticised.
THE GUARDIAN - Jan 3 - The League dating app heavily vets members, claims that only 20-25% of those who apply are allowed in, and has ~75K people on its waiting list. It launched in America last year and is now coming to the UK. Applicants must provide access to their profiles on LinkedIn. One selective dating app already operating in the UK is The Inner Circle, which has 22K members and ~24K on the waiting list. The app will launch in the US this year. Luxy dating app bills itself as "Tinder without the poor people". To be accepted, users must be either rich or beautiful.
THE GUARDIAN - Dec 5 - People post their pictures and information, rate users, and answer Disney-related questions, as well as share their favourite Disney moments. The site works on a freemium model. It's free to sign up, but $12.55/month to send private messages.
THE GUARDIAN - Nov 30 - United Nations research has found the growing use of mobile dating apps by young gay men is a major factor in a new HIV epidemic among teenagers in Asia. While global HIV infections are falling, the number of adolescents aged 10-19 officially living with HIV in Asia has grown to ~220K. Grindr runs in-app announcements encouraging testing at local clinics. Online Buddies, the parent company of the gay dating app Jack'd, set up a research institute focusing on gay sexual health.
THE GUARDIAN - Aug 17 - Technology is often blamed for social isolation. We’d rather message our friends than meet them. Chatbots take this to the next level. Cortana, the Microsoft creation, will text-message users back and forth about everything. In China, Xiaoice has attracted millions of loyal followers since its introduction last year. Dubbed the "girlfriend app", the chatbot uses artificial-intelligence software to remember details from previous discussions and mines the web for question-and-answer style conversations.
THE GUARDIAN - Aug 8 - "The League" dating app is for ambitious driven, young professionals that want to date other ambitious, driven young professionals,” explained Amanda Bradford, founder of The League. There’s a waiting list 100K people long to be accepted into The League. Once accepted, members receive five new matches every day at 5pm. The app is linked to LinkedIn. It launched in San Fran in Nov 2014, then in New York and expects to launch in LA and London soon. Another apps for the elites is BeLinked and Luxy that self-described as Tinder without the poor people.
THE GUARDIAN - May 8 - Tinder has rejected research that estimated that 42% of its users are either married or in a relationship. "The results of this tiny, 681 person study in the UK is a totally inaccurate depiction of Tinder’s user base", said Tinder's spokesman. "The largest age group on Tinder (over 50% of users) is 18-24. More than 93% of UK residents in that age range have never been married, according to the UK's office of National Statistics. Simple logic should reveal that it's essentially impossible for any of these claims to be accurate." GlobalWebIndex has defended its methodology. "Our data is based on interviews with a panel of ~170K Internet users worldwide."
THE GUARDIAN - Apr 12 - There are now ~91M people on dating apps – and most of that is thanks to Tinder that makes 21M matches and processes 1.5B swipes every day. A new generation of app developers, many of them women, are launching female-orientated dating apps where women are the gatekeepers. One of them is Bumble, founded by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe. "Bumble is about establishing equality", she says. "When some men feel rejected, they respond with aggression. So if we eliminate the rejection, what is there to be aggressive about?” Susie Lee is the creator of Siren, an app where a woman’s photos are hidden to men until she chooses to match with them. Siren is expanding globally in the summer. Even more interesting is Wyldfire. The app's initial unique selling point is that only men invited by women could be a part of the app, though it has recently introduced an “election” feature where men can offer themselves up to have their profile vetted by female members. The Grade marks users from A+ to F depending on their popularity, quality of messages and responsiveness.
THE GUARDIAN - Feb 17 - 62% of the 91M people using location-based dating apps are male, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex. 16-34 year-olds are the largest group of users, accounting for 70% of the audience for these apps. Just a fifth of dating app users are paying for an online dating service.
THE GUARDIAN - Feb 9 - Taobao, China’s version of Amazon, offers virtual girlfriends and boyfriends for $2 per day. These are real humans, but they only relate with their paying customers via the phone to perform fairly unromantic tasks such as wake up calls, good night calls, and “sympathetically listen to clients’ complaints”. Similar services already exist in India, where biwihotohaisi.com helps bachelors “practice” for married life with a virtual wife. A new US app, Invisible Boyfriend, allows users to customise the looks, personality and interests of an imaginary male partner and pay $25 for his virtual company.
THE GUARDIAN - Oct 13 - Lisa Hoehn's website, Profile Polish, offers editing of dating profiles. “Writing about yourself is really hard,” says Hoehn. She spends three to four hours on each client, rewriting their profiles to sound conversational, upbeat and interesting. Business is steady, if seasonal. Major dating sites tried to offer professional profile editing services themselves but failed, says Mark Brooks, an internet dating industry analyst. Match and eHarmony learned that people required all-around coaching on online romance. It’s a territory Brooks terms “hazardous” for the dating sites to do themselves. Evan Marc Katz has a dating coaching business that is focused entirely on women. He charges $5,250/4weeks and $7,775/12 weeks to teach women how to make a man commit. If that may seem like big money, Brooks is not surprised. It’s behavioural economics, he says. “When people do good [in dating], then they are willing to pay good in business.” More and more users are moving to mobile apps. The distant future, Brooks says, may be wearable computing. More data could lead to better algorithms. In 10 years’ time, dating websites may track everything that goes on when you meet your online date. “Do we know your heart rate? Do we know if you’re sweating. There’s going to be so many more observables,” Brooks says.
THE GUARDIAN - Apr 16 - Local government holds social 'machikon' events to introduce people to each other. Machikon take place in cafes and restaurants and are small festivals: the streets are closed to traffic, and participants pay a fee of £15 to £35. In return they get unlimited food and drink. The idea is that people talk and form relationships. According to the Japan Machikon Producers Organisation local government affiliates have organised 59 machikon events since 2012.
by Aya Homei
See full article at The Guardian
THE GUARDIAN - Apr 7 - Ukraine's internet romance industry is booming, despite the unrest. Odessa is the biggest hub. There are legions of western men in town meeting with young women they have met online. Anastasia International is one of the companies organizing romance tours to Odessa. Men pay for every minute they chat online to a woman and ~$5K for a week in Odessa hoping to find a wife. Many of the men on the tour are patently unrealistic. The majority of them fall victim to a number of sophisticated scams. Anastasia International, while not directly colluding in the scams, runs a highly profitable business model (annual projected revenue of $140M) that allows them to flourish. The company insists that it weeds out scams whenever it finds them, and has banned some women from the site. It also says it will reimburse clients who fall victims to scams, and provides advice on how to avoid them.