MARKETING DAILY - June 17 - Zoosk's new "photo verification" feature enables users to submit videos of themselves certifying their profile photos are accurate representations of what they look like in real life. This feature will be highlighted in new commercials in the brand's "First Comes Like" ad campaign.
BUSINESS INSIDER - June 17 - "Tinder works because it mimics the first thing people have to do in a real-life encounter — they have to look at the person", said biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. You can tell a lot about a person from just looking. "Dating sites are not dating sites," Fisher said. "They’re introducing sites."
NATIONAL POST - June 16 - Matthew Nolan created Verona, a free Tinder-like dating app in which Israelis and Palestinians can meet and form relationships across the world. Nolan said two of his friends, one from Israel and the other with Palestinian heritage, who are dating, influenced him to create the app.
CS MONITOR - June 15 - Singles now outnumber married adults in the US. One in 7 lives alone (~31M compared with 4M in 1950). Only 30% of Millennials say that having a successful marriage is “one of the most important things” in life, according to the Pew Research Center. In 1950, married couples represented 78% of households in the US. In 2011, the US Census Bureau reported, that it had dropped to 48%. The average age at which both men and women first marry has been creeping upward, to 27 for women and 29 for men. It was 20 for women and 22 for men in 1960. People focus on their careers and their own personal fulfillment. Also it is singles, not marrieds, who are the most active. When people get married, they have less contact with their friends. The definition of “single” is a bit vague. Statistically, it simply means unmarried. And that leaves plenty of room for different family structures.
VATOR.TV - June 13 - Zoosk sells premium subscriptions, as well as features that can be unlocked with digital currency called Zoosk coins. Coins come in packages; users can spend $99.95 for 1,800 coins, $39.95 on 480 coins or $19.95 on 180 coins. Digital currency is still a relatively small revenue stream for Zoosk, but it is growing. In 2013 the company made $24,350 from this stream, up from $5,376 the year before.
DAILYMAIL.CO.UK - June 14 - There are currently ~6M people claiming benefits according to the DWP (Department for Work and Pension). A new dating site for those people, called BenefitsBritain.com, launched on Friday, with Benefits Street star White Dee approached to be the site's poster girl.
FINANCIAL MAIL - June 14 - Dating entrepreneur Ross Williams has pocketed a £725K share of the payout, which was a fall from the previous year’s dividend of £2.5M. His company Global Personals, which last month changed its name to Venntro Media Group, increased its turnover by £2M to £44.3M for the year to August 31, 2014 but pre-tax profits fell from £4.1M to £2.3M.
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TECH CRUNCH - June 12 - Bumble, the dating app founded by ex-Tinder employees, said its female users have started ~1M conversations on the platform. Bumble works like Tinder but once a match is established, only females can initiate conversations. ~60% of matches result in a conversation, according to cofounder Whitney Wolfe. Monthly active users grew by 65% during May. 55% of users are male and 45% female.
AP - June 12 - A large number of women are signing up for AshleyMadison in South Korea. AshleyMadison launched here in April 2014, and within the first two weeks ~50K people had signed up. The site was shut down but opened again in February when SKorea struck down the anti-adultery law. Ashley Madison again took off. In its first two weeks after reopening, ~100K new members signed up, generating $400K in revenue. Successful men caught cheating usually suffer no career setbacks and often stay married. For a woman, however, the damage is "irreparable" - huge social stigma that can include the loss of not only her job but her family.
INSIDERMEDIA - June 10 - Global Personals, a parent company of WhiteLabelDating.com, is looking to further expand into the US market. Revenues grew from £42.2M to ~£44.3M for the year ended 31 Aug '14. But pre-tax profits fell from £4.1M to £2.3M due to an increase in administrative expenses. Global Personals is now focusing on its core White Label Dating platform together with its B2B partners and stopped "non-core operations" in areas such as gaming and acquisition investment on its B2C site portfolio.
WSJ - June 10 - Dating sites in the U.S. are expected to make $1.17B and dating apps $628.8M this year, up from $1.08B and $572M respectively in 2014, according to IBISWorld. “There are too many players and not a lot are generating sufficient revenue,” said Britanny Carter, analyst for IBISWorld. Even major players are under pressure: Zoosk withdrew its plans for an IPO and laid off 15% of its staff. Grindr recently hired investment bank Raine Group to help it find a buyer. But Grindr CEO Joel Simkhai said his service is profitable. Most of the apps that are generating revenue with a combination of ads and freemium features. Users still pay to join some dating sites because it allows them to meet others who have chosen to pay to meet people as well. "It demonstrates a lot of commitment when someone has put a coin on the table," said Mark Brooks, CEO of Courtland Brooks, a company that helps dating companies with business development.eHarmony logged ~$275M in revenue, its highest level in several years.
PRMAC - June 10 - Avid Life Media, the parent company of AshleyMadison.com, launched ManCrunch Mobile, a gay video chat app allowing users to video chat with others. ManCrunch Mobile is the mobile reinvention of the long-standing ManCrunch website which already has 175K members worldwide.
DAILYMAIL.CO.UK - June 9 - Eight executives who ran several popular Japanese dating sites have been arrested after it was revealed that out of their 2.7M members, only one of them was a woman. The men were paying its staff members to pose as women looking for love rather than attracting genuine female members. The scam the eight executives are accused of operating is known as a 'sukura' in Japan.
THE STREET - June 10 - Boomerly is a new matchmaking site for baby boomers, created by Margaret Manning, the founder of SixtyandMe.com, a blog community of “~100K Baby Boomer women". Stitch, based in Sydney, is a similar site for people over 50. The site works a little bit like Tinder. Users can only communicate when both of them have said, 'I'm interested.’ Stitch is currently available in San Fran Bay area, New York and Sydney, with LA and other cities coming soon.
GRUENDERSZENE - June 10 - Tomorrow Focus, Munich-based Internet group, sold its dating portal Elite Partner to Oakley Capital for 22M EUR. Tomorrow Focus wants to focus on the online travel market. Oakley Capital, headquartered in London, is a private equity firm which focuses on investments in telecommunications, information technology and media. Oakley also bought Parship in May 2015.
PR NEWSWIRE - June 8 - Jiayuan.com received a new letter from Vast Profit Holdings Limited that proposes a "going-private" transaction involving the acquisition of all of the outstanding ordinary shares for $4.80. Vast Profit previously offered $3.58 per share.