Online Personals Watch Exclusive Interview #6 -'s CEO - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Fernando Ardenghi

Dear Mr. Brooks:

Two important things to evaluate.

1) Did you ask the CEO if the company is profitable? If not when?

2) By 2007 or sooner the market will divide into two well-identified branches.

13-25 years old persons (teenagers) not interested in serious dating; they will use the service for fun. They are used to send a lot of traffic with emails, photos, videos, or simply stay in chat rooms for hours. They will need exclusive contents for members like blogs for members, recipes for cooking, songs in mp3 format at special prices, advice about leisure activities, entertainment, travel, holidays, music, movies, books, online magazine about lifestyles, etc. They will want to be 24hs a day online or pending of their cell phone / PDA. Each person will have its private TRUMAN SHOW . Everybody will be TRUMAN for 5,000 "friends" (CASUAL ACQUAINTANCES). Mobile / wireless services for that group will not be cheap, perhaps operators will charge a fixed rate plan, but not less than USD100 per month. Mobile applications will only complement but not replace On Line Dating / Social Networking Internet sites


26-and more years old persons interested in serious dating.
They will need quality contacts (COMPATIBLE REAL PERSONS) like off line chains, reliability, code of ethics and legislation, which will protect them from felons, convicts, fake profiles, unsolicited offers, spyware, adware and other pest. They will know that "If any person does not pay for the service or does not want to pay for the service, he or she is not interested in serious dating, or is not interested in investing time and effort in building a new relationship with future in mind". They will pay for the service to avoid being hurt in their feelings by others. They know the difference between REAL FRIENDS from CASUAL ACQUAINTANCES and also the difference between COMMUNITY from MEAT MARKET. They will not be 24hs a day online or pending of their cell phone / PDA. Mobile / wireless services for that group will peak and decay because mobile dating is very time consuming, it could disturb at every moment.


Fernando Ardenghi
Buenos Aires
[email protected]


Now we're #5. We're the 5th largest online personals company (per Hitwise).


I checked today, and the number 5 position goes to Venus123 is nothing but a 1 page front site for adware. is very good at ranking popup spam/adware.

Webdate says they do 300k signups a month and 40% of that they are paying for. Assuming an average aquisition cost of $1.50 to $3/member they are spending 150k to $300,000/month + on marketing.

A previous news release ( stated that webdate only has 50% of its members in North America. This is important as most banner sites will only pay well for north american traffic. Most non north american members are unwilling to convert to paying members.

I would seem that is caught between a rock and a hard place. The free dating model is proving to be a failure because operating costs seem to be between 200 to 500k/month and advertising revenue probably doen't exceed 30k/month + 150k/month from cell phones?

Mark Brooks

Free is not maintainable. You know the metrics. You have to run very lean to make advertising work. Webdate has high aspirations. Advertising income only will get them so far. They have invested to build a solid userbase. Credit to them for that.

Webdate has been biding their time and building a solid dating service chock full of people, with some solid features. One to watch.

Venus 123 has probably been driving traffic with email. A flash in the pan.

On further inspection, there was no specific name for the domain name owner on internic. The contact's email was [email protected]. Huladirect is an email marketing company.


Free is maintainable, but webdates parent company is huge and i'm sure they are looking for huge returns.

Plentyoffish is larger then webdate, but doesn't get much press as the bulk of our membership is in canada.

Only websearch and alexa can rank global traffic of sites.

I also noticed that venus123 is linking to sites with a parameter called "vendare" which i suspect is the adware/spyware company

30+ singles is paying $6.00 a email for first page registration, jdate is paying $4.85 thirty plus christians is paying $4.40 a email, 4.25 and american singles 3.75. Add another 25% fee to affiliate network to that and you realize they are paying a LOT. I am curious to see how webdate plans to indroduce CHEAP payment options and compete with other sites. It would seem most sources of traffic are very expensive now.

Glenn Gasner

I just want to mention that this is another phenomenal interview!

Tim Gray

Yes, Webdate invested in a big user base. But who is really inside it? Leaving an online personals system 100% free will only attract all the freaks and non-serious people.

Anyone disagree with this fact?


Looks like Hitwise added a spam filter today, and webdate drops to position 15. Its good to see them try and clean up their ranking systems.

Believe it or not alexa and are a far better indictor of who the top 10 dating sites are. Those ranking systems take into account pageviews+ unique visitors and they filter out popups for the most part. Sites like webdate spend hundreds a day to generate 10's of thousands of popups which pushes their ranking through the roof.

These latest changes by hitwise are moving them closer to having somewhat realistic rankings. I hope that comscore will make similar changes as their rankings measure nothing more then adware popup activity. (need only look at how they rank tickle)

Webdate plays up the hitwise numbers a lot in the media/press i wonder what the stratagy is now that they have been sent from #5 to #15.


WebDate is fine the way it is. Not everyone out there is perfect (I know I'm not), so why screen out the pepole some web executive sees as unfit. After all we are adults so let us decide wwhat is and isn't exceptable in mate. As far as only people who aren't serious looking for a mate on a free site this is just not true many people go there and find what they were looking for. Anyways I never saw any results with any pay dating site but with WebDate I found my husband. WebDate would be more popular than all the other sites if they publicly advertised more. WebDates biggest advertisement is word of mouth. WebDate is the best video/date/chat site for those who don't take everything so seriously. It is for real people not ones trying to sugar coat them selves to find a mate. In this day and age things are changing E-friends are every bit as meaningful as the friend you met in school or at work.


I finally left that site due to poor customer service. Not sure how they can be ranked anything with members leaving all the time. Apparently a hack has made the site unbearable for alot of people. The inablility to get rid of abusive chatters has rendered webdate useless.


The problem with Webdate is the neglect by those that own it. If they would take notice of their userbase again, and not ignore those that would like to help, they might again make themselves viable. Their focus has totally moved away from this site, which is a shame. There is a slight pickup in the users now that they are free again, but they also removed all the checks as a cost savings. Hey guys, listen to your userbase. We'd like to help, you just won't let us!

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Interesting read, where are these guys in the ranks now?

POF is still at the top of the game in their free format I know that much.

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