FINANCIAL TIMES -- Dec 21 -- After surging 77% in 2003, the online dating industry's revenues grew by only 7% last year to $516m (Jupiter). The fastest growth is coming singles 50+. While it took a while to catch on, eHarmony blossomed after the folksy Dr Warren took to the airwaves in a barrage of TV and radio advertisements. Match fought back and signed up Dr Phil. "Match has been moving into eHarmony's territory," said Nate Elliott, Jupiter Media analyst. Nate questions Dr Phil's scientific credentials but believes Match's more casual dating heritage may give it an edge when it comes to attracting men. Both companies are working feverishly to refine their sites. Dr Warren's researchers are promising more sophisticated love algorithms and Match plans to send customers potential mates, unsolicited, in the same way that Amazon.com recommends books. Match enjoys a clear advantage over eHarmony in the international market (18 languages). Jim Safka (CEO) has even met Japanese government officials who are worried about the country's low birthrate. FULL ARTICLE @ FT
Mark Brooks: Watch this space. I'll be interviewing Jim Safka, CEO of Match.com, about his new advertising program, VIP matchmaking services, and Match Talk, for later this week. Should be live by Friday.