WSJ -- Jan 27 -- Match has been reaching out to singles over 50 and divorcées, pitching itself as a destination for mainstream daters who want serious relationships. Its TV ads feature a 71-year-old with the user name DanishBeauty22. Although Match made up less than 5% of IAC's $6.5 billion in sales over the past 12 months, it contributed more than 10% of the company's $464 million in operating profit. In the past two years, Match has boosted the number of paying customers by a third. At Match, 23% of subscribers are over 50, more than double the number two years ago. Yahoo Personals has seen double-digit growth in the number of users over 50 in the past two years, thanks in part to a new service that provides extra control, privacy, and security. eHarmony's fastest-growing age group last year was the over-50 segment. CEO, Mr. Safka asked his staff to check the behavior of older daters on the site and to pinpoint their difficulties in using it. For example, many were stopped cold while filling out their online profile by the fourth question, which asked their views on body art and piercings. Match developed a variety of one-click buttons: "How It Works" to help new users navigate the site, "See More Like Him/Her" to help users find other candidates that might catch their eye, and most important, a "No Thanks" button to ease the awkwardness of turning down electronic suitors. Mrs. Williams likes Match's "Connections" button, which takes her to a set of pictures of the men with whom she corresponds. Match hired "Dr. Phil." Match is policed by a staff of 12, who review each profile before it is posted, removing explicit photos and working to keep out prostitutes, financial schemers, agencies offering foreign brides, and liars.
Mr. Safka is also trying to repeat his stateside success internationally, challenging Match's chief international rival, Meetic, which has 80% of the French market and attracts young daters with sexy, fast-paced ads. Based on its experience in the U.S., Match is aiming at over-40s seeking someone to "share life's journey," not younger ones looking for hookups.
Mark Brooks: Match is wringing more money from each customer, targeting the users that are more likely to be paying customers, and expanding abroad. A winning combination for revenues and the bottom line. They have also just started charging for MatchTalk and are testing different pricepoints.