BUSINESS 2.0 MAGAZINE -- Mar 30 -- Andrew Conru, a mechanical engineering Stanford PhD, started the first online dating site, WebPersonals, in the early '90s, sold it in 1995, [started again in 1996] and now owns 27 sites under Various Inc. which control twice as much online dating traffic as Match.com. AdultFriendFinder accounts for 60% of the revenue. Conru's privately held, 450-person company brings in well over $200 million in annual revenue, and averaged 40% annual growth for the past nine years. With more than 35 million visitors in 2006 and 75,000 new users registering each day, AFF ranks among the 100 most popular sites in the U.S.A. It's become so mainstream that a joke about it appeared in the and romantic comedy, Because I Said So. "In Hugh Hefner's day, it was 'It's OK to look at sexuality,'" Conru says. "Now it's OK to be sexual." The average AFF user pays $20 a month; others shell out as much as $50. "The more niche you get, the more value per member," Conru explains. To expand without investment capital, Conru invented a massive affiliate program, in effect outsourcing his marketing to the public. Various now has more than 500,000 affiliates. This year his goal is to buy six businesses. So far he's done well with the three purchases he's made (Gradfinder.com, Bondage.com, and FastCupid.com). FULL ARTICLE @ CNN
Mark Brooks: Here's the Quantcast numbers for the top adult dating sites...
AdultFriendFinder - 9.6m uniques/month
SexSearch - 3.3m uniques/month
Mate1 - 2.5 million uniques/month
I worked for Andrew in 2003 and remember Andrew walking into the marketing office one day and declaring part serious, part in jest, 'who can I fire today.' He was on his third marketing team in two years. Six months later one third had quit and the other third had been canned.