OPW INTERVIEW -- July 12, 2007 -- I talked with Ross Williams and Steve Pammenter the co-founders of White Label Dating. I’ll be interviewing more executives of white label services shortly. Meanwhile, email me at [email protected] if you’d like a copy of my preliminary overview of white labels services. - Mark Brooks
Ross, what’s your founding story?
White Label Dating actually originated from a web development company I started back in the mid-90’s. In 1998 I founded a digital media company called Rawnet Limited that developed websites and web-based applications for a range of clients. Like a lot of web design companies at the time, we had done a few dating sites here and there, but I felt the market really wasn’t being utilized in the most effective ways. Everyone was focusing on their own brand dating site but all these sites that we developed they had their own database, they had their own technology. So the concept was to develop an application that anyone with a brand, anyone who could do design, any web master could use to launch their own online dating site in a few minutes and then get access to a shared database of members and both shared payment technology and shared support and hosting. That original idea is what evolved into Whitelabeldating.com.
What are both of your backgrounds?
Ross: I’ve been an Internet entrepreneur and the owner of a web development company since we established it in 1998. Since then we’ve set up Whitelabeldating.com as well as a couple of other web orientated businesses.
Steve: My background is actually remarkably non-technical. In fact, my previous career was almost entirely based in sales. That experience has been invaluable in helping us in acquiring partners. So I tend to concentrate on the acquisition side of the business.
What kind of partners are you targeting?
Right now, a lot of our focus is on the targeting of offline partners. Typically, we are talking about magazine publishers who have an existing website but no dating channel. We have obviously targeted the existing online communities who are looking to monetize their existing databases by adding a free, fully populated dating channel onto their database.
What kind of money can they earn?
Depending on what partner does with what we give them, they can do quite well. Some of our partners earn thousands of pounds and up per month. Last month, our top earning partner earned 175,000 pounds.
Ross, what do you regard as your biggest differentiators over other co-brand dating service providers?
First and foremost, we are a really strong community. We have integrated instant messaging that works without any plug-ins that members can use across the network. Say for example, members from site A find someone in the database that interests them who happens to be a member of site B. Through our integrated chatting instant messaging system, the customers from each site can talk to each other. We also have dating diaries which are very popular feature. It’s surprising how many people amongst the customer base will actually create a diary of their dating experience. These diaries can be viewed and shared across the network to all members.
We also have articles; real content that is distributed through the site that gives a compelling reason for people to join, for people to pay for our partners to make money.
And moreover what is a critical differentiator for me is the ease of use for our partners. It is incredibly easy to set up sites. Someone can go to WhiteLabelDating.com, click on the new site button and have their own co-branded site up within a minute or two. That’s the biggest differentiator I feel.
What are your goals gentlemen for 2007 through 2008?
Steve: I think the first goal is really to become the number one White Label provider throughout the world, obviously. Really, to show we are working with some of the largest brands at the moment and that we are attracting some of the real big names.
Ross: I think also to follow on that, we recognize what our skill is in; we have a technology platform that works. People pay, our partners earn a lot of money but we’re not the marketing experts and we don’t have the brand.
So we want to attract partners in the US and Europe and in Asia and China, India, places like that who know their local market and know how to market to these people and just want a platform to make money on. And that’s where we want folks to be for the next year.