Spark Loses $164k On $13.2 million - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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We just launched a new dating site focused on long term compatibility. We expected the first month to be tough but we are pretty surprised to see such a positive response primarily from Los Angeles singles.

Mark Brooks

btw, you've got a profile photo of a gun toting woman on your home page

Ross Williams -

This is a good example to illustrate that traffic doesn't equal revenues and certainly doesn't equal profit.

How can a dating site lose money?

When was the last time their CEO used the site? What about the senior management, how often do they use the site to find a date?

Dating companies which have to develop their own software, run their own customer support, manage their own hosting etc just won't be able to compete with the smarter, more agile dating businesses that have developed over recent years who only incur the cost of marketing for their site and use a platform partner.

(crickey, that was aggressive, I'm sounding like the dark sith lord now!!) :)


Sam Moorcroft,

Let's see, we:
1. develop our own software
2. run our own customer support
3. manage our own hosting

Man, what have we been doing, wasting our time for all these years?

We'd better sign up ASAP with or we're doomed!;-)

Mark Brooks

I paid a visit to the President of Spark Networks the week that Adam Berger started and was quite impressed to learn that he was spending his first week as a customer service person, on the phones talking to customers.

Ross Williams

Aaah, Sam you're different and you know your audience :) You've got a great niche and a very solid business - it's some of the larger player I see suffering as a result of smaller, more nimble players like yourself.

Being on the phones talking to customers is a great move - it's obviously not enough for Spark judging by their results but that's more than many do.


Sam Moorcroft,

Yeah, just foolin' with ya, Ross - I got your point:) Those of us who have been around for a while, are in a good niche, and have remained nimble, will be around for a whole lot longer. It is all these newbies trying to copy us (and others) that don't stand a chance.

A lot of this is the downside of all the media hype recently about dating and the recession. Everyone thinks online dating is the panacea and they jump right in, ready to get rich quick.

Let's re-visit this a year from now and see how many of them are still around:)

Wasn't it Ray Croc who said, "When you see your
competitor drowning, put a hose down his throat"?

What, me, aggressively competitive? No!


Ross we doing technology and support also in house.
If you do it smart/effective it costs you 5-7% of revenue...
Why I shall give 50% or OK ( if I am big) 30% of MY revenue to Mr. Ross ? :-)
Or I have old info and now your revenue share 90/10 in favor of your partners.



These guys have been trying to find someone capable to run the company for many years. The problem is that none of the people at the helm are hungry enough to turn the ship around. They've added new sites to their network, but the core offering hasn't changed and their products haven't kept up with the times.

Broadly, online dating is still essentially the same product offered since the late 90s. It's time someone launched a dating site that offers something new and not the same old bullsh*t.

Greg G$ Kim

Spark performance is not indicative of industry trends nor niche trends. Maybe companies are eating their lunch due to better marketing prowess or larger communities or metrics paradigm. Spark has lowered their subscription price on some of their niche sites like Black which was $29.99 for a 1 mth subscription and now $9.99. Not only have they copied in many respects from our product development to marketing creatives and marketing messaging but now to lower pricing to build scale. But as any expert in the paid dating space knows, going up in price will improve your economics (a price/LTV increase will typically outweigh any loss in conversion) but going down is a double edged sword even if they are able to drive more subscribers. Can't wait to see Q1'09 results.


I have to say I'm not surprised. I've had a few go-rounds with the customer service for JDate and I was never very impressed. Recently I found a site called through an advertisement in the Jewish Journal, and so far so good.

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