Mark Brooks: Mr Janakiraman will be speaking at the upcoming Internet Dating Conference in London. See agenda.
OPW -- Aug 13 -- AshleyMadison.com gets knocked off in the latest episode of Drop Dead Diva. "You only go around once, have a fling." TiffanyLexington.com is the name shown on the computer screen. The site was obviously inspired by the dating site for marrieds, Ashley Madison. The site's founder chose the Ashley Madison name by simply selecting two of the most popular girls names. Currently Ashley ranks as the #18, and Madison as the #4 most popular girls names. Tiffany and Lexington are nowhere in the top 100 however. In the show the sites owner is being sued for 'screwing up the plaintiffs marriage and ending her sex life,' to which he responds, 'that's ridiculous...if anything, my service can revitalize a marriage.' Who does that sound like?
PRESS RELEASE -- Aug 11 -- Zoosk, the social dating community, has launched Zoosk Desktop and Zoosk Mobile. Zoosk Desktop is a downloadable app, built using Adobe AIR technology, that runs on users' computer outside of their web browsers. Members can see a real-time stream of activity by other singles in their local area as well as instant notifications when they receive winks, emails, or virtual gifts.
The full article was originally published at PR Newswire, but is no longer available.
MARKET WIRE -- Aug 11 -- Revenue for the Q2 '09 was $11.2M a decrease of 25% compared to Q2 '08. The revenue for Jewish Networks was $7.1M (down 18%) and $701,000 for General Market Networks (down of 68%). Average paying subscribers for Jewish Networks were down 10% comparing to Q2 '08.
The full article was originally published at Fox Business, but is no longer available.
OPW -- Aug 11 -- A study published by Australia’s Melbourne Institute of Economic and Social Research analysed the marital instability of 2,482 couples over six years, and the results have determined that despite the famous saying “opposites attract”, they found that couples with similar qualities stand a better chance of having a stable marriage.
The study broke down their research parameters into five main categories (Background, Marriage and Children, Attitudinal, Socio-economic and Lifestyle), each with its own subcategories, with all of the data coming from the HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) survey, which is conducted each year. The 2,482 couples observed were legally married, living together, under age 60 and both spouses were interviewed in the first wave of the survey.
The research aimed to prove that spouses with similar traits, behaviors and opinions were more likely to have a stable marriage as opposed to those with dissimilar traits. e.g. Couples who are similar in “age, preference for future children and smoking practices are associated with marital stability.”
Citing over 30 years of research, the paper concluded that age difference had a significant link to marital instability. The optimal age difference for men is between 1 year younger and 3 years older than their wife. A marriage where the husband is 2 or more years younger than his wife is 53% more likely to end in separation or divorce. The risk of separation is doubled when the husband is 9 or more years older than his wife.
Differences in smoking practices also show significant risk for instability. Also, couples are 90% more likely to separate if they've both been married 2 or more times. Other factors of marriage instability are:
Interestingly, factors that had no significant impact on the marriage stability include education, religiosity, and cohabitation before marriage.
Mark Brooks: eHarmony matches on similarities. TRUE matches more on complementary factors. Do opposites attract, really? TRUE argues that opposites make life more interesting. Please comment if you like these kinds of academic study reviews, and we'll do more of them (hi Fernando).
OPW -- Aug 11 -- A search on the present Google search for 'Internet dating' brings up Datepad and the Internet Dating Conference, along with a bunch of affiliates on the first page. On the Google search sandbox, Datepad moves up, and iDate gets shunted. Lovetropolis makes it onto the first page.
A search for 'free dating site' on the present Google search brings up PlentyofFish, software maker AbleDating and OKCupid, as #1, #2, and #3 on the first page of results. DateHookup comes in at #5. On the new Google search, POF, DateHookup and OKCupid are #1, #2 and #3, and dating software provider AbleDating is shunted from the 1st page.
Want to see how your dating site does on the next generation of Google Search? Test it at http://www2.sandbox.google.com/
OPW -- Aug 11 -- Andrew Conru, the founder and former CEO of FriendFinder, is one the poster boys for a new film called 'Shine' about the pain and personal toll of being an entrepreneur. In the trailer he says.
"All business is pain, all businesses are challenges...If it was easy everyone would have a business, everyone…business is not easy to do....You give up kind of a lot of the human interactions that most people get when you’re not the entrepreneur. Of course you have entrepreneur friends but you do get separated from that. So I think one of the key things you give up being an entrepreneur is the sense of being among peers, the sense of being what most people consider being a normal person...It’s harder to be in relationships because if you date somebody or you’re married to somebody you’re really married to your business. It is hard to have multiple loves and be unconditional about it...One of the advantages of being an entrepreneur is you get the successes that come out of it but you also have to give up....I ran the world’s largest online dating company with over 250 million people registered on it and I’m single and its just a testament of you have to be single focused."
Mark Brooks: I chipped in to get a copy of the video. We'll review it as soon as we get it. You can chip in at https://biznik.com/shine. (Full Disclosure: I was a Senior Marketing Manager at FriendFinder in 2003 and worked directly with Dr Conru.)
OPW INTERVIEW -- Aug 11 -- In the USA and Europe, internet dating sites help users hookup, find compatible partners and meet up. In India, matrimonials sites help users and their parents list themselves and their respective children’s details and advertise them as being available for marriage. Its a different mindset and methodology and Shaadi.com leads the rankings as the top matrimonials service in India (along with Bharat Matrimony). We interviewed he the founder and chief, Anupam Mittal. - Mark Brooks
What is Shaadi’s founding story?
It goes back to 1996/97. I used to live and work in the U.S. then I took a sabbatical for a couple of months and went back to India. Frankly, I was just bored. I wanted to do something, so I got together with 3 or 4 people and we started playing around with websites and tinkering on the Internet. One day I met a traditional matchmaker. In India, as you know, you don’t marry one person, you marry a family. So these matchmakers go from home to home, build relationships with families and try to make a match within their network. I was really intrigued about his business. I asked him: “How many people do you have in your network?” He said: “About 50 or 60”. So it occurred to me that if one chose this route to get married, then it was awfully limiting in terms of who you could marry. So one thing led to another and we thought, why not take this concept and put it on the Internet and that’s how Shaadi.com was born.
How would you say Shaadi is different from the likes of Match.com?
Shaadi.com is more a matrimonial platform. Match.com, for example, would never be able to justify providing all the various different fields that we do that are very important from a matrimonial perspective. For example, community and sub community or references, which is allowing people to call other people and do reference checks.
How does it work from the user perspective?
It depends on how involved you are as a user. Once you sign up we can find out, based on your activity, how involved you are as a user and what you are really looking for from Shaadi.com. One scenario would be where we don’t interact with you in the real world at all. We simply let you experience the site because you know exactly what you’re doing. The other extreme is that we call you and have you walk into a Shaadi.com center. We have about 75 Shaadi centers across India and one in Canada now. These are real world matchmaking centers.
In terms of pricing is there a big difference between somebody who uses just the online piece and the user who wants to use the matchmaking service?
There is a significant difference. In U.S. the pricing is different. We start at about $54 for 3 months, then it could go up to $300 if our members require phone assistance. In India, the price ranges from $40 to $400 because we offer the real world service there through the matchmaking centers.
How is the down economy effecting business?
Different markets are responding differently. Our Indian market has been growing stronger and stronger ever since the recession hit. However, if you look at the UK market, in September we saw a dramatic fall. But that lasted only about 2 months and since then it’s come back pretty well. So overall, we don’t see any impact because the growth in India and the growth in other markets more than compensate for the slight drop we had in the UK.
Facebook is growing quite quickly in India against the likes of Orkut. Do you see the social networks like Facebook and Orkut posing a threat to Shaadi or is there an opportunity in there?
This is a question that kept me awake a couple of years back. I used to ask myself, “Will social networks make sites like Shaadi irrelevant?” Now I know that it’s not going to happen. Over the years we have developed the site in such a way that it offers features and things that are very relevant to matrimony and marriage which Facebook or Orkut could never replicate. Their purpose of being is not to get people married but to connect them. So I see it more as an opportunity and in the next few months we will figure out how to use Facebook to make a big difference for our purposes.
You have other businesses beyond the matrimonial area. Could you tell me more about those businesses you’re involved in?
After starting Shaadi.com, I founded a couple of more businesses and over time we ended up as a group of businesses called The People Group. There are 2 primary focus areas. One is Shaadi.com which is matrimonial, of course, and the other is online real estate, Makaan.com which in Indian means home. That is something we started almost 3 years back now and it’s tracking pretty well. We also own another company, called Mauj Mobile, which is a mobile company for entertainment, mobile value added services technology and service management where we help operators generate higher revenues. Finally, there is People Pictures which is a film production company.
Where would you like to see Shaadi by the end of 2010?
India is a very complex country. You’ve got several languages, thousands of dialects, many states. India in a way is like Europe; you go south and it’s a completely different culture and within the south as well there are 4 states which have completely different ways of matchmaking and completely different requirements. So our biggest challenge is how to use the power of the Internet to be everything to everyone. That involves building a technology platform that has extreme customer segmentation based product features and the packaging that becomes very relevant to the member. If we can crack that, then I would like to use the same for the non-Indian market and expand to other cultures and communities that are culturally aligned or similar to the Indian culture.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER -- Aug 11 -- Reported rape is up 16% in Mecklenburg County this year, fueled by the popularity of Internet dating and online classifieds offering sexual services. Officials also say a higher percentage of victims each year are coming forward to report rape. Nationally, the number of rapes reported to police has increased by 30% since 1993. Craigslist has drawn fire in recent months for its adult services ads. S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster threatened to file criminal charges earlier this year against Craigslist executives. Craigslist and its CEO Jim Buckmaster fired back with a lawsuit, which is pending. N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has also focused attention on MySpace and Facebook over sexual predators trying to contact children.
The full article was originally published at Charlotte Observer, but is no longer available.
Mark Brooks: "Reported rape is up...fueled by the popularity of Internet dating and online classifieds offering sexual services." Executives of idating and adult dating sites, your comments please. Is this a fair and true statement?
"I had the opportunity to backpack around Europe for 2 weeks. I talked about it often before I left. My girlfriend however, although great in many respects, was not the world’s greatest listener. Despite even calling her to say goodbye the night before, she never realized I left. When I arrived home 2 weeks later, I had several emails from her, waiting in my inbox…"
EXPRESS NEWS -- Aug 10 -- Wayne Greene had joined It's Just Lunch before he was laid off from his job. At first, he stopped going on dates because of the expense. Then he figured: "What the heck. If somebody's willing to go out with me when I'm unemployed, maybe I did find the right person." It's Just Lunch ($1,800 for a year-long membership) has experienced more than 16% growth in membership over the past 6 months. Tanis Carpenter paid up front for 60 dates at Together Dating, a national matchmaking service. She declined to specify the cost, but said it was in the thousands of dollars. She met Adam Carpenter on her 2nd date. They married June 28. Together Dating was a bit pricey for Adam but he signed up because he saw the money as an investment.
The full article was originally published at SA Life, but is no longer available.
BUSINESS TIMES -- Aug 10 -- Virtual goods are fast becoming big business for real. Zynga, the online social gaming company founded in 2007, gets two-thirds of its projected $100M annual revenue selling virtual goods ranging from digital farm buildings to poker chips. In 2009, an estimated $400M to $600M will be spent on virtual goods in the U.S., and $5.5 billion globally, according to Brian Balfour, founder of Viximo. His firm provides virtual goods services to social networking, online dating and casual gaming sites. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus believes North American virtual goods activity could exceed $15 billion by 2014. FULL ARTICLE @ SF BUSINESS JOURNAL
NEWS4JAX -- Aug 7 -- VideoSingles.net is a new service that lets members create a video profile. The clients come to the Southpoint studios in Jacksonville and make a video. That way they know what they're getting into before they go on a date. The service launched last week and already has ~50 people with profiles online.
The full article was originally published at News4Jax, but is no longer available.
Mark Brooks: 50 profiles! Smorgasbord. This is a great extension service for speed dating services. (Hi Vince, Tom, Ken/Adele)