WhiteLabelDating Founder Says: "Recession Doubled My Business" - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Phil Norton

Interesting article and well done to WLD on impressive growth numbers and it is good to see that the online dating sector is one of the few success stories of the recession.

However I'm curious about the brands quoted (FHM, Cosmo, Men's Health and Bizarre) and the potential monthly partner revenues implied.

To be 'all but guaranteed an extra £20,000 a month' the brands mentioned in the article would need to be generating very substantial click through traffic from their online sites and then to convert an even higher proportion of these to paying subscriptions.

£20,000 a month / £240,000 a year (revenue to the partner I assume) I would have thought as highly improbable for the brands mentioned given their relatively small online traffic figures… the numbers and conversions required just don’t add up?

Ross Williams

Hi Phil(?) - we discussed lots of figures and the reporter mentioned that one but we've got partners earning anything from £1k/month to £250k/month.

Typically the partner (whether media or an entrepreneur) runs a collection of sites (for example Natmags runs Cosmo and Mens Health dating) and it is true that their aggregated revenues runs into tens of thousands of pounds per month, this is why it's so popular.

Remember it also depends on the platform - we convert much better than others and retain members for longer.

Not all partners use their online sites - many use their magazines for promotion and newsletters. Indeed the FHM newsletter goes to millions of people each week, it's really quite impressive.


happy accountant

WLD, company house, 2008 financial year. Sorry guys I DO NOT see 12M revenue there.
What exactly doubled in 2009? Bullshit :-) ?
Or not all reported to tax authorities ?


Hey Mark, I was wondering if there are any stats for white label providers in North America/USA? I know WLD does great in the UK from all these articles, but they have a separate smaller USA section. I'm sure they are trying to grow it.

Ross Williams

"Happy Accountant" - in the UK (unlike mafia-run, second world countries) it takes time to submit annual returns to companies house and in many cases, annual returns are not submitted to companies house for up to a year after the financial year finishes. There's no real incentive to do returns early as you then need to pay tax on your profits earlier.

And I, for one, would rather than money stayed in our account longer, working for us longer (not that we get quite the interest rate we used to!!)

There is no bullshit at all and I'm very happy for you to visit our offices in Windsor (again) to look through the books or see the revenues from our partners.

And yes - unlike some online dating companies (you know who you are) we report all our earnings to the VAT office and have generated millions of pounds for the UK public purse (and it needs it!!) :)

Now stop being jealous and focus on your own business, remember Slava Trudu!

P.S - Joe, we're still growing in the USA and hope to have more to share on this market in early 2010, some really interesting differences we're seeing which I'll be happy to share.

Mark Brooks

Anonymity anon. Please don't be anonymous on OPW. Someone's reputation should stand behind your comment. We generally delete comments that are anonymous and derogatory, btw.

Mark Brooks

The white labelers are very difficult to track because they have so many sites. comScore, Hitwise and Nielson will entertain doing what's known as 'roll-ups' for clients and larger dating services. So White Label Dating could share their list of sites with comScore, for example, and then comScore would be able to roll up all their stats into one company header.

Online Personals Watch has a long standing relationship with comScore, Hitwise and Nielson. They are kind enough to send us the top internet dating rankings each month so we can list them. See the right bar of this site for the listings. Or just go to http://markslist.com.

If White Label Dating were able to send comScore and other competitive intelligence companies their site listings, we would then be able to report them in the top rankings on Online Personals Watch.

That would be nice, but there's a serious downside to them giving the competitive intell companies their list of sites.
They would then show up on the radar of all the internet dating companies that subscribe to the deeper data sets that the competitive intelligence companies serve up to paying clients. That means they would then show up on the radars of the likes of Match.com, and their traffic sources would be easier to identify. Their competitors would then target their traffic sources and try and 'block-and-tackle' them before they got more of a foothold in the USA.

So on the one hand, they could share their site list with the likes of comScore, but then they would lose their 'cloak.'

What do you think they should do? Share their site listings and be reported properly, or continue to stay off the radar?

Mark Brooks

Ross, thanks for humoring the happy accountant. Happy Accountant, your comments are welcome here, but anonymous and derogatory comments will be deleted. No need to be shy.

still happy accountants

ha ha :-) You guys so smart.
Ok that is Ukrainian branch of financial division of Easydate speaking.
WLD, company house, accounts for 2008 financial year finished in august 2008.

Sorry it is still no way 12m revenues there. Ross : run-rate, LTM revenues, and other dodgy methods to tell "I am making 25m revenues" is not interesting for us.

We just look at the accounts which is publicly visible .

happy accountant

sorry small ad-dons :
in year end 31.08.2008 WLD payed about 300.000 GBP taxes (including corporate tax).
Keen to know from your legal/finance team how you made 12m GBP revenue and payed 0.3M taxes.

Ross Williams

I'm surprised Easydate are stooping to such comments, although it shouldn't be a surprise. I stand behind all our figures and look forward to 2010 - this is just the tip of the iceberg :)

Stop sniping at competitors success and focus on your own business.

happy happy accountants

Easydate always learning because our CEO pushing us to do it.
That conversation make us THINK : 12M revenue, 0.3M taxes and that is just "tip of the iceberg".

Paul Ergatoudis

Dont forget total taxes paid to HMRC include VAT, corporation tax, PAYE plus the dreaded employers NI. You pay some VAT, but lots of PAYE and NI even if you make no profit.

I believe many dating services have seen growth since 2007. We have seen online growth over the past 2 years. Events and traditional matchmaking have not seen the same growth however. I think its to do with people staying at home more because of the recession but also increasing acceptance of dating services, plus the growth and availability of broadband.

Patrick Scott

A few months ago, as a relatively new partner with WLD who is planning on making a considerable investment of time and money, I performed my own analysis of WLD based on the 2008 accounts. After the posts from 'Happy Accountant' I felt compelled to tidy this up a bit and post my findings below in order to provide some balance. Ross I hope you do not mind me interpreting these figures, but they are in the public domain.
Some background:
1. This is based on the accounts of Global Personals Ltd and not any other related Ltd companies, as a company grows to this size it is not uncommon to form multiple Ltd companies to run different aspects of the business. In fact I noticed there is a ‘White Label Dating.com Ltd’ company incorporated in June 2008.
2. As a ‘Small Business’ in the UK, Global Personals has taken advantage of the option to publish abbreviated accounts. This means that they do not have to publish their turnover or profit for public consumption but we can deduce some info from the figures provided. BTW – very sensible thing to do and most small companies also do this. Full accounts would also have been submitted but these are for HMRC only.
3. I am not an accountant so I may misinterpret some of this, but I have run my own Ltd business for many years so I have a rough idea of what figures I am looking at.

Firstly let me say there is no way of working out turnover from these accounts so 12M is quite possible. A famous quote I think from Theo Paphitis is “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”, so let’s forget turnover that is irrelevant.

So the accounts state 60k corporation tax is due (we are assuming that no CT has been paid so far for the year). Tax is due on the company’s PROFIT after all expenses including salaries but excluding dividends. At a CT of 21% this would give a profit of 285k. Not a bad figure.

Profit & Loss account shows 306k so the company is not in debt. Total director’s emoluments (salaries) are 168k so the directors are taking a salary. Modest dividends paid (42k) so owners are re-investing in the company.

There is a figure for tax and social security which is 187k, so plenty of salaries being paid another good sign of a healthy company.

Also take a look at the expenditure for the year, this is a company that is expanding fast. Total asset increase of 400k for the year. A lot of this would be one off costs, so in subsequent years that would be extra profit.

There are also some debts there – 214k to suppliers and 187k in PAYE/NI but not an issue taking into account the overall picture.

So to me, WLD look in pretty good shape and I have no reason to disbelieve what Ross is saying, only time will tell.


Guys lets finish this discussion .
In year end of august 2009 WLD can make 12m revenue, nobody arguing on that. We will see in 12 months when they will post accounts.

On year finished august 2008 WLD most likely made 3-4M in revenues.
So good growth but it was no needs to lie to Real Business magazine. In fact in Sunday Times Ross confirmed that numbers.

Ross Williams

Max - compare your responses here to my comment congratulating Easydate on winning an award.

Stop making libellous comments and concentrate on growing your own business, not attacking any good news that comes from a company that is also enjoying success and suggesting that what they say can't possibly be true simply because you're unable to match their success.


ha ha I am very concentrated. I just do not like when people lying.
I can do it in different way - speak with Real Business and explain to them infor what they give "a bit" incorrect.
Do you want me to do it :-)


And just to add : your inaccurate words are misleading people in dating business.
Real business : " Turnover this year doubled to £25m. And Williams' is expecting a further 100 per cent growth this year. "

Sunday Times : " Last financial year the business — one of the main parts of which is Whitelabeldating.com — made a profit of £1.5m on sales of £12m, though Williams expects that by the end of this financial year the profit will have risen to £3m on sales of £20m".

Obviously your current financial year only started. So you MAY get 25M in 11 months from now... Last year finished in august 2009 and you may get 12M. I am not arguing on that.

Speak with your CFO for some training course colleague :)))

Andrew Smart

I remember clearly reading an article by WLs Finance Director in which she quoted their revenue figures. I guess it's good just to paint a better picture of your business:


2007: £1.8m
2008: £5m projected.

Ross Williams

Max - I'll take that as a retraction. What I actually said to the journalist was that our projected revenues of £25m this year represent a 100% growth on last year (of £12m) - this is absolutely correct, your constant libel is tiring.

Andrew - yup, Jennifer was our FD up until Darren joined us earlier this year (http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2009/08/executives-from-matchcom-datingdirectcom-hired-by-wldcom.html) - this gives you an indication of our growth.

This will be my last comment on this article - if anybody would like any clarification or really cares enough then please drop me a line at the usual address ;)

David Evans

This thread will never die, there are so many white label providers out there now, everyone wants to understand the opportunity.

For the sake of my trying to help companies understand which companies they should send RFP to for private label dating, I'm more interested in:

How this compares to TheDatingLab's revenue (why does nobody ever mention them in these conversations?)
What % is adult revenue
Love to talk to the people making $250k/month in non-adult sites
How they can support thousands of partners

Ross has clarified some of these issues, but the reality still seems murky.

For now I tell people to check out all private label competitors, ask tough questions and make their own decisions. I'm sure WLD is perfect for some people, and other companies are better suited, it's not a one-size-fits-all scenario by any means.


Excellent response, well done.

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