Why The Dating Industry Doesn't Like Events - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Comments

Conrad Morris

Very interesting thoughts. There is no doubt running an events programme is hard work, and difficult to make profitable. I would also thoroughly endorse your recommendation of Spice UK. They run some great events (not just for singles), which is why they are one of our recommended partners at http://www.datelineplatinum.com/

David Evans

Events bombed in the industry for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Wonder why you are bringing this up right now?

The minute you start talking about buying blocks of Celtics ticks, bunting and appetizers, you've risk taking you eye off the prize and getting distracted by a revenue stream that's not all that large, especially in smaller markets.

Dating sites should leave the events stuff to the specialists and partner instead, or just forget about the idea and focus on being Internet marketers, which is what dating site operators really are at the core.

Don't forget meetmarketadventures.com, nice site, run by great people.

Mark Brooks

Three things inspired me to write this post.

1. Irena and I LOVE singles events, we used to run them in Silicon Valley, and miss running them.

2. A conversation with the CEO of Spice UK turned my attention towards events. His club is similar to a smaller club I used to run in California. Our club was a singles club that wouldn't admit to being a singles club. We sold it in 2007.

3. The company that acquired Cupid.com has decided to stick to its knitting and the founder of Predating.com events, a friend of mine, has acquired the speed dating arm back from them. Interesting. I hope he does well with it.

Dave Smith

Thanks for the reccommend Mark, and fascinating post. I would add that one extra difficulty with Singles / Dating companies running events is the high (and reasonable) expectations from the participants that the gender mix should roughly balance, and thats before you look at age banding! We know we'd close up and most our events wouldn't function or be a success if we had to accommodate those considerations.

I can so relate to your comment that your club was a singles club that wouldn't admit to being a singles club. In actual fact we know that 85% of Spice members are single and have dating discreely on their agenda, however would run a mile from us if we 'came out' as a singles company. It suits them (and us) its below the line, and completely changes the ambiance and group dynamics at events.

John Rozzo

Interesting post, thanks.

It's perhaps fundamental to control the costs of a live event, but if it's planned & time right - say, keeping it activity-based and not just a "mixer" or "social" when there are enough people in a region/locality - as well as linked to some online element - say, a fun/interactive site promotion - then I think an offline activity could be a point of differentiation and an effective value-add ("paid members only") as well as economically worthwhile. It needs to be carefully conceived & executed - and that requires special talent, investment and energy/commitment/passion that many web-only companies don't have.

Here's one company that is focused on blending offline activities with web personas:
https://www.urbanoutings.com/index.asp

Regards,
John

Mindy

I know you're right about events not being successes business wise, but it's still more fun than many of the currently available options...it's just more fun with events.

Fred Gansky

I have an online magazine for 40+ singles in Los Angeles and surrounding areas called LA Singles Society, www.lasinglessociety.com. We aggregate all of the events that we can find that might be socially and age appropriate for our 2200 members. We've been posting over 150 events per month on our site. Once a month we throw a dance party of our own, and it is always a difficult task. Singles are notorious for making decisions at the last moment making it very difficult to plan food and other arrangements. A few days before our Labor Day party we had 25 people prepaid, but 125 more walked up at the door. Today I have six people prepaid for an event that I am having Sunday night. You can just imagine how nervous and insecure this makes us feel. Is it worth it? I'm not sure.

Mark Brooks

Hi Fred,

Power to you for offering your service, lasinglessociety.com.

Regarding your in-house events. There has to be an incentive for people to sign up early. Otherwise you'll just end up riding an RSVP emotional rollercoaster. That incentive could come in various forms...

- lower prices for signing up online ahead of time
- not having to wait in line
- a free drink or drink special when they arrive if they've signed up online
- or the best incentive is, sell the event out...the fear of loss is by far the best motivator. This is why the top concert performers i.e. Madonna, Rolling Stones, sell their concerts out within hours of tickets coming available.

If you show online that an event is sold out, or if you end up having a waiting line for people to enter the event, that will get you some serious word-of-mouth. Of course, this is also an opportunity for you to win, or cut your own throat. If people are waiting out in the rain and there's no event host in site, you'll get rotten w-o-m. If you have a greeter walk the waiting line to say hello to everyone and let them know the status of the event (and sell them on it for next time), you'll win some points.

Anyway, a golden rule with events is to leave them wanting more. End the event at an hour where people can leave happy, not thoroughly drained. Give them just enough of everything, but leave them longing for the next event, and in no doubt that the next one will sell out as well.

Gee

I think the key is to have partners for events. Then the only cost you'll ever have is the salary of your event manager. If that person is great at her/his job you'll have plenty of great events. Also, not all markets are as litigious as the US.

James

Must get in a mention for our company, The Single Solution. We are London's leading singles party planners.

We are now in our 8th year of operation and run several big Singles parties for professionals each week. We find people come back to us as we have the best hosts and are the most fun parties :)

James

www.singlesolution.com
www.asiansinglesolution.com

Bill Talbot

Hi Mark,

Bill Talbot here - owner of www.hillcountryoutdoors.com. Thanks for the mention. One correction - you have us listed as "Houston" but we're actually based in Austin and cater to Central Texans.

Single members always tell me that the reason they love our events is b/c they get to meet REAL people doing REAL things, rather than using an online dating service where you never really know who the real person is behind that online persona.

Best,
Bill

Mark Brooks

Hi Bill, Ah yes, so sorry, we'll get that corrected. How's the club going and growing?

Mark Brooks

Or perhaps partner with a 3rd party events provider to run co-branded events and not have any exposure to risk, or events manager fees.

Mark Brooks

If a top tier dating site suggested to you that they would like you to run co-branded events, would that be of interest to you. They would drive traffic to you, you would also promote the events. You would kick back 20% of the total event revenue to the internet dating site. Would that be attractive to you?

Tom Jaffee

People have paid to attend thousands of 8minuteDating events, just like they pay to go to a concert, theater or sporting event. The potential is there for online dating sites to make a lot more money by partnering with us.

We view our business as entirely complimentary to online dating. As I understand the online dating business, ~6% of free profiles become paying members, who only pay for ~2.5 months. Then they go into the site's HUGE bucket of nonpaying profiles where the site emails and emails them with offers hoping to lure them back. Since online dating sites tend to have more men, attractive women get too many offers and as a result many good men don't get responses. Then, women worry about going alone to meet a man they've been corresponding with.

Partnering with 8minuteDating to offer events would solve these problems. Offer your customers what they really want: an easy way to meet lots of real singles, in person, who are there to meet them, and in a safe environment. We also tend to have more women than men signing up. Events will generate significant revenue from your nonpaying and paying members, and it will motivate your members to actively use your site to find people to meet at the party. You avoid the hassles of running events because we handle all the moving parts.

If you're willing to actively promote the events to your customer base, feel free to contact me.

Mark Brooks

Are you open to co-brands or even entirely re-branded events. What commission could you kick back to dating sites on the event tickets?

toronto@dinnerworks.ca

We have been running events for 7 years, in addition to the matchmaking that we offer. We get to meet lots of people that way. There are some amazing benefits to running events which I would be happy to discuss with anyone willing to listen.
I can be reached at [email protected]

Tom Jaffee

We'd be willing to discuss co-branding, and revenue share depends on a few variables. Again, feel free to contact me if this is of interest to you.

Speed Dating

Getting involved in events like those is quite expensive. A great idea would be to share costs with another company so that at least financial status will not take a great hit. :)

Sylvie

Just wanting to take note that Urban Diversion is also in the South and East Bay as well (not just San Francisco). I've been looking into taking advantage of their South Bay events! So excited!

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