Brendan O'Kane, CEO Of messmo Q And A Interview - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Sam Moorcroft,

Brendan, when you say "the average member spends less than 10% of their day at a PC", which demographic is this member a part of?

Anyone with a desk jobs spends 8 hours daily in front of a computer, not a mobile. And, a lot of them then surf at home. I realise more and more people surf the Net on a mobile, but it definitely isn't 90%.

David Evans

+1. There is a market segmentation process here. Serious, Casual and Adult dating. Amount of time spent at computer may differ for each segment. Mobile is good for location-based services and stuck-in-traffic downtime scenarios. Then there are usage pattern differences between 20-somethings and how 30+ use mobile. And don't forget than a site like Fling can make their mobile presence basically like a pr0n site, driving lots of pageviews and has nothing to do with communication or billing.

I can't want to see the hot Android-based dating apps, hopefully some developers are squirreled away cranking out some gorgeous location-based hi-resolution social dating stuff that will impress and deliver more eyeballs and revenue.

David Evans

Hey Mark, it's time to add a "subscribe to comments" feature here.

Fernando Ardenghi

Real data from Meetic (FR0004063097 - MEET), the leader in Europe.
Cumulative consolidated revenue at 30th September 2009: 117.2 millions of Euros.
* 96% of revenue was achieved in Europe, and hence 4% was achieved in the rest of the world.
* 97% of revenue for the first 9 months of 2009 came from Internet activity, 113.1 millions of Euros.
* 2% of total revenue for the first 9 months of 2009 came from Mobile. 2.7 millions of Euros."

Forget mobile applications for Online Dating. Do not waste time in mobile applications for Online Dating in North America and Europe.

Mobile applications could be good for Asiatics Countries like Korea and Japan.


Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
[email protected]

Sam Moorcroft,

Fernando, we're all waiting with baited breath - are we seeing you in Miami in January at

Andrew Smart

I have to agree with Mr. Ardenghi's comments.
The figures are there for everyone to see and I'm sure Meetic have done their homework.
If the mobile opportunity for them was 2% of overall revenue then surely this is representative of uptake for a mobile dating offering.

Ross Williams

Meetic's 2% would indicate to me that they haven't monetised this as well as they might - it's difficult to strip mobile and web from a revenue perspective, as mobile may often drive web subscriptions.

There's definite potential there and this is the first time in years that I genuinely believe we reached a point where mobile now matters.

David Evans

Fernando, forgetting millions of dollars in mobile revenue is foolish, why do you say such things? Mobile will evolve and dating companies need to deliver experiences that draw people to their phones when they're not at their desks. Imagine in 1993 if people said, "There are only a few websites out there, how is anyone going to make money?"

Ross makes a good point, mobile can drive web subs, but the services need to be more entertaining like games. Just browsing profiles is a real snooze.

Brendan O'Kane

Hi Fernando, I think it is how you view mobile. Will a site generate a lot of revenue from member's signing up on mobile .. unlikely. However if the member is able to receive messages and interact from mobile at any time ... now that can drive revenue. I think the 2 compelling opportunities will be monetising those members who currently are not subscribing, by limited use micr-payments, and using the mobile to drive impulsive add-ons such as virtual gifts. Add on to that the value of increased interaction between members and this is a powerful paradigm.

Fabulous debate, and one we should be having.

Brendan O'Kane

Hi Sam, I didn't want to not reply to your question. I saw this in a demographic lifestyle survey about 6 months ago - it was definitely suggesting that the average, and we are talking average person meaning the average earner across the income range, gets to spend 2 hours a day or less on a PC for personal use. And I think this is a very real statistic. Yet throughout the day people generally carry their mobile. How do you see it in your member class ?

Fernando Ardenghi

Hi Dave!

Now, finishing year 2009, "mobile" means applications for SmartPhones, Intelligent phones as the iPod or others cell phones.

By 2012, 2013 the "mobile" concept will be diluted, perhaps will disappear [for online dating purposes] The majority of persons will use netbooks with mobile broadband modems or with wireless hotspots instead of SmartPhones [for online dating purposes].

Remember the "long distance telephone call" concept?
It disappeared. Skype and MSN voice contributed to destroy it.


Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
[email protected]

Sam Moorcroft,

Brendan, if your stat says the average user spends 2 hours or less on a PC for *personal use* that's a bit different. If we compare *total* daily use, then PC use is still dominant (by a long shot).

Those hours they spend on a mobile are likely talking and texting, not surfing. But, I get that things are changing and potentially in a few years time, more will be surfing. The issue is when this will matter (to us, for our members). We don't see the demand as of yet.

We are standing by, but ready to consider mobile, when that time comes. Fortunately, among my staff's many talents, lie the ability to do a mobile version in-house:)

David Evans

I agree that more people will use netbooks, or whatever they look like, but mobile penetration will always be orders of magnitude larger.

Mobile dating also runs on old phones that can only run WAP, generic Japanese iMode phones and live videoconferencing on 4G networks.

I don't see the correlation between long distance and mobile dating.

Mobile appears to be for casual daters. I'd love to see usage patterns.

Matthew Pitt, MD, The Dating Lab

Interesting discussion and some valid and not so valid comments raised.

Fernando‘Do not waste time in mobile applications for Online Dating in North America and Europe.’

I don’t know if you are single or in a relationship but let’s assume hypothetically for now that you are single and you work using a computer in an open plan office. You use your preferred online dating site when you get home each night as your company’s monitored computer usage policy excludes personal use (no Facebook, no Messenger, no logging on to Dating sites, etc). So last night you sent a message via your chosen dating site to a girl you are interested in. You then spend all day at work today wondering with pensive excitement whether or not she has read and replied to your email from last night...because you can’t check until you get home this evening.

Now… you might be happy with that and enjoy the frisson of expectation that builds with each passing hour? But… it doesn’t have to be this way!!

With a mobile version of the dating site you can access your messages throughout the day… hell even get a mobile alert to let you know that you have a new message. And you can also browse the sites, check out profiles, do all the normal things you would do but from your mobile. The point is with a mobile dating application you don’t have to wait until you get home!

From a Dating Lab perspective, to give our users across our media partner sites the freedom to choose how and when they date, at a time and a place that is most convenient for them, we have developed (in-house) our own mobile platform. As Brendan suggested we did a lot of testing to ensure it works across handsets. You can see it in action here…

Dave‘Mobile appears to be for casual daters’

I agree that for many casual daters the ability to use and pay via mobile (or I suspect in many instances their 2nd mobile) is appealing – especially the ability for users of casual or adult sites to pay more discreetly via their mobile.

However, as smart phones and the user experience via affordable high(er) speed data packages increases so will users usage and acceptance of mobile access to the internet. The ability to access the internet, anytime, anyplace, anywhere is the mantra of today’s connected consumer. Dating whether it is via fixed line or increasingly mobile is no exception.

Ross‘It's difficult to strip mobile and web from a revenue perspective, as mobile may often drive web subscriptions’

I totally agree, trying to charge people to access the mobile version of the site is like trying to charge people to access the site via fixed line… quite simply nuts!! The vast majority of people using normal dating sites don’t want to pay to access in this way and the 2% of total revenues currently generated by Meetic is testament to this.

If a customer of mine pays me a monthly subscription to use my services he or she should be free to access it via whatever platform they choose. By giving them this choice I know this will increase the likelihood of converting them into paying subscribers.

David Evans

I just got back from hanging out with Brendan for a few hours and man am I pumped up!

I should clarify, mobile browsing of dating sites appears to appeal to casual daters more than serious. And appeals to adult dating more than casual.

I'm going to use "pensive excitement" and "frisson of expectation" in my OKCupid profile, thanks for the verbiage.

Speaking personally, I don't want to spend extra to access dating sites via mobile, but industry-wise it's a nice revenue generator if you get it right.

Big diff between browsing and communicating via mobile. One is so-so opportunity, other is enormous.

Mark Harrison

I've spent a lot of the last few years chasing the dream of enhancing peoples revenue from the omni present mobile device. Sadly unless there is a client involved the experience is very poor on all but a limited number of phones with a good browsing experience (the iPhone being the obvious one).

Sadly getting people to download a client is not possible in sufficient numbers to be meaningful. There is also the problem around operators like Vodafone categorising any traffic they don't know the source as adult and blocking it and supressing any downloaded apps it doesn't certify.

This leaves the mobile dating services dependent upon phones with a good browsing experience (not many) and the dating sites spending the money on a bespoke mobile deployment of their websites (even less). This combined with peoples reluctance and suspision to pay for text alerts means that genrally it's a poor experience.

The investment world continues to tell us that mobile is where it's at, however up to now the end users are totally underwhelmed by our attempts to get them to do anything with a phone other than call someone or send a text. Things are improving on that front but it's still very niche.

Mark Harrison - VP Sales -

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