OPW INTERVIEW - June 18 - SpeedDate brings people together to participate in first dates over their webcams. The service resides at the intersection of two very interesting and important trends. The rise of computer based webcam use, and the rise of phone based webcam use. Have you seen the iPhone 4? That’s a real game changer that should bring growth to the likes of SpeedDate, Woome and other sites that offer webcam based dating services. - Mark Brooks
How big of a deal is mobile for SpeedDate?
It’s an extremely big deal for us. We’re fairly focused on mobile. We launched as a destination site on SpeedDate.com but over the past year mobile services have been an increasing part of our business. 20 to 30 percent of our activity each day is coming from mobile.
How do you define activity?
I would define activity as people registering for the site as well as using the services offered by SpeedDate.
So that’s 20% defined by activity which is log ins. How about the money split? Are you seeing the same sort of money split?
I can’t give exact details on the financial side but it is definitely a growing part of the business overall. We’ve found that the people who use our mobile services are not more or less likely to pay for the service than people on the site. But I think it’s an area where there is a lot of potential for the online dating industry in general. I think it will become a bigger focus for other companies in the industry as time goes by.
I’ve heard rumors that some mobile dating apps monetize better than others. Do you have any comment on that?
We’re monetizing pretty well for both the iPhone and mobile as well as for the site. We’re not seeing a huge difference there. However, there are some challenges on the mobile side. The marketing and distribution channels are not nearly as built out over the web. I wouldn’t say it’s the Wild West but it’s still a pretty early stage in terms of the inventory that is available and how easy it is to expand.
How is it going with the iPad app?
It’s going well. I think it’s a really exciting platform in terms of what’s available. On the iPhone we have 1.3 million downloads. I’m not sure how long it will take for the iPad to get there but I think there is a lot of potential.
If we were to look at mobile versus online; has there been any surprises to you for usage patterns between mobile and traditional online users?
The interesting thing is that there are a lot of females who are using the iPhone and iPad applications.
You must be excited about the new iPhone having a camera on the front. It fits perfectly with your application. What are your plans for the new iPhone?
Yeah we’re really excited about it. I think all killer dating apps should be mobile so you can use it anywhere and anytime you want. The killer experience from the app should also be live and interactive. I think when you marry those 2 together, the interactive side and the mobile side, then the world basically changes for singles.
Do you have any plans to integrate into SMS as well?
Yeah, that is something we’ve been thinking about. As time goes by and we obtain more potential users
outside of smart phones then SMS will become more attractive for us.
What words of advice would you give to the industry for anyone considering creating a new mobile app?
Experiment and innovate with the user experience.