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Ross Williams

More and more people throwing their money away on ideas like this - online dating requires scale. The USP is completely indefensible, if the idea works (and it hasn't the other half dozen times it's been tried) then other sites can easily tie up with an API to similar to copy it.

When will people realise to be successful in online dating you must differentiate through your marketing, through customer acquisition, rather than technology.

To be successful in online dating requires mass - either a big database or a large number of niche members - differentiated by brand proposition and route of customer acquisition.

Rant over....

Saïd Amin

@ross, agreed on most points (marketing/mass/brand) but IMO you're underestimating the value of technology as both a differentiator and potential game changer.

Most successful dating sites (more or less) use similar platforms w/ little that differentiates one from the other - customers are used to seeing the same registration funnels, search functionalities, member profile layouts, features, blah, blah, blah - frankly, I reckon that many singles find the experience for how they meet people on dating sites to be all too similar from one site to another *yawn*.

I think, or at least hope, that the dating vertical is ripe for innovation. The fact that an increasing number of companies are experimenting with technology & new ways people can meet is good news. History has proved that innovation is inevitable & that some company or entrepreneur hacking away in a basement will re-imagine the technology/platform for online dating. If this technology successfully facilitates how people meet & interact, there would be a windfall of press/buzz/interest around that company/product, and increase its chances for being a huge success w/out relying on a monster marketing budget.

Danae @ Wink'd

Very interesting comments, Ross.

I agree that online dating requires scale; you want users to know that there are other users, that they won't be the sole dater in an empty world. But I don't see how that relates to the USP and the potential of dating-site copycats. On the other hand, I think sites must be cautious that quantity doesn't detract from quality - a comment you yourself note in "A Million to the One" (great title for a post, btw). With Wink'd, we're trying to provide both: quantity, quality; scale but within a structure.

As to your second point, again I agree that to be successful in online dating, marketing and customer acquisition must be differentiated. Yet I believe this process can occur alongside - rather than in opposition to - technology. As Said notes below (and as I shall respond in a moment), technology has opened new avenues of innovative dating. People can connect now as they never could before. Look at QR codes (which Wink'd uses). Look at Foursquare, which is doing fascinating things in how people interact with technology and their world. A company in Germany recently used Foursquare to provide food for customers' dogs when customers checked in to a location on the street. Innovation!

At Wink'd, we're striving to bring together people in a new way. We want online dating to occur in a bottom-up, rather than top-down manner. Customers see each other in real life first. They exchange cards. THEN they go online to learn more. It's that initial attraction meets the networking capabilities of the internet.

Does this make sense? I'd love to take to you more about our company and our goals.

Thank you for your input. It seems you are doing some interesting things over on your end.


Danae @ Wink'd


Fascinating points. Very interesting to think that the format of dating sites are too similar. You do make a good argument regarding search functionalities, member profiles, features, etc, are all much the same. Yet perhaps these are the same for a reason; perhaps they are similar insofar as they allow users to create online reflections of themselves, and these reflections of the self are limited by the very nature of what they are. They all strive to answer the questions of 'Who are we?' and 'How do we define ourselves to others?' At Wink'd, we try to make this more entertaining and fun (and not a 'yawn!') through including some sassier questions.

Glad you find the innovation with technology to be 'good news'. We do too! Technology is fascinating. People are fascinating. And the world is, as you put it, ripe for innovation.

That's what we're doing at Wink'd - striving to innovate, trying to mix things up a bit, trying to give the romance market a new approach. People want to be in love or in like. We're just trying to help that happen, using the reality of face-to-face interactions with the potential of online communities.

Thank you for your comments. It's always interesting to think about these things in a new way.


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