MY NEWSWEEK - Feb 28 - Meetic has signed an agreement for the acquisition of SprayDate, Swedish dating site owned by Keynote Media Group. SprayDate started 12 years ago and was the Swedish pioneer of online dating. The cost of the acquisition has not been disclosed. Philippe Chainieux, Meetic's CEO said in a statement: "The acquisition will consolidate Meetic Group's leading position in Sweden, where online dating service will be continued through the Match.com brand.
The full article was originally published at MyNewsDesk, but is no longer available.
PR NEWSWIRE - Feb 27 - Q4 2012 Net revenues were RMB110.5M (US$17.7M), a YOY increase of 24.8%. Operating income was RMB12.7M ($2.0M), compared to operating loss of RMB4.3M in 2011. Net revenues for full year 2012 were RMB410.8M ($65.9Mn), a YOY increase of 24.0%. Operating income for full year 2012 was RMB51.8M ($8.3M), a YOY increase of 30.1%. The number of average monthly paying user accounts was 1,2M in Q4. Average monthly revenue per paying user (“ARPU“) for online services was RMB26.5 in Q4, compared to RMB21.5 Q4 '11.
The full article was originally published at Daily Market, but is no longer available.
NEW YORKER - Feb 27 - Blendr is a location-based dating apps for straight people. It was created by the same folks who made Grindr, the hookup app that has 4.5M users. The founders weren’t willing to disclose the number of Blendr users. When it comes to apps, men tend to be more willing to use location-based dating features. Women are different. Women may initiate contact less frequently, but they are comfortable reaching out first if they see a profile that appeals to them. Maybe the real failure is that no one has built an app that women want to use. On Check Him Out, women are “shoppers” and men are “products.” Only women can initiate contact, though men can “favorite” profiles. The site claims that 59% of the users are women. Women want authenticity, privacy, a more controlled environment, and a quick path to a safe, easy offline meeting. Coffee Meets Bagel, founded by three sisters, sends you a match and then sets a deadline by which you have to either “like” or “pass.” Three Day Rule caters to women who are searching for Mr. Right as opposed to Mr. Right Now. It functions as an intermediary. It shows just a few carefully selected matches at a time—bypassing the deluge problem, and saving busy professionals from scrolling through pages and pages of profiles. The site is still in beta mode and not open to the general public, and will eventually be for paying users only.
by Ann Friedman The full article was originally published at New Yorker, but is no longer available.
TECH CRUNCH - Feb 27 - Dozens of major U.S. companies have come out in support of marriage equality, including Apple, Facebook, eBay, and Intel. In Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the companies argue that “recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to marry is more than a constitutional issue. It is a business imperative.” This is not the first time that tech giants have come out in support of marriage equality. Google, for instance, setup an online campaign, with a heartwarming video, to support same-sex marriage laws in the 2012 election.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE - Feb 27 - 25.3M people accessed personals sites through mobile devices in Dec, versus 21.3M through a fixed computer, according to comScore. Location-based dating apps have been wildly successful in the gay community (Grindr - 4M users) but slower to catch on among heterosexual daters, likely because women are more wary of announcing their location. SinglesAroundMe, which features a map with drop pins showing where nearby singles are, recently launched an "approximate location" option that lets users displace their coordinates by 1 to 2 miles. Tinder scours a user's Facebook connections to see which friends of friends are single and nearby. MeetMoi sends members a push notification if a match is in the vicinity, getting no more exact than "within .2 miles," and only if both parties agree to chat does the app allow a connection. The app has 3.7M users. Of the 4M active users on OkCupid, half of whom access the site through their mobile phones, 1M have the Locals app. OkCupid also recently launched the mobile app Crazy Blind Date, which sets up a blind date — no photos, no profiles. As with online dating, mobile dating started off catering to people looking for casual relationships, but as it becomes mainstream more serious relationship-seekers are using it as well, said Mark Brooks, an analyst and consultant to the Internet dating industry. "It's more natural, you're out and about," said Brooks, who predicts that dating via mobile phone will change the game profoundly because apps can gather instantaneous feedback about how a date went, resulting in better matches. "People don't really know what they want, so the best way to match people is to look at their behaviors," Brooks said. "Your phone is going to get to know you, it is going to get to know your buying behavior."
NY TIMES - Feb 27 - Tinder, a new mobile dating app lets users swipe through profile pictures, tapping a green heart when they like what they see and pressing a red “x” when they don’t. Any time a user “likes” a member who has also liked him or her back, the apps declares a match and introduces the two in a private chat room. Although the app requires connecting through Facebook, it is cleverly discreet. It shows users only friends of friends, avoiding potentially awkward run-ins. Its founders say the app is downloaded ~20K times each day and to date they’ve made 20M matches through the service. It was born out of Hatch Labs, an incubator financed by IAC/InterActiveCorp, and became a stand-alone company in January.
TRIB LIVE - Feb 26 - What seems like a return to the old days of singles mixers and blind dates is actually a move among companies to improve user experiences, industry insiders say. “The goal has always been to bridge the online dating with the offline world,” says Cayla Gebhardt, Match.com spokeswoman. Match.com launched The Stir, events that can include everything from happy hours with ~100 people to smaller happenings like wine-tastings or rock-climbing. There have been 1,500 events since the launch. “The ultimate goal is to meet somebody in the real world,” said Julie Spira, online-dating expert, “Otherwise, you end up with a digital pen pal.”
PRESS RELEASE - Feb 26 - Qualtrics, the provider of enterprise data collection and analysis software, is partnering with eHarmony. eHarmony has used Qualtrics Research Suite to capture real-time customer insight to improve its online site and app. In gathering customer insight, eHarmony discovered the pain points in setting up accounts on a mobile device. eHarmony restructured its mobile app based on specific customer suggestions and increased the number of new customers signing up via mobile by 40%.
The full article was originally published at Fort Mills Times, but is no longer available.
WEBWIRE - Feb 26 - The iDate App is a mobile app for online dating execs. It provides the latest business news from Online Personals Watch and information about upcoming conferences. The android version is live now.
CNN - Feb 26 - SeekingArrangement.com reports that female college students made up 44% of the site's total users in 2012. With tuition on the rise, that number will likely continue to climb. Men who engage in such relationships, many of whom are older and married, enjoy taking care of young women and assuming a mentor role in their lives, said Steven Pasternack, who launched Sugardaddie.com in 2002. The average monthly "allowance" sugar daddies on the site said they shell out is $3K, according to SeekingArrangement.com. Surprisingly, sex isn't a given. It's obviously on the table but there are other motivations - to go out to eat or to have someone to talk to. SeekingArrangement.com's Wade said the men who subscribe to his site are discouraged from offering money on a per-date basis to avoid operating like an escort service.
TECH CRUNCH - Feb 26 - HowAboutWe has launched a new commercial alongside a new site landing page with options for both singles and couples. HowAboutWe begins its transition from a traditional dating site to a lifestyle brand for relationships in all stages. Singles pay anywhere between $8 to $35 per month. Meanwhile, couples pay a monthly membership fee of $22 to receive access and discounts on cool dates. The new landing page has shown a 20% bump in conversion rates during its testing period, which was preceded by January. January saw 2x more HowAboutWe couples subscriptions than the previous five months combined.
WOMEN OF CHINA - The recent 2012-2013 Survey Report on Chinese People's Love and Marriage Values jointly issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and dating website Jiayuan.com shows that China's population of single people of marriageable age is growing. Unmarried people 18+ account for 18.6% (249 million) of the total population. The male to female sex ratio imbalance is severe, at 26.7 males to 24.9 females. Unmarried men outnumber women by 23M among the three generations. Late marriages have become a social trend. The divorce rate is growing faster than the marriage rate. It was estimated that in 2012, the marriage rate was 10% and the divorce rate was 2.29%. 70% of women prefer men who are ~10 years older.
OPW INTERVIEW - Feb 26 - AForeignAffair is an International dating service that connects women from Russia, Latin America and Asia with guys around the world. John Adams is the CEO and Founder. I asked him about the genesis and nature of his company. - Mark Brooks
What is the founding story of AForeignAffair? AForeignAffair started in 1995 by myself, Ken Agee, and Ron Redburn. Back then newspapers had personal ads where women were seeking men, men seeking women, but you never really knew what the people looked like. We thought it would be great to put photos out there so people could actually see a photo before they meet.
We launched on the BBS system thinking we would do it locally in Phoenix. Then we discovered the Internet, and we thought: “Wow we can do this on a global basis.” We sent Ken to Russia to see if there was going to be any interest from the women to meet Americans. He was very pleased with the reception that he got there. That was kind of the beginning and we started first in St. Petersburg, Russia and Ukraine and then Colombia and all over.
This seems like a very different industry than the Internet dating industry. How would you define it? I would call it the International introduction industry. For people to be successful they're going to have to travel outside the county. I think there is a lot of ignorance in that. Once you start looking at the men and the women who use this, a lot of that ignorance melts away and you understand that these are just normal people trying to find that special someone.
What countries are you in? We are in Russia, Ukraine, Peru, Cost Rica, Columbia, China, Dominican Republic, and others.
It really seems like the opposite of Internet dating, because most Internet daters don't want to travel more than 20 miles. According to studies, these relationships tend to last longer than domestic relationships. One of the reasons for that is the fact that it does take more effort, it does take more commitment to make something like this work.
So how's your National Geographic promotion happening? We've always been open to the media. National Geographic is just another step in that progression of opening access and trying to illuminate this industry.
They did a wonderful job. I was there... Nothing was scripted, everything was as you see it. They had three separate crews, they were following the guys as they were going on the different dates, they were filming the dates, the socials, the reactions after the dates. Some were good and some were bad. It's not all fairy dust and blue birds singing around your head. It's about going over there and having options. You still have to make something happen.
What do you think this industry is going to look like in 5 years time? What's your vision of the future for AForeignAffair? I think it is going to become more mainstream. Our world is becoming smaller every day; we can communicate so much easier and it's instant and transparent. In order to be successful, you have to provide more customer service to both the men and the women, and more functionality. Not just introducing them, but helping them through the whole dating process, and helping them to be successful in marrying.
How do you think the idating industry can work with this industry? There must be a way for the two to work together. I think there is. We've talked to some of the local matchmaking companies, some of the more traditional ones, and we are still in talks with some. Partnering with us will allow them to offer more options to their clients.