MINYANVILLE - Feb 14 - In May, Match.com launched "The Stir" -- a program of local dating events that bring together Match members for activities like cooking classes, bowling nights, and happy hours. Match.com is bringing in about 24% of Q4 revenue from 2.8M paid subscribers. Match members who pay for the service get an invitation to a Stir event, and they are allowed to bring up to five people as guests. In January, Match threw ~400 events in 80 different cities. In 2012, the company held ~1,600 events with ~150K attendees. Mark Brooks, an online dating consultant based in Europe who covers global businesses, says there’s no question that Match has to do events. “Where else can they grow? There’s really two distinct kinds of singles: those that go out to meet people, and those that like to idate.” Right now, The Stir’s only significant cost is hiring a facilitator to check people in at the event. “This is not adding anything much to their bottom line that’s measurable,” Brooks said. “What it’s doing is reinforcing the brand and getting people to talk. But to truly get people to embrace the events, they have to be a success – bad events could be deadly for the brand, Brooks said. If they walk away from those events thinking, ‘Oh God, I didn’t see anybody I was remotely interested in,’ then Match has failed.” One way Match can control the dating event is by having an active host. If Match’s event strategy doesn’t succeed, it could be undermined by companies like HowAboutWe. “What’s incredible about HowAboutWe is that they’re helping people define themselves by what they’re interested in doing,” Brooks said. “The problem with the dating industry is people don’t know how to write about what they’re looking for until they meet that right person. I bet 80% of people on HowAboutWe have tried Match.com,” Brooks said.
MASHABLE - Feb 15 - Technology both helps and hinders the romantic process. AnastasiaDate.com conducted a survey revealing one in four men won't get off the couch to find love. The majority of men ages 35 to 55 have dated online and, of those, 65% successfully met a special someone. One quarter of men in the study say they're too nervous to speak to a woman they find attractive, but they fare much differently approaching a person online rather than a face-to-face interaction. One in five men will date "out of their league" because of the wider opportunities online dating yields. Lawrence Cervantes, chief communications officer for AnastasiaDate.com, argues the shift from traditional dating to online doesn't rid romance of its established habits, it only improves them. "It's far more convenient, takes emotional stress away from the process, and is more efficient," Cervantes says. "It doesn't eliminate the traditional dating ritual, just gives it a shot of Vitamin B."
WASHINGTON POST - Feb 14 - Justin McLeod recently started a D.C.-based mobile dating app called Hinge, which lets users rank and connect with their friends’ Facebook friends. Every day at noon, Hinge users who sign up using their Facebook accounts receive a batch of 25 profiles of potential matches collected from a pool of their friends’ friends. Users rank the profiles on a scale from 1 to 5. If two people rank each other at 4 or 5, Hinge sends a “match” introduction to both. Hinge’s algorithm weeds out users who are listed on Facebook as married or in a relationship, who aren’t local, and who are out of users’ desired age range. Since its launch last week, Hinge’s app has been installed a couple thousand times. The app has already produced ~600 matches.
BACKBONEMAG - Feb 15 - Introdooce is a new startup from Toronto entrepreneur Ashkan Kouchak. “If you are out and about, you can check out or check into a bar or restaurant and see who else is there. If you see someone interesting, and really want to grab their attention you can choose to attach a gift. Sending an actual drink or a coffee is unique. It says 'Let's talk. I want to hang out'." says Ashkan Kouchak. "The app takes care of payments, and prompts you for an opening line.
The full article was originally published at BackboneMag, but is no longer available.
NY DAILY NEWS - Feb 15 - Divorces spike in the days after "expectation holidays" like Valentine's Day, studies show. Eight days before Valentine's Day, researchers surveyed ~2K Americans, inquiring the status of their relationships. One in ten admitted mulling a breakup, and Valentine's Day is often "the straw that breaks the camel's back," said AnastasiaDate.com COO Lawrence Cervantes. Divorce can often be on the New Year’s resolution list.
MARKETINGWEEK - Feb 14 - eHarmony is taking part in a location-based trial that will let lovers stream romantic messages to one another via London’s black cabs this Valentine’s Day. Those taking part in the trial can target loved ones by specifying their message is displayed in the vicinity of a specific address such as their significant other’s office or where they plan to spend the day together.
HUFFINGTON POST - Feb 15 - Combosaurus, the website that launched in beta last month, tests all the data entered into OkCupid by users to see what clusters together. "OkCupid collects extremely sensitive ... medical conditions, drug usage, and sexual preferences," Rainey Reitman, activism director at the the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Users who share this information are doing so to find relationships, likely not realizing the data will be mined for marketing purposes." "Of course it has advertising potential," said Yagan, who noted the team is still figuring out precisely what they're going to do with the product. "This is a treasure trove. Knowing what things are correlated with what. For instance, when someone buys an iPhone, what are the other 10 things they're likely to want to buy?"
LA WEEKLY - Feb 14 - The Dating and Social Networks Startup Showcase and Digital Dating Etiquette Panel held this week in Santa Monica attracted industry professionals to pitch their startup companies, as well as a panel of experts to discuss social media startup tips and online dating etiquette. Eden Dranger and Jason Hsin pitched their app, At the Pool, a people directory where you find connections with people in your area. Hank Leber pitched his app, Gonna Be, which lets you tell users, publicly or privately, what you're "gonna be" doing anywhere from that next moment to infinity. Nick Bicanic pitched his app Flikdate, which lets users go on 90-second live chats, or "dates" using their camera phones.
by Jacy Wojcik
The full article was originally published at LA Weekly, but is no longer available.
ABC NEWS - Feb 15 - ComScore says 22.9M visitors ventured to online sites in January 2012 compared to 29.3M in 2011. Apps like Locals and Singles Around Me are making instant love connections with people nearby who want to meet up immediately. The number of dating apps is booming, according to Nielsen. In November 2012, there were 13.7M – double the rate from the previous year. The fastest growing app is Tinder, which instantly introduces you to your friends’ friends. It grew 750% just last month.
by Paula Faris
The full article was originally published at ABC News, but is no longer available.
WSJ - Feb 14 - The transformation of a once-taboo market into a multibillion-dollar industry is the subject of a new book by Dan Slater - "Love in the Time of Algorithms".
Q: How inefficiency is good for online-dating businesses?
A: The site needs to work on some level, or else people will not use it. But it can't be too efficient because then people aren't going to be using the technology for long enough for the site to make any money. So it needs a little bit of inefficiency.
Q: What are the ways to create inefficiencies?
A: Showing you the profiles of people who may no longer be active or show you profiles of folks who are not paying members and can't respond.
Q: What is the difference in profit for a paid site versus free?
A: Even though OKCupid was bought out by IAC's Match.com for $90M, OkCupid was only making ~ $4M a year in revenue, which tells you a lot. It's very hard to make money when you're just selling advertising.
Q: Why the $90 million?
A: A lot of users use free dating as a first step. Then they get an appetite for a more seriously committed community that only a paid site can offer.
Q: What do you think about the term "social discovery"?
A: It is definitely an attempt to get away from "online dating" as a name. A lot of these sites are looking at the large world of social media and they're saying. "Oh gosh, how can we get to Facebook's scale?
Q: Are the challenges that these sites face really that different from Facebook?
A: Facebook is trying all kinds of things. One of them is the Graph Search. They did not use the word dating, but without even saying anything, Facebook is now basically in the dating business.
IRISH TIMES - Feb 14 - Companies such as AnotherFriend, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish and Spark each boast millions of messages, chats and other measures of mobile dating success. “The dating industry is moving massively towards mobile technology, with a huge percentage of users going mobile and using apps,” according to internet dating analyst Mark Brooks. Brooks says location-based mobile technology has had to broaden its scope though, to provide the vicinity as opposed to the exact location of users. “Women didn’t want to give away their exact location and GPS technologies were able to do that, showing where a person was within three metres. Now the more successful mobile dating apps provide vicinity-based services using GPS.” Brooks believes the next step in mobile dating is for the app to ask users how the date went. AnotherFriend.com, a dating site which acquired Maybefriends.com last year, has ~90K active users in any three-month period. ~20% of the site’s users log on from their smartphones, with traffic to the dating site’s app peaking at commuting times. Brian O’Neill, founder of Irish dating site Spark, says: “Some 25%of our 15K users now access the site via their smartphone.” POF has also seen massive growth in terms of apps, with 50% of the site’s Irish users now using the iPhone and android apps on a regular basis – a 250% increase in usage of the site’s mobile apps since 2011.
WASHINGTON TIMES - Feb 14 - TrintMe is offering an app allowing users to privately set their true intentions, or “trints,” for their Facebook friends. Users can look through their Facebook page, mark if they would like to have coffee, go to dinner or even “hook up” with one of their friends. The would-be significant other will not see the user’s “trint” unless he or she is also a user and expresses a desire for the same interaction. My Love Checker is another less-flashy Facebook app that works much like TrintMe. Users select friends whom they would want to go out with or spend the night with and then wait to see if others have put them in the same list. If so, they will both receive a notification. TrintMe is not limited to the user’s Facebook friends, but will also show you “friends of friends” to make connections with as well. And all “trints” are deleted after a 30-day period. While it is currently free, TrintMe is discussing how to generate revenue, including ads on where to meet your connection or paying tokens.
by Sidney Van Wyk
See full article at Washington Times
TECHVIBES - Feb 13 - SinglesAroundMe was reporting a 300% surge in daily downloads across Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone app stores ahead of Valentine's Day. The company says that, unlike other location-based mobile dating apps, SAM utilizes geographical mapping to plot the location of nearby singles who could even be next door. Launched in 2010, SinglesAroundMe has ~1M users in 100 countries.