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.