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.