FORTUNE MAGAZINE - Apr 9 -
AnastasiaDate.com is a "premium international dating" service for singles looking for love abroad. Premium international dating is a new name for what's traditionally referred to as the mail-order bride business. The company made $110M in 2012. In 2013, it projects it will make $140M. The site's traffic grew 220% in 2012. It now has 4M users. According to Experian, the top 10 premium international dating sites drew 12M visits in March, 29% increase YOY. "People are realizing that there's a bigger world than Match.com," says Chief Strategy Officer Mark Brooks. The company will have to overcome the deep stigma. The practice conjures images of women desperate to marry out of failing economies; and of unappealing American men looking for a traditional mate to keep the house clean. Brooks sees international dating today as being on the cusp of respectability -- in much the same way online dating was in its early stages. AnastasiaDate.com is also trying to clean up its act. "We are very, very sensitive to reputation now", says Brooks. The company is planning a crackdown on its local partner agencies who pay women to interact on the site. The site's most active users are American men 35-60 years old, making ~$100K. To interact on the site, they can buy credits. IM chatting costs one credit/minute. There can also be real safety risks for women. A pair of high-profile murders of foreign brides prompted the enactment of federal legislation in 2005 to protect women brought to the U.S. via The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. "The industry has grown to appreciate it," he says. "It was designed to provide a very high level of comfort and safety to female members of international dating sites, which is, of course, of utmost importance to us."