BBC.CO.UK - July 26 - A BBC investigation has found that fake profiles are apparently being used to encourage people to pay a subscription to Cupid Plc. Earlier this year the company hired auditors after users told a BBC 5 live investigation they had lots of messages when they signed up to the sites as free users, but when they paid up, interest rapidly tailed off. Cupid commissioned KPMG to look at working practices. The report found that "scammers" were a problem but said there was no evidence of "a Company organised" use of fake profiles. But the BBC has been contacted by Cupid daters, complaining of disappearing messages and fake profiles. The programme team created a profile of a man called James from Glasgow, to see how many of the people who approached "James" were real. "James" profile was matched with Kaz B. However, Kaz B is Karen Bartke, a Scottish actress, who never signed up for Cupid's sites. These profiles did not appear to be the work of scammers. The bulk of Cupid plc's work is done in Ukraine, where journalist Svitlana Tuchynska from the Kyiv Post newspaper went undercover. She applied for a job as a motivation manager. She said: "I was told the job is to communicate with customers on the sites. Cupid described Ms Tuchynska's allegations as "wholly incorrect".
PR WEB - July 25 - Flirtomatic has now been downloaded ~5M times, according to its developer, Handmade Mobile Entertainment. The flirting and online dating app is free and available on a wide selection of mobile platforms and devices. There are also additional in app purchases available at a small extra cost.
ECONOMIST - July 26 - The way to find love is to send photos of your face. Tinder lets users scroll through dozens of photos in minutes. Users never know if someone rejects them. Bang With Friends (BWF) allows users to specify which of their Facebook friends they would like to bed. If both parties feel the same way, BWF notifies them. If not, no one is any the wiser. Colin Hodge, BWF’s founder, admits he came up with the concept while “a bit tipsy”.
PR NEWSWIRE - July 25 - AYI.com recently integrated friends and interests into its 'browse' feature. Users can see how they are connected to other users based on their friends and interests. Since the launch, women have been embracing the experience as shown by significantly higher rates of messaging when there are friends or interests in common.
PR WEB - July 24 - Controversial married-dating site AshleyMadison.com reaches 20M. Over the past year AshleyMadison.com saw a 33% increase in new members since July 2012. “Our aggressive global expansion including seven countries in 2012 and most recently Japan and India, proves that infidelity is a universal business,” says Noel Biderman, CEO of AshleyMadison.com.
SOCAL TECH - July 23 - "Tinder is more than dating, it's about meeting all sorts of new people," says co-founder and CMO Justin Mateen.
Q: How did Tinder come about?
A: The vision for Tinder was about social discovery. There wasn't an effective platform for meeting new people.
Q: Tinder has become very popular, very quickly. Why?
A: We seeded it with the right audience, and it's grown from the top down.
Q: How many people are meeting in person?
A: We know that we've made ~150M matches so far. In terms of meeting in person, we believe it's very high. We already know of 50 marriage proposals.
Q: How do you differentiate?
A: The key things are restricting conversations between two parties, until they have taken a mutual liking in each other. Second thing is we've tied each Tinder account to Facebook account for authentication. We extract your data, and do all the work for you and make recommendations, based on the information we have on you.
Q: What's the business model behind Tinder?
A: Right now, we're focused on user growth and the user experience. As long as our product continues to resonate with our users, there will be plenty of ways to monetize down the line. The first way we'll monetize will likely be with in-app purchases.
by Benjamin F. Kuo
See full article at SocalTech
WSJ - July 24 - Carl Sandler is the CEO of Mister, a newly relaunched mobile dating app for gay and bisexual men. Carl helped design Gay.com, and also writes an advice column for the Huffington Post. The relaunch of Mister comes with several new design elements, including “Mr. Right,” a feature which acts as a “digital wingman". Gay men were among the earliest adopters of mobile dating apps. Grindr, Scruff and Manhunt are all enormously successful apps with millions of users. But one of the side effects of their success is that they may be contributing to a “hook-up” culture. “The hookup world is a vestige of the past,” Carl said. “We’re looking for a way that creates more space for something else to emerge.”
by Eric Sasson
See full article at WSJ
QZ - July 23 - Tinder briefly exposed the physical location of its users to other people on the service. The location wasn’t visible in the app. But the data files sent to each user’s phone, which could be accessed through a simple hack, contained sensitive information about people recommended by Tinder, including their most recent location while using the app. It also included their Facebook ID, which could be used to identify someone by first and last name. ”We had a very, very, very brief security flaw that we patched up very quickly,” Tinder CEO Sean Rad said.
PRESS RELEASE - July 23 - Avalanche, the company behind Date.com and Matchmaker.com, among others, has acquired Golfmates.com, an online dating site for golf enthusiasts. Golfmates.com is the first sports themed dating site to join Avalanche’s roster of 18 niche and general dating sites. The term of the deal were not disclosed.
The full article was originally published at GolfMates website, but is no longer available.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
PCMAG - July 23 - Grindr is a geosocial networking app used by ~6M gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men in all 192 countries across the globe. Launched by Joel Simkhai in 2009 using only $5K of his savings, Grindr's popularity exploded thanks to word of mouth and mainstream media coverage.
Q: What were you doing five years ago?
A: I worked in finance and in news for a little bit. I had my own magazine subscription business.
Q: You founded Grindr because you wanted an easier, discrete way to hook-up?
A: The main reason for me was just to find out who else is gay.
Q: So gaydar is a myth?
A: It's not a sure thing, right?
Q: Can you tell us about your premium business model?
A: A paid version doesn't have ads, shows you more guys, has push notifications, and has a bunch of extra features. The cost varies from $3.75 to $5.99 per month. 75% of our revenue comes from our subscribers and the other 25 percent comes from our advertisers.
Q: Do you advertise Grindr at all?
A: We don't currently. Most of our growth is based on word of mouth, press-mentions.
Q: How is Blendr doing?
A: It's growing nicely. We quite like where it's at right now but it's not our focus.
Q: Can you tell us about your backers and how you gained funding?
A: We're self-funded and we are glad for it.
Q: What sort of return you've had on your $5,000 investment?
A: I don't know; I've never quite calculated it. But as you can imagine it's been a good return.
PR WEB - July 23 - World Singles Networks, a provider of niche and international online dating services, launches its 'iCare' Initiative to raise funds and awareness on behalf of charitable organizations and groups focusing especially on children's issues. Members who make donations will have the option to display an iCare badge on their member profile. The first of several iCare partners to be announced is the Palestine Children's Relief Fund.
SUN SENTINEL - July 22 - Matchmaking service It's Just Lunch agreed to pay $1M to settle allegations of sex discrimination against men who wanted to be dating counselors for the company. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also reached a settlement on behalf of Lynda Twist, the dating service's former human resources director. The EEOC alleged Just Lunch retaliated against Twist for opposing the service's hiring practices. For the next three years, It's Just Lunch will be required to train managers and report to the federal government its compliance with anti-discrimination laws and to track job applicants and whether they are hired or not and why.