NY TIMES - June 28 - Last May, the Pew Research Center surveyed ~2,2K people and found that 15% had used social media to ask someone out on a date. Apps including Secret and Whisper, that allow people to post anonymously, are also being used to make love connections. Armen Avedissian, COO of eHarmony, said the popularity of social media appears to have led to a heightened awareness of dating apps and services. Aaron Schildkrout, co-founder of HowAboutWe, said it was possible for social media and dating apps to coexist and profit.
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK - June 29 - Thanks to apps like Tinder, modern dating has become increasingly focused on looks. LoveFlutter a matchmaking service, hosted a speed-dating event where everyone wore a bag on their head. It was a social experiment in conjunction with London's Science Museum that aimed to allow participants to delve a little bit deeper into finding that special someone.
ABC NEWS - June 26 - Instant Chemistry, a company founded by psychologist Ron Gonzalez and his wife Sara Seabrooke, offers DNA testing for the online dating industry. The test looks at genes in the immune system. According to Gonzalez and Seabrooke, the more differences there are between two people’s immune systems, the more attractive they’ll find each other. For $199, couples can get a kit delivered to their house.
BUSINESS INSIDER - June 27 - The deal has not yet been finalized. It's expected to close on Monday, at which point, a number of HowAboutWe employees may lose their jobs. HowAboutWe and IAC have been in serious deal talks for the past week. It's unclear how much IAC will be paying for HowAboutWe, or if the brand will continue to standalone among the other dating brands in IAC's portfolio.
OPW - June 28 - Spark stock was up 10% on Friday. However, it was on very erratic trading. It all happened at the end of the day. Very little stock traded at the closing price. Perhaps this is on speculation of a deal?
NY POST - June 24 - Osmium, which owns 14.2% of Spark Networks' stock, was on track to win four of the company’s six board seats and oust management. But Spark Networks has put itself up for sale and is in talks with at least one prospective suitor. The company postponed its annual shareholder meeting in order to focus on the deal. The meeting will be held on Friday, June 28th.
OPW INTERVIEW - June 24 - We spoke to Markus Frind, founder and CEO of POF, about mobile, Tinder, and POF plans for Google Glass...
How are the events working out for you? They've been working out great for the past 10 years now. We host 400-500 events a month with 28-30k showing up.
How is your offering different from Match? All of our events are user driven. Users create the events, they promote them on the site and then people show up. Match.com plans the events and charges people to attend.
Isn't that a little more risky though? I would say theirs is more risky. It's much easier to hold free events. From a business point of view, our users are advertising the site for free for us.
You had a $10M fund for acquisitions. What's the ideal profile of a company that you're looking for? It was more like $30M that we wanted to invest. We're looking for a company that has ~1M in revenues, and can massively grow if we send them our traffic.
Online dating is skewing more towards mobile, do you think? The web is going the way of the dinosaur.
Looking at what Match/IAC has done with Tinder, do you think that this was done with POF in mind? POF is a direct threat for Match.com. So their ultimate response would be to back a free app that focuses on mobile. How much of a threat is Tinder? I don't think they have that much foresight. Although Tinder is growing in leaps and bounds, it's not like it's affecting traffic of existing dating sites. It is just bringing more people to the category.
Do you think they will launch a site? It seems like a fishing mechanism, but where's the website? They aren't sending traffic to Match yet. 95% of our users under the age of 35 are using a mobile phone. So who cares about a website?
How about the high end matchmaking? Aren't you leaving money on the table? We will see what happens with eHarmony. Everything is just moving mobile and getting more casual, not serious.
Last year, 70% of your traffic was on mobile, what's it stand at at this stage? 85%. It still grows a percent a week.
I hear Zoosk is making close to half their revenues on mobile now. How's that compare with POF in terms of revenues. We haven't done a lot of revenue driven features on the apps yet, so we are nowhere near where they are. I think they are at 41% from their filings. We focus mostly on getting users and retaining them.
Was developing an app for iOS less challenging than for Android? iOS is far more challenging for us. There's just more things that can go wrong.
If you were going to give some advice to a startup. Which would you advise them to start with? We make equivalent amounts of money from users. It doesn't matter if they are Android or iPhone. As far as I know, that applies to all of the major players.
Doesn't iOS make more money though? Are behaviors a little different? Android makes a little more money because you don't have to pay Google 30% that you have to pay to Apple.
Do you have plans for a Google Glass app? We haveno plans for an app yet. Facial recognition is banned. So until there's a wide install base, we're not going to play with it.
What's your thoughts on wearable computing in general? Do you think wearables improve the idating experience in the next 5-10 years? The technology is still 3-4 years from being the next big thing.
ABC.NET.AU - June 25 - Cupid Media, an online dating company that operates ~35 niche dating sites such as ChristianCupid, MilitaryCupid and SingleParentLove has been found in breach of privacy laws after hackers accessed the personal information of ~245K of its Australian users. At the time of the incident, Cupid did not have password encryption processes in place.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD - June 24 - RSVP, the online dating site owned by Fairfax Media, is poised to sign a merger agreement with rival Oasis Active, which is backed by Ten Network Holdings. RSVP is wholly owned by Fairfax, while Ten controls ~40% of Oasis, sharing the registry with other investors including co-founders David Heysen and Daniel Haigh, as well as former Star City, Engin and Solution 6 boss Neil Gamble. The merged entity would be worth ~$90M, with Fairfax to retain ~50% holding. Ten will control ~20% with Mr Heysen and Mr Haigh also retaining stakes.
Oasis Active Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Dave Heysen, said: “Oasis has always admired the RSVP brand in Australia and look forward to working with a business that has been one of the major players in the Australian market for more than 15 years. Together we can ensure that we continue to develop our products to cater for a wider range of the Australian singles market as well as collectively develop ways to best leverage rapidly changing technology.”
CNN - June 23 - Members of the brainiac group can connect through a separate dating service called Mensa Match. In addition, Match.com members can add a special Mensa badge to their profiles, signaling a specific interest in connecting with a single person with a confirmed genius-level IQ score. According to Match, 80% of singles find it very important to be with someone of the same intelligence level.
IRISH MIRROR - June 23 - Despite having ~125K users in Ireland, AshleyMadison has been forced to close as Irish are too prudish about infidelity. The site can’t find enough staff to operate its office. CEO Mr Biderman said he came here because the country was technically advanced but he didn’t anticipate it would be impossible to hire staff.
WINBETA - June 21 - Rudy Huyn is known in the Windows Phone community as the developer who created an unofficial Instagram and Vine app before the official apps were made available. He created 6tindr app, an unofficial Tinder app. The app was pulled and unavailable for months until now, reappearing as 6tin. There will not be an official Tinder app.