OPW - Aug 28 - Facebook is speaking at the upcoming Internet Dating Conference in Cologne next week. Facebook have seriously reviewed and refined their approach to the dating industry after discovering that sentiment around internet dating based ads was considerably sub-par. This was largely due to rogue dating sites, and rogue affiliates. So now, after a period of analysis and revision, they're taking a new and more open approach to the Internet dating industry, thank goodness. So come learn more at iDate, and meet the Facebook rep who will be giving us the update on Facebook's new worldwide and European policies for our industry. This will be the first time Facebook is addressing the Internet dating industry publicly.
Post by Mark Brooks @
SLEEK MONEY - Aug 29 - Spark Networks saw a significant increase in short interest in August. There was an increase of 3.2% from the July 31st total. Currently, 5.8% of the shares of the stock are sold short.
by Matt Cooper
See full article at Sleek Money
Mark Brooks: I think Spark Networks is waaaay overdue for a shake-up. Ultimately their targeting the Christian market makes a lot of sense, but is a behemoth for them to get their arms around. It's challenging, but Spark could do this. Fascinating! What's your thoughts?
THE CANADIAN PRESS - Aug 29 - Ashley Madison is suing the government of South Korea after being blocked over allegations of illegal activity. Adultery is illegal in South Korea. Ashley Madison denies the accusations, describing itself as “a social networking website facilitating communication between like-minded adults.” “There’s no adultery that happens on Ashley Madison, it’s just a publication,” the company’s CEO and founder, Noel Biderman, told The Canadian Press.
Irena Brooks: Launching in South Korea where adultery is a punishable crime is another publicity stunt. Are they taking it a little bit too far this time? Every country has its own laws and we should respect them even if we find them absurd. If Ashley Madison is a social network that allows like minded people (he forgot to add "in committed relationship") to communicate, why would he be hurt if his wife uses the site?
Mark Brooks: AM is not a social network in any way shape or form. A social network gives visibility into peoples social networks. AM does quite the opposite in enabling privacy in the extreme. Anyway, the main point of this PR is to get people riled up and conversing. AM achieves its aim again.
PR NEWSWIRE - Aug 28 - Q2 revenues were $23.4M, a 21.8% YOY increase. Operating income was $1.3M. Average monthly paying user accounts were 1.5M, a 16.3% YOY increase. Personalized matchmaking services grew 239.3% YOY, accounting for 22.5% of net revenues. 64% of all logins were from mobile.
Mark Brooks: Match owns 20% of Zhenai which is a top 3 dating site and competitor to Jiayuan. I expect to see Zhenai rise in rankings because of knowledge sharing between the companies. The Chinese market is most interesting because matchmaking is far more palatable and culturally the norm.
BUSINESS INSIDER - Aug 28 - A new report from the Pew Research Center claimed that people are less likely to post anything controversial if they're not sure their audience agrees. Winter Mason, a Facebook researcher, broke down the study and explained why it may not be so true. First of all, Mason explains, the phenomenon of people not wanting to express themselves to unlikeminded audiences is a universal reality, one that is not unique to the Internet.
Mark Brooks: As more people express themselves the online norm of being critical becomes more acceptable. The Internet dating industry has a problem with helping people gage reputation in the context of romantic relationships. They're scared to offend. On another note...Facebook is proving to be a major source of traffic for Internet dating sites, but is also very challenging. A Facebook representative will be speaking at the upcoming Internet Dating Conference in Cologne to help clarify on where Facebook stands on Internet dating advertising now, and give some guidance on how best to scale and monetize it.
OPW - Aug 27 - Although the number of monthly users over the last two years has increased 13% to 7.1M, the revenue is down from £168.5M in 2011 to £158.7M in 2013, according to a new report by leadingdatingsites.co.uk.
AMERICA BLOG - Aug 26 - Grindr is facing accusations that a glitch in its system is giving away the actual location of its users to anyone with a Web connection. Grindr has responded, claiming that the ability to identity the location of its users isn’t a security flaw, but rather, something they intended all along. Many Grindr users give permission for their general location to be known to other Grindr users. But while the app shows that users are, say, “1000 feet” from a nearby user, it does not show the direction of the other user. The “flaw,” however, uses triangulation to permit anyone to determine the actual location of that user within ~100 feet.
OPW - Aug 26 - I sent out a survey to members of the Internet Dating Executive Alliance over the last week. If you're an Internet dating industry executive, site owner or senior manager and didn't get your invite, please email me at email@example.com for it. This survey only happens once every three years.
Here's the deal... If you get the survey link and complete the survey this week you'll get the results back in early September for free.
This survey will be a repeat of the internet dating survey that we helped Subscription Site Insider do three years ago, so it will be interesting to highlight the big changes. I won't be selling the report. It will only be available for free to respondents. So please take the time to carefully fill in the report if you want to see the survey results and analysis.
CLICKZ - Aug 25 - Tinder's massive growth, due largely to its mobile-first approach that appeals to Millennials, is bringing new life to the online dating industry. In just the past year, the online dating category has gone from being desktop-dominant to a mobile-first category.
Match.com has been the market leader for quite some time with ~12M multi-platform unique visitors in July 2014. When looking at the number of visitors on smartphones. Match.com maintains its lead with 6.1M visitors, but POF trails not far behind with 4.8M. Tinder is #3 with 3.6M visitors, up ~1,400% in the past year.
by Eli Goodman
See full article at ClickZ
OPW - Aug 26 - You can now download the latest update to the Courtland Brooks Affiliate Networks Payouts Spreadsheet, designed to provide affiliate marketers and dating site owners with a comprehensive list of the affiliate programs in the industry. Discover the latest offers from leading affiliate networks including CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction), Neverblue, and Zanox all in one convenient, up-to-date spreadsheet.
SF GATE - Aug 23 - Online dating is a saturated marketplace, dominated by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. It controls ~27% of the U.S. dating services market. Its next closest competitor, eHarmony, has half that. Tagged, a social discovery startup, killed its dating app, Swoon, this year, in part because of the saturation of IAC dating products. "Any company should be cautious in innovating in the dating market," said Steve Sarner, the company's VP of marketing. In 2014, IAC's dating-related profit is expected to grow by 14%. "They have been very aggressive and bought companies that were very well-placed strategically and by design. That is a big part of how they have grown," said Mark Brooks, an online-dating analyst. "They are at this point running out of companies they can buy." Tinder, the company's latest hit, is a version of what Hot or Not pioneered a decade ago and what the app Grindr had perfected for the gay community. "Basically, they are shaking trees," said Brooks.
ARS TECHNICA - Aug 22 - Ashley Madison does let users delete their profiles for free, but if they want “Full Delete” which removes all traces of their usage, it costs $19. Ashley Madison's Hide My Profile Permanently option is the same thing as deleting a profile on most other sites. Users' identifying details will be deleted, but messages and pictures users have sent to others on the site behave like e-mail, and they can't get them back. Removing messages users sent in the past is something few other sites will do.
by Megan Geuss
See full article at Ars Technica
OPW INTERVIEW - Aug 21 - We first heard about LoveRoom in November last year. The concept of allowing users to share their room for free with attractive strangers has sparked some controversy. Bocanegra listed his place on Airbnb, and to make it more appealing, he used the photo of his girlfriend for the profile. Soon he started getting reservations at $80 a night. This is where the idea for LoverRoom kicked in. We've interviewed Joshua about how LoveRoom went from just an idea to a website that has attracted ~10K people in 6 months without any PR efforts.
BUSINESS INSIDER - Aug 14 - Rocket Internet is one of the most successful and controversial startup incubators in the world. Last week, the Berlin-based startup accelerator raised $445M at a $4.5B valuation. And it’s reported to be shooting for an IPO soon, with hopes of reaching a valuation as high as $6.7B. Rocket Internet's strategy is to copy ideas that work in certain markets and build the same exact business model in regions that haven’t yet been explored. It launched eDarling in 2008, a copy-cat of eHarmony. The site now operates in 20-plus countries. eHarmony was a 30% shareholder until 2013. eDarling focused on mostly non-English-speaking countries, but have announced plans to expand to the U.K. and Ireland recently.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
BUSINESSWIRE - Aug 21 - Zoosk a new Photo Verification feature to confirm the authenticity of members’ profile pictures. Members who choose to verify their photo will be prompted by the system to record and submit a video “selfie” that will capture the individual’s face from a variety of angles. If the moderators approve the member’s photo, he or she will be notified and a Photo Verified badge will be added to their profile. The video “selfie” will remain private.
The full article was originally published at Herald Online, but is no longer available.
ASSOCIATED PRESS - Aug 20 - On dating sites like PetsDating.com and YouMustLoveDogsDating.com users are encouraged to bring their dogs on first dates to break the ice. "Dogs are amazing icebreakers," said Kris Rotonda, who started YouMustLoveDogsDating.com last year. The site has now 2M members.
by Sue Manning
The full article was originally published at SacramentoBee, but is no longer available.