OPW - May 3 - I surveyed CEOs of Internet dating companies to gage what they think about Facebook entering the dating industry. This white paper lists how Facebook describes what is happening, and industry executive responses to the prospect of Facebook dating.
Here's some key quotes.
Silvano Senn – Internet Dating Client Partner - Global Sales at Facebook
"People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better."
Mandy Ginsberg - CEO of Match Group
"We're flattered that Facebook is coming into our space - and sees the global opportunity that we do - as Tinder continues to skyrocket."
Gourav Rakshit - CEO of Shaadi
"They've entered other industries in the past – some have worked out, others not so well. They will undoubtedly encounter challenges unique to matchmaking which they've never dealt with before, however their social graph could prove to be a game changer."
Geoff Cook - Co-Founder & CEO of The Meet Group
"Facebook doesn't strike us as an obvious forum for dating. Beyond the well-documented privacy issues, we believe people don't want to share that part of themselves on Facebook."
Andrey Bronetskiy - CEO of Mamba
"If they will do all well (and for them it is not too difficult to do), I think it can be -50% of market in terms of money. When Instagram does something similar then the market will lose the second 50%."
Didier Rappaport - Founder & CEO of Happn
"We are surprised by the timing Facebook has chosen to announce its new ambition to enter the dating space given the controversy that has recently surrounded the company, and the fact that what is related to dating and interpersonal relationship is strictly intimate and private."
Sachin Bhatia - Co-founder & CEO of Truly Madly
"FB might help popularize online dating further but will drive people away soon to apps like ours once their members realize that their matches are either fake or not relevant."
Murugavel Janakiraman - Founder & CEO of Matrimony.com
"The cultural nuances of how people choose their life partner in India is very unique and we don't expect either dating sites or Facebook offering dating services having any impact in the Indian market."
Hiroshi Tsumoto - CEO of Diverse (Japan)
"Matchmaking services are regulated in Japan. To register, a driver's license or ID issued by an official agency confirming that a user is 18 or over is required. It is hard to imagine this check being done through Facebook."
Grant Langston - CEO of eHarmony
"We know that it takes commitment, science, psychology and an emphasis on building human connections to succeed."
In summary, dating industry executives are generally surprised but upbeat about Facebook entering the Internet dating industry. Generally, they think the overall market will grow as a result of Facebook shining a light on Internet dating, and that Facebook will not steal the lions-share of the market. Niches will remain. Matchmakers will do fine. This won't be Facebook's forte. The context of dating is distinct from social networking and a separate dating silo is what most people will desire, despite the unique and vast reach of Facebook. Privacy is paramount in the dating context.