TECH CRUNCH - Sep 20 - Users in Colombia are able to create a Facebook Dating profile now, but the company won't start serving matches until there are enough sign ups. The dating feature is centered around an algorithm-powered homescreen of Suggested romantic matches based on everything Facebook knows about users. There's no swiping and it's not trying to look cool. "The goal of the team is to make Facebook simply the best place to start a relationship online", said Facebook Dating's product manager Nathan Sharp. For now there are no plans to monetize it with ads or premium subscriptions to bonus features. When users opt in, they verify their city using their phone's location services, and decide whether to add details like a free-form bio, workplace, education, religion, height, and if they have children. Facebook offers non-binary genders and sexual orientations. To fill out their profile, they'll choose up to a dozen photos they upload, are tagged in, previously posted to Facebook, or cross-posted from Instagram as well as answer up to 20 questions about their personality. Users can select to filter their matches by distance (up to a max radius of 100km), if they have children, religion, height, and age.
SOCIALBARREL - Sep 15 - According to Jane Manchun Wong, Facebook Dating will "show suggested matches from Dating Groups." Last month, Wong had posted an update on her Twitter page that Facebook was already testing Facebook Dating with members of staff. The new dating feature, however, won't be visible to everyone, but will only be seen by non-friends who have opted into dating. Matchmaking will be done by a bunch of preferences.
ECONOMIST - Aug 20 - Personal ads never accounted for more than 1% of marriages in America. Today dating sites and apps account for about a sixth of the first meetings that lead to marriage there. As early as 2010 the Internet had overtaken churches, neighbourhoods, classrooms and offices as a setting in which Americans might meet a partner of the opposite sex. In a 2013 study from Harvard University and the University of Chicago showed that marriages that started online were less likely to end in break-up. The business is worth $4.6B globally, growing fast and highly competitive. Match Group had revenues of $1.3B in 2017. Facebook is getting into the market, too. Many users, while welcoming the broadening of choice that the online world offers, are also becoming aware of its downsides. For those who find popularity on the apps, endless choice can become something of a burden. Others talk of the exhaustion of trawling through endless matches. New services are looking at ways to make their users happier.
THE NEXT WEB - Aug 17 - Kathy Kostrub-Waters and Bryan Denny are spending some of their free time finding fake accounts on Facebook. They regularly present Facebook with their findings, and each time are disappointed to find Facebook hasn't changed their approach. Says Denny: "The reality is this isn't my job or Kathy's. So I get really tired of 'Hey, thanks for the work - keep it up.' I'm like no, damnit, it's your job to do this." Denny, a retired member of the Armed Forces, is apparently a popular target for scammers, who steal photos of his attractive mug and use them to construct fake profiles on dating sites and Facebook. He found hundreds of Facebook profiles bearing his photo and those of his son. Now consider Facebook's intention to start a dating site. Various people from groups dedicated to finding and warning others about scam profiles, speaking with Huffington Post, called that idea "madness" and "a train wreck waiting to happen."
SEEKING ALPHA - Aug 13 - Even after a 17% rise following the most recent quarterly results, Match remains modestly valued. The latest subscriber numbers show that Tinder is not slowing down as initially expected. Past experience strongly suggests that Facebook Dating will not impact Match Group's business in a material way. The Match growth story is driven by three key realities: societal changes, a strong, sticky brand, and fantastic business economics. Best of all, Match spends very little on advertising because people know of its products through word-of-mouth. Assuming that earnings remain static forever at $450M, the entire company would be worth $11.25B at a 4% discount rate: $450M/4% = $11.25B. With such a long growth runway, though, it would be silly to think that this is it for earnings. At a market capitalization of just $12.3B, Match is almost certainly undervalued.
DAILYL - Aug 10 - Facebook is testing its newly created dating feature within the organization. Users have the ability to select the one from 5 different genders, like a man, Trans man, Trans woman, woman and non-binary people.
METRO.CO.UK - Aug 7 - Facebook is preparing to launch a service called Facebook Dating, and is already undergoing internal testing. One of the features the dating service will contain is called 'Conversation Starter', which offers automated pick-up lines to people who can't think of how to start chatting to someone they fancy. Facebook unveiled plans for its dating service in May and said it's designed to create 'real, long-term relationships', rather than hook-ups. The feature will enable users to create a separate dating profile to their existing Facebook account, with the site then offering recommendations about the sorts of people it thinks users will like.
SEEKING ALPHA - Aug 7 - On May 1st, Facebook announced that it would be entering the online dating market. Prior to this date, Match stock increased 151% since early August driven by consistent user growth and increasing monetization. With the stock now 21% from its peak, does this present a buying opportunity, or the start of a bigger decline amidst heavy competition?
Facebook May See Some Success, but Not Likely to Slow Match Growth
Facebook's Success is a Risk to Consider
CNET - Aug 4 - Facebook has begun internal testing for its new dating feature (Facebook doesn't plan to launch a standalone dating app). A Facebook representative confirmed testing has kicked off, saying, "We are testing Facebook Dating internally (as we regularly do with new features), but we don't have anything more to share right now." Facebook is hoping users will trust the social network with their personal information, even after the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, in which data from as many as 87M Facebook users was improperly shared with the political consultancy.
RECODE - Aug 1 - On this episode of Recode Decode, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about how her company became dominant in online dating. Ginsberg also talks about Facebook dating and her admiration for Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe, even as the two companies have traded lawsuits and barbed words in the press, and why it's natural for consumers of different ages to use different apps.
Q: When Facebook announced its entry into online dating, what was going through your mind? Were you surprised?
A: Yes, that actual day I was. I had just printed the script for our earning call and I threw it behind my desk, I just tossed it. It was not shocking because we've studied the single population and people were saying that they met their partners through Facebook. But it was surprising because Facebook has stayed away from online dating quite intentionally.
Q: Lets talk about Bumble. Where do you stand now?
A: I have a tremendous amount of respect for the brand and what Bumble has done and what Whitney has done. But we own a patent around swiping and unlocking communication, which we are really excited about. We never had that before. And honestly, you don't use a patent unless you feel that it's defensible because it's expensive, and it takes a long time. So anyway, we scoured, looked at all the competition. There were several competitors that were big that were infringing on the patent. And so we made a decision to go after Bumble, Tantan and some other ones too that we've actually sent letters to as well, that they've now adjusted their products or are in talks with us.
Q: What's the thinking when you are talking to a company about a potential acquisition and then you sue them?
A: Businesses and deals will come and go. This is about protecting the integrity of your work.
FORTUNE - July 19 - Mandy Ginsberg has had an interesting first year as CEO of Match Group. She recalled the moment she learned that Facebook had entered the dating arena. She had just finished preparing remarks for an earnings call, when her phone began blowing up with the news. "The stock started dropping a dollar a minute," she recalled. "I just threw all my prepared remarks away and started over." Ginsberg feels confident that the mostly young love-seekers don't want to be dating on the same platform where their parents hang out.
RECODE - July 16 - Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg is not too worried about the impact of Facebook on her business. Although she acknowledged it would be foolish to write them off as a competitor, Match's data shows that its users already employ multiple dating apps. "Tinder's our big growth engine, and Tinder tends to skew very young, so 18 to 25. Facebook does not skew that young in general. If you're a 23-year-old and you're going to be using two or three apps, definitively, we think you're going to use one of our apps, most likely Tinder," she said. 5% of Match's revenue comes from advertising, a stark contrast to Facebook's 98.5%. She pointed out that that might assuage some consumers' concerns about privacy.
by Amit Shafrir
See full article at CTech
CBSNEWS - July 5 - Facebook is launching a dating app later this year, and users are already perceiving a rise in "catfishers". ~54% of online daters think someone they've been corresponding with has misrepresented themselves in some way, said Aaron Smith, associate director at the Pew Research Center. Over the past three years, Trustify has investigated catfishing cons that cost victims upwards of $5M. ~85% of these scams started on or involved Facebook.
BUZZFEED - July 4 - Facebook's plans to roll out a dating feature later this year already face growing opposition in the company's largest market: India. The country's vocal, conservative far-right groups, which have for years protested dating and premarital relationships by calling them "Western imports," have turned their attention to what they see as a huge threat to Indian culture from Facebook. "Too many young Indians are already aping the West," said Surender Jain, general secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a right-wing nationalist Hindu organization with close ties to India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
FORTUNE - June 27 - Globally, there are 600M singles online - a number that's expected to jump to 700M by 2020 - yet the industry's biggest player by far, Match Group, is estimated to claim just 10% of that. If Match Group wants to stay No. 1, it will need to defend its turf. Those who know Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg say she is likely to be up to the task. She knows the industry inside and out, and she takes Match's mission almost as a personal responsibility. The company's biggest competitors include eHarmony, Spark Networks, Badoo and Bumble. Bumble claims 34M total registered users. Of its active users, roughly 10% are paid; last year the company is said to have pulled in $100M in subscription revenue. It has a Goliath-size backer: Wolfe Herd created Bumble with the help of Andrey Andreev, the founder of Badoo. Andreev owns 79%, Wolfe Herd 20% (the remaining 1% is split between two additional employees). For a few years, Tinder and Bumble coexisted but things recently turned testy. In March, Match filed its suit against Bumble, accusing it of patent infringement and stealing trade secrets. Four days later, Bumble fired back with an angry letter. A few days after that, it filed its own suit against Match, claiming Match had fraudulently obtained sensitive information during acquisition talks. But both companies were hit with a much bigger tsunami of news on May 8, when Zuckerberg made his announcement. Match Group is working on new female-friendly features, like a Gentleman's Badge, a designation recently added into its European Meetic brand that men earn through certain behaviors, such as filling out an entire profile or engaging in lengthy email correspondence; men with the badge get 33% more attention from women.
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MARKETWATCH - June 22 - Hinge has grown popular among young adults because of its focus on "thoughtful" dating. The company brands itself as a relationship app at a time when many young daters are frustrated by the casualness of swipe-driven apps like Tinder. Hinge's product "is highly relevant particularly among urban, educated millennial women looking for relationships," said Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg. Facebook, meanwhile, has said that its forthcoming dating products will be about not just hookups, but "relationships too."
FORBES - June 23 - Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently sent a small shockwave through the online dating industry when he announced Facebook's plans to roll out dating features; shares in Match Group immediately plummeted by 16% but recovered very quickly. For Facebook, the move was arguably an inevitable development. Online dating is not only a multi-billion dollar industry showing healthy growth but is also home to some of today's stickiest mobile apps. A recent study claims that millennials spend 10 hours a week on dating apps. In reality, it seems unlikely that Facebook will initially be able to woo those millennials who are leaving Facebook in their droves, especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Where it may see traction, however, is with the younger 'post-Tinder' demographic as well as the over 40s who feel fatigued by some of the more outdated long-term relationship sites.
THE NEXT WEB - June 25 - The sheer amount of information Facebook has on us could make it a great place to find a partner. As well as knowing our friends, family and others, it also knows how much we interact with those users, the ones we talk to and who we tag the most. Arguably, it knows who we like more objectively than we do. Even though we are prone to lying in our status updates and Instagram feeds, there's still a lot Facebook can tell about us that may help in its quest to match us up. In a study of how people's 'likes' could form a view of their personality, it only took a computer looking at 10 likes to understand a person better than their colleagues, 70 to outperform a friend and 150 to beat a close family member. Facebook data can create more realistic pictures of someone's personality than self-reporting surveys.