OPW INTERVIEW - Apr 26 - I first met Mo when I was working at FriendFinder in 2003. He’s done very well with OnlineBootyCall and has turned some of his attention towards developing an interesting new site called HerWay.com. I interviewed Mo back in August 2007. (Full Disclosure: Mo is a client of Courtland Brooks)
What did you do before you started OnlineBootyCall?
I was a software engineer. I worked as a database administrator and one of my side projects was an online dating site. That is how OnlineBootyCall started.
Why did you choose OnlineBootyCall? What other names did you consider?
There was really no name consideration. I just registered the domain so I could use it to do some web development and I had no idea the site was going to take off. I was the first member and now we’re close to 5 million members now.
Congratulations. You’re working on a new site, HerWay.com. How does this site work and how is it different from other dating sites?
HerWay, as the name implies, works a little differently. We set it up so it works similar to the Sadie Hawkins dance, a high school dance in which female students invite male students to dance. So on HerWay we allow the females to make the first move.
Isn’t this a distinctly American concept?
I would say 95% of the people I’ve asked heard of the concept. The dance idea started in the US but I’m not sure how many people internationally know about it.
It sounds like you’re empowering women but do women really want to be empowered in this particular respect or do the guys really want to lead?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it empowering women. It is more about saving them from being inundated with emails from guys who they aren’t interested in. So giving them the opportunity to search for someone they really want versus fielding messages and responding to winks and stuff or responding to guys telling them they’re not interested, is a lot more efficient. One of the things we’ve noticed is women are often inundated and guys are often ignored on dating sites.
So it sounds like you’re trying to readdress the boundaries with HerWay.com?
Yeah I think so. I’ve talked to a lot of women who have joined the site and they appreciate it. It’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s not for everybody, of course. Some women like to be chased and they like the traditional dating experience.
What inspired you to start HerWay.com?
While operating OBC, I started noticing that whenever a female would reach out to a guy, the response rate was sometimes up to 10 times better than the other way around. So it led me to believe that it’s really up to the female to decide who she’s going to meet regardless of who initiates the contact.
How is the site growing? How are you getting the word out?
Right now it’s mostly word of mouth. We’re growing at nearly 1000 members a day with little to no marketing efforts, which is going to change pretty soon.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
We do but it is a little too early to discuss right now. There are a couple of projects we’re excited about to get started. So when that comes up we’ll definitely let you know about that.