Search giant Google has made the decision to close down several of it’s underperforming services. Of interests to readers is Google’s decision to close Dodgeball, the location-based mobile service Google acquired several years ago. This leaves more room for other location-based services, including dating, several of which will be debuting at iDate.
Last week I spoke with Christian Wiklund and Patrick McGovern at mobile dating service Skout. Skout is the official Mobile Application Sponsor at iDate.
Skout started out as a social networking service focused on finding friends nearby as well as updating family and uploading photos. Early location-based services were based on cell tower triangulation, which was expensive on a per-lookup basis. Skout works with the iPhone GPS service. In a recent survey, Skout found that people are not only keeping in touch with friends, 83% said dating was a primary interest.
The Skout iPhone app is in the review process at Apple. Should be launching this week. Company employs six full time people.
People are not just keeping touch with friends on Skout, but finding new ones. 83% said dating was an important featured.
Users: currently 100k users. 95% of traffic is mobile. 2,000 signups/day. Implemented a user named Scout, who serves a similar purpose to everyone’s default friend on Myspace, Tom. Gender bias is 50/50, which I would not have expected.
ScoutOuts: Parties thrown to find evangelists to promote service.
Funding: Angel investors to date.Plans: increasing retention rate.What features work, what don’t. Looking at Android, Nokia and their new app store next year. Excited about growth of iPhone. App store is exploding.
Partnerships: Primary goal is to build brand. Will consider private label if it feels right.
Revenue Generation: No ads in apps yet. Thinking about virtual goods and subscriptions.
Privacy: iPhone appnever see exact location, but distance radius unless they check-in.
Skout thinks that mobile and location-based services have become a commodity: the 6 and 7th senses. Skout is housed in the same 1200 sq feet that Gary Kremen launched Match.com in.
The iphone app is best way to use the service. You can also use mobile-web via the iphone (safari) or any other mobile phone that has a browser. (We automatically change the screen size and feature set based on the handset. We have a database of over 10,000 phones). Finally you can access the service using a laptop or desktop by going to www.skout.com.