Great article in The Verge, “What happened to ‘people discovery’ apps?“ Call it people discovery, social discovery, finding existing or making new friends nearby, knowing who’s around you and what they are into and up to is a huge business opportunity still in its infancy.
Mobile access to dating sites was greatly anticipated, finally took off, and here we are. The upside is that many dating sites are looking at a considerable percentage of signups from mobile and monthly traffic continues to grow. We’re not going to see these numbers even out for quite some time.
Problems ahead though. For many sites, mobile sucks for monetization and customer acquisition costs are higher. Its great that your web users downloaded your app on their smartphone, but then what? Are they just digesting content via the third screen, or are you offering location-based services and up-sells? Until we have more industry-specific metrics about what people are doing on mobile, everyone is trying anything they can to drive mobile adoption rates and throwing out press releases.
Foursquare is focusing on connecting with people you already know, but how long until they add a dating component directly to the app that people actually know about and use?
Many dating sites are experimenting with location-based services and people discovery apps, and they need to keep up with the testing until they get it right. Grindr took off, but the straight version of it hasn’t really hit mainstream dater’s radar. Huge opportunity here. Check out sites like Sonar, more social than dating, 250,000 daily users, nice clean app. Its still a small number, in a few years social discovery will be commonplace. You’ll walk into a location, and immediately know who’s there, their stats, and what they’re up to. Is that necessarily a good thing? What are the implications of location-based matching? Everyone talks about how great it is, but does it really work? Show me the numbers.
Another new mobile app just hit my inbox. Gleeden is a cheater site created by women for women. Take that Ashley Madison. Boasting 1.5 million members, the site predicts the new mobile app will account for over 50% of the site’s activity by 2014. I still don’t like the idea of cheater sites, but its such a large and lucrative niche market, we need to be talking about it. Head out to your local divorcee hotspot and fire up the app, because you know the bored married women are out with their divorced friends. Don’t really need an app for that though. Nothing works better than “Can I buy you a drink?”
I have about 20 mobile dating apps on my iphone. Trying to use them more often, but usually they get installed, I use them for a week or two and then I’m back to accessing Match and OKCupid and even POF on my phone. Then again, I’m way out in the woods, location-based features don’t mean much out here.
If you know about new location-based people discovery mobile apps, leave a comment.