Dating Industry News 12-3-12

This is the best newsletter ever written by a dating site, thanks social dating site Hinge.

At Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in New York last Tuesday, OkCupid cofounder Sam Yagan talked about How OkCupid Uses Data. At the beginning they didn’t have a lot of fancy psychologists or researchers on staff to tell them what made for a successful match. So they decided to rely on the data users gave them instead.

Yagan touted the accuracy of OkCupid’s algorithm, claiming that the company knows “quantitatively and anecdotally” that its users find better, more compatible matches on OkCupid than on other dating sites.

Yagan said OkCupid could use its data to set up a date between two people who won’t know what the other looks like until they meet in person—your classic blind-date scenario, but arranged by algorithms rather than acquaintances.

That last statement made me look at the date on the post. Was I experiencing Déjà vu? In November of 2007 OkCupid launched Crazy Blind Date.

Social discovery service SNAP Interactive had a lot of news to share about 2012 performance and what’s on tap for 2013.

Jon D. Pedersen, Sr., SNAP’s Chief Financial Officer:

Our focus during the third quarter centered around scaling, testing and optimizing the redesigned AreYouInterested.com product, which we launched in August 2012. As we transitioned to the redesigned product, we again focused on limiting cash burn and ended the quarter at $6.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and investments, down $0.6 million from June 30, 2012.

Deferred revenue increased 17% to $3.3 million at September 30, 2012
compared to $2.8 million at September 30, 2011;
–  Quarterly revenue decreased 15% to $4.3 million compared to $5.1 million
for the comparable period in 2011;
–  Quarterly bookings decreased 20% to $4.0 million compared to $5.0
million for the comparable period in 2011.

SNAP Re-Launched AreYouInterested.com as a Social Discovery Site.

Other recent launches and features currently in development include:

–  On-site communication enhancements including an overhaul to our instant
messaging experience which we anticipate launching in the first quarter
of 2013
–  Smart Match (live) – An algorithm that incorporates a user’s interests,
demographics, and behavioral data to pair users with someone that should
be a good match for them.
–  Interest Landing Pages  (live) – Interest Landing Pages display users
that have a particular interest, and show videos that are related to
that interest.

Key traffic and engagement metrics for AreYouInterested.com:

–  Monthly Active Users (MAUs) on the AreYouInterested.com app on Facebook
Platform totaled 5.29 million as of September 30, 2012; and
–  We averaged over 450,000 daily sessions or visits to our mobile
AreYouInterested.com platforms (including iPhone, mobile web, and
Android sessions) during the third quarter of 2012.

SNAP’s president and chief executive officer, Clifford Lerner:

We believe our recent feature launches are only just beginning to scratch the surface of their potential and, along with a product roadmap full of exciting ideas and further innovation, we eagerly look toward 2013.

Oh SNAP! That is a whole lot of stuff going on.

Bloomberg Businessweek says EHarmony Founder Breaks Up With Investors, Buys Back VC Stake. This is required reading for dating site operators. As previously mentioned, Neil Clark Warren, who founded the company 12 years ago, is taking back control.

Since becoming chief executive officer in July after a series of CEO changes, he’s fired 100 people, cut the board from nine to two and bought back stock from Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures, which invested $110 million in 2004.

An initial public offering, which had been expected in 2010, is now off the table and Warren said in an interview he has no interest in selling the Santa Monica, California-based company. Instead, the trained theologian and psychologist will spend next year building EHarmony’s portfolio to add services that help people find the right job, understand themselves and build relationships to reduce loneliness. Gone from the company are the business degrees, and in are social scientists.

See how OkCupid and Cupid LLC and now eHarmony are using their deep experience in algorithmic matching to enter into new markets? Not sure how realistic Dr. Warren’s statement is that eHarmony could be a $5 billion in five years, but let the guy dream.

eHarmony has spent $600-700 million on advertising throughout its history!

Eharmony Australia is responsible for almost one in every 50 marriages over the last five years, which equates to almost 11,000 weddings.

One can only imagine what the eHarmony job search engine will look like. You must be Christian (j/k), you must not have been fired before…

POF down 404 errorAdult Websites Find Creepiest Use For Facial Recognition Technology So Far. SexFaceFinder (google it) asks users to upload a photo. It then uses facial recognition to find a webcam performer who looks like the person in the original photo. NaughtyAmerica is similar. More details at JezebelThanks @jamesagardner.

Yet another story about how Match got screwed (I mean undervalued) back in the day when they sold to Cendant for $7 million, only to have Cendant turn around a year later and sell it to Ticketmaster for $50 million.

Here’s the full story, including how the founder only got $50,000 from the deal.

The value of the UK online dating market jumped 6% to almost £170m in 2012, with  9.1 million trying it, according to Metaflake.

Niche Dating Site Of The Week: Amish Online Dating.

Social discovery site At he The Pool has some interesting ways to get into “pools” of people with similar tastes. Also gets inspired by Coffee Meets Bagel, going for the “one match a day” thing and raising a $1M seed round. I actually heard from someone at CMB today. Been on the site for months, need to write up my experience.

Zoosk signups for Couple Profiles has reached 3.3 million users in the six months since launching. Today, 15 percent of new Zoosk signups are registered to use Couple Profiles. Behold, a ton of job openings at Zoosk.

Failed background check humor.

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Comments

  1. Hi. I liked your blog. Its very informative. Anyhow I do have a blog about online dating as well and other stuff. Hope you can check it out at your free time. This is my address: http://sweetflixinthecity.blogspot.com/ Thanks!

  2. Excellent post. I recently launched a new dating site that focus on the mature audience, age 30 and older, and like Sam Yagan, I too do not have “fancy psychologists or researchers on staff” to tell me what made for a successful match and so one of my key focus is on using the data I gather from users to produce accurate matches for.

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