Greg Liberman spent half of his professional career running Spark Networks. The result is a lackluster stock price, junky Christian dating site and stale & forgotten JDate. Spark should be as large as Match.com by now. Instead, the general clusterf&*k with investors (Great Hill Partners & Osmium Partners), lack of growth leadership and innovation and completely missing the social media parade (Zoosk, Are You Interested) has saddled the aging network with a bunch of generic sites that pay for the staff and the advertising, and not much else.
And now Liberman is gone.
Spark executives never seem to have gotten the memo about lowering customer acquisition costs below Lifetime Customer Value. Meanwhile, they cannibalized American Singles to fund JDate, and now they are using JDate money to fund their expensive attempt at luring the Christian market into the fold.
People have been contacting me about Spark for many years. Remember when Spark sued a number of dating sites over mutual interest functionality and then were sued for sending out spammy emails? I almost forgot myself. I have countless emails from investors, stock watchers, lawyers, ex-employees and others who have felt the short end of the Spark stick. Why Spark chose to act so insular, unhelpful and generally lame remains a mystery, and nobody is holding their breath more than their new investors, whom I categorize as gluttons for punishment.
Over the years, the only times Spark would reach out to me was to threaten me, even when my intuition and commentary was spot on. And their IR contact for years, I’m not sure they knew how to use email or the phone.
So, excuse me if I lash out a bit at the bobble-heads in LA. They deserve it and a lot more, which I’m sure they’ve got coming to them, unless to the CEO is a master turnaround expert. Maybe Patti Stanger? I kid, I kid!
Whomever they bring in to steer the sinking ship called Spark Networks has a lot of work ahead of them. Time to sit back for a few quarters and watch the stock price.