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logo.gifGood riddance, tax-man.

Alex at Rubixx says the dating site search aggregator re-launched a few weeks ago. Nice to see some of my ideas show up in the interface. A note for all dating meta-search companies like Rubixx, and Canoodle. Think twice about your initial partners. filling your site with millions of profiles from a site like American Singles, which is basically going out of business, is not the best strategy. Aggregators need to think critically about launching with the most appropriate partners. So far this has not been the case.

Most meta-search companies do straight affiliate deals, none that I know of have what I would consider official partnerships with dating sites. Hopefully this will change and my $30/month will allow me to contact people through dozens of high-quality dating sites.

Canoodle searches 18 dating sites and has 8.5 million profiles. Rubixx has 13 million profiles. Neither mentions exactly sites they index, although Rubixx mentions American Singles in a blog post.

Dating site meta-search is an idea that has been tried again and again and will never take off until the following issues are addressed.

– Quality partners. Most searches span any number of mediocre dating sites. American Singles? Come on.

– Credit-based access. I’m not spending $25 to join an entirely new dating site in order to email a single woman. This is a huge fail point. I should be charged at the most $5 to contact someone.

– Marketing. Most dating search aggregators fail because they are not able to effectively promote the search engine. If you aren’t spending tens of thousands of dollars a month, you’re not going to get enough traction to survive.

– Search functionality and profile display needs to be streamlined. The process is often confusing and people tend to drop out before paying due to being overwhelmed. Match actually did this right with their failed Facebook application, Little Black Book.

– Moving from affiliates to partners. Dating sites need to get better about allowing access to their profiles. XML feeds and nightly batching capabilities are basic building blocks for working with aggregators. Some of the top ten sites have these already (Match and Yahoo).

Dating meta-search will work, but only if site owners spend more time addressing how users search, pay and interact with each other. Until someone nails the business model and user experience, expect to see any number of companies continue to jump into the fray, with limited success.