I always thought of Cupid as Spark Networks with more adult services. Judging by their current situation, I stand by this.
Cupid, which runs subscription-based dating websites such as Cupid.com, UniformDating.com and LoveBeginsAt.com, announced £3m ($4.9m) in pre-tax losses for the six months ending June, an increase of 20% from the previous year.
Show me niche dating network that’s not running a deficit. This is par for the course. But then, scary subscriber numbers.
At the end of June 2012, Cupid’s sites had 113,000 paying subscribers; by June 2014, they had just 48,000, each of whom pays the company only about £20. Increased competition and a rise in marketing costs to attract and retain customers has weakened the firm’s position, according to Phil Gripton, its boss. In the first half of 2012 Cupid spent 48p on marketing to attract each new user across its sites; now it has to spend four times as much. The development of specialist dating websites for groups as varied as wrinklies and clowns have also made it difficult for Cupid’s main websites to make money.
That is a tremendous drop in paying customers. Again, reminds me of Spark Networks, specifically American Singles.
In 2013, Cupid PLC sold off all of their casual (adult) dating businesses, which represented 70% of their overall revenue. In retrospect, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea. But probably necessary if they want to appear as a more legitimate dating network.
To combat the rise of free dating apps, Cupid developed its own free location-based dating app, basically a Tinder clone, called Tangle, which it will launch in October.
Read more at The Economist.