Dating Startups: 2003• Buy expensive servers• Write code from scratch• Basic functionality• Stale boring proﬁles (still the case)• Ineffective Marketing: pop-unders!• US Revenue in 2002: $224 Million
Startups: 2013• Test Assumptions• Sign up for Google Adwords• Keyword popularity queries• Message Testing • 20 ads, $250 • Drive to landing page• Software, white label, Amazon cloud, API’s• $1.5 Billion revenue 2012 (guesstimate)
Startups 2013• WhiteLabelDating.com • 7,600 sites worldwide, 16 million members, $75 million revenue • Dating Factory (11 million members) and others trying to catch up • Dating site software still not great
Sector-Speciﬁc Growth “Recent data from comScore, an analytics ﬁrm, shows that trafﬁc across the 10 most popular dating sites did not increase over the past year.” JENNA WORTHAM Published: August 21, 2012
Ouch!“To date, there is no compelling evidencethat any online dating matching algorithmactually works.”“I think people should meet potentialpartners in the ﬂesh and blood ratherthan through online dating proﬁles.” Eli Finkel, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern
2012 Highlights• Match heads towards $800 Million revenue • Stir: 800 venues,1,600 events,150,000 attendees• Cupid PLC is Spark Networks 2.0• WLD paid out over $80 million to partners• ChristianMingle $30 MILLION ad spend
Deals• Skout raises $22 million for mobile expansion• HowAboutWe raised $18.5M, 1million users• Meetic acquires Twoo for $25 million in cash• Cupid PLC Lots of acquisitions• IAC acquires DateHookup• Thecomplete.me (LikeIt) raised $500k, including from POF (several investments)• Bing Fund invests in LikeBright
2012 Highlights• Social discovery: We Met Through Friends• Social exhaust: FB, Tweets, Pinterest, Spotify• Daily matches: Driving engagement• Emphasis on 6-month subscriptions• Branching Out/Couples: eHarmony, Zoosk, HAW• Oh, mobile too • In-app purchasing issues
2012 Highlights• eHarmony shutters Jazzed• Airtime deﬂates• Adultery and adult/casual booming• Photo Likes are the new winks• Dating sites are selling your private information• Social huge in non-English speaking countries.
Background Checks• Here we go (again)• Match, eHarmony.com, Spark Networks• Back-end, not consumer-facing (RelyID)
STOP IT! selling proﬁles It pisses people offNeeds consumer opt-in
Branching Out• eHarmony helps employers ﬁnd that special someone• OkCupid: • Launching Roommate-Matching Service • Tech powers match-ups between teachers and students on Tutor.com • Launches People Discovery Service Tallygram • Cupid PLC launches Airbnb clone.
Couples & Date Plans• Zoosk signups for Couple Proﬁles has reached 3.3 million users in the six months since launching• couples.howaboutwe.com• Facebook Launches Couples Pages so users can chart their relationship• Great Expectations Dating Concierge• Pair, Tokii, WeSync, Dateini
Boom!(ers)From PeopleMedia’s OurTime.com• Over the last year, the number of people 50 or older using online dating sites has grown twice as rapidly as any other age group (according to comScore)• 22.7 million Americans will turn 50 between 2010 and 2015. That equals huge growth potential from a business perspective.• 2.5 Million members joined OurTime in the last year alone; over 4 million since the launch of the OurTime community• 200% member growth over last 2 years• 300k communications daily, 1k success stories per week• 10x size of largest competitor
Mobile• Location-based social/dating apps struggle to succeed. Expensive to ramp up standalone density.• Banjo, Sonar+Foursquare, Hilight, many others.• Skout crushing it.
Mobile• Bolt-ons prosper (Match, POF)• Mobile is just another screen.• Evow (subscription-based POF sister site) releases mobile apps: Markus says that 4 co-op students built the Android and iPhone apps.
PredictionFacebook will release a relationshipdiscovery API to Graph Search that accessestheir internal algorithms targetingrelationship potential.
Big Data• Behavioral and other data will inﬂuence recommendation engines. • Social exhaust • Behavior: views, favorites, messaging, replies • Credit history, sentiment analysis
Big Data• Hadoop et al.• Splunk Helps SNAP Interactive Uncover Key Business Insights • Members with >2 photos get 4X messages. Women 2x response to messages about music than books.• Badoo and Actian Vectorwise• Match proﬁles are Facebook "objects"
Revenue• Old days: subscriptions only• Today • Freemium • Paid exposure • Ads (captcha, logout, magazines, bundles) • OfferPal-style offers in the rear-view • Up-sells, credits, free/cheap weekends
Retention• Is it really easier to re-engage stale members?• Re-marketing Messaging• Re-billing Strategies• Up-sell Strategies
• Relevance shifting to social shares/activity• Link building will be de-emphasized• Art of PageRank/EdgeRank sculpting • Gaming the system while you can • Invisible Like button overlays
Social Marketing• OKC took survey answers, messaging habits, self-descriptions, and other statistics from OkCupids millions of members and compared that information with external data.
Social Marketing• First OkTrends post: 30,000 hits• Processed the messaging habits of over a million people• "Its helped us a ton in search-engine optimization and trafﬁc"• Two million blog visitors. monthly unique visitor count has nearly doubled, to 5.5M
The Future• DNA + browser history + sentiment analysis + FB Search Graph + API-based matching + anti-spam + user behavior modiﬁcation + rich proﬁles = #winning• Someone ﬁgures out meta-search• Unlocking real names on dating sites?
Startup Consulting• Experience working with everyone from scrappy dating startups to the Top 10• Dating Site Startup Bootcamp• Investing, M&A• Short/long consulting engagements of all kinds• Let’s talk