Consultant online dating
The largest player in the field is the Match Group, with 51 dating sites; over the last few years alone it acquired such high-profile companies as Tinder and Plenty of Fish.“It’s never been cheaper to start a dating site and never been more expensive to grow one,” said Mark Brooks, a consultant for the internet dating industry who also runs Online Personals Watch.
Part of the problem, he said, is that 70 percent of internet dating in the United States is now on mobile.“It used to be 10 percent of those who registered converted to paid,” Mr. “Now it’s more like 2 to 3 percent.”Advertising can be tough to get, said Tom Homer, editor of the website Dating Sites Reviews, and on a mobile device it does not pay much because there is less real estate available than on regular websites.
Artificial intelligence, by pulling from a variety of places — say, a user’s Goodreads list or Instagram or list of charity donations — could more effectively match people than relying simply on a person’s own profile or questionnaire, he said.
Spark Networks, of course, already offers niche products, but Lisa Mc Lafferty, Spark’s new chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer at Peak6, says its aim is now to “refresh the brand.”“Over the last few rounds of management, the brand got a little lost,” she said.
But Brad Goldberg, president of Peak6 and Spark’s new board director as of August, said that through modernizing the company’s technology and focusing on how to effectively market its two best known sites — JDate and Christian Mingle — the company will adapt and “take advantage of the changing industry landscape.”JDate was created in 1997 in a West Los Angeles condominium; Christian Mingle was added in 2001.
Rather, he said, online dating will expand to encompass more and more categories of people.
The wave of the future for online and mobile dating, he predicts, is the growing use of artificial intelligence and better data science.
Some of the difference, of course, is generational.
Younger people are more likely to be interested in casual dating and more likely to use mobile devices for dating, the IBISWorld report states. Goldberg, the Peak6 president, sees it, now “there is growing frustration as people tire of swipe-based apps.” He added, “Consumers want companionship and deeper interactions, and the industry will have to adapt.”Some also see a move toward ever more niche sites like Mouse (Disney lovers) and Gluten Free (the name says it all).
Spark Networks (which trades under the ticker symbol LOV) eventually grew to about 30 dating sites, but the crown jewel has always been JDate. Goldberg estimates that 70 percent of the Jews of dating age in the United States have had some contact with JDate or JSwipe, with about one million registered users.“We’re unambiguously touching a greater percentage of the Jewish population than ever before,” he said.