COURTLAND BROOKS - Feb 20 - Human beings are a diverse group. Sometimes I wonder how the dating industry can ever manage the sheer diversity and range of groups. This video about groups in Denmark is quite though provoking. At the end of the day, even people from the extremes usually have something considerable in common.
OPW - Feb 17 - Liftoff.io works with a lot of dating apps and has some unique insight. This infographic has some stellar info. Here's a summary of some of the most notable dating app marketing intelligence they've gathered.
North America - CPI is $6.06 and $9.21 per registrant. Subscribers payout $109.61
Europe - CPI is $2.44 and $3.11 per registrant. Subscribers payout a whopping $317.90
Asia - CPI is $3.10 and $2.91 per registrant. Huh!? I'll inquire why the regsitrant cost is lower than the CPI and let you know the answer in the comments. Subscribers payout $148.49 apparently.
Women cost more than guys to find, but they spend more. $251.12 for women on average, vs $228.55 for men. Do these numbers look a tad high to you? Please let me know your questions in the comments and I'll try and line up an interview with someone at Liftoff.io and ask your questions to them.
COURTLAND BROOKS - Feb 9 - I interviewed the author of a book that is out in a couple more weeks on Feb 28th. I've reviewed the book and it's a good read for internet dating site marketeers and designers. Here's my interview with Darren Bridger.
You can pre-order his book here.
1. TINDER - 122 posts on OPW (in 2016)
And Tinder is the winner again, it's safe to say, not just on OPW but in general when it comes to press coverage. Again, some negative news were covered during the year, i.e. they were sued over the "Super Like" feature, experienced a global outage in November, also the lawsuit against 3nder got some quite negative mentions. But overall, Tinder did well in the press. A few more examples: they bought contact management startup Humin in March, launched Tinder Social, first in Australia in April, than worldwide in July, invested in Hey! Vina app in September, launched "Tinder Boost" feature first in Australia in September and a month later worldwide, and Tinder was recognized as the strongest part of Match Group. Tinder also lost Sean Rad as CEO again last year, but on the other hand made some interesting hires - see the news here and here.
2. MATCH GROUP: 46 posts on OPW (last year, we didn't have separate categories for Match Group and Match.com yet, and Match got 70 press hits that made OPW. Match.com got just 26 in 2016!).
Also Match Group got good and bad press coverage during last year. Financial results got a lot of coverage last year, and were analyzed by multiple experts, along with predictions for Match Group's future. Mandy Ginsberg returned to Match as CEO of Match US, and safety concerns were discussed on multiple occasions, Match Group got sued by their investors, and launched their Fresh app in June. Some major stock sales and changes in company management were also covered, i.e. the company got new CEOs for OkCupid and Twoo, but also lost some people, i.e. their CFO of Dating.
3. eHARMONY - 32 posts on OPW
eHarmony's news coverage was positive overall during last year. The company finally launched Elevated Careers. eHarmony's founder Dr. Warren stepped down and Grant Langston became new CEO and this change got a a lot of mentions in the press, along with numerous interviews with the new CEO talking about what's next for eHarmony. On the other hand eHarmony lost it's COO, Armen Avedissian in August. Eventually, in December, big changes were announced.
Joint 4. and 5. BUMBLE and GRINDR - 29 posts on OPW
We ran 29 posts each about Bumble and Grindr, so they share the 4th and 5th place. Bumble had more actual news to share though, as it seems. See the following overviews:
Started the year with the news about an uncomfortable glitch in the app, but that's basically the only really negative news about the app we intercepted. Bumble launched BFF feature in March, the same month the news came out that 79% of Bumble is actually owned by Badoo. Bumble formed a partnership with Spotify in June, introduced BumbleBizz in July, and paid features in August, followed by photo verification feature in September, and eventually invested in gay dating Chappy in December. Busy year!
Got $93M investment in exchange for majority ownership from Kunlun in January, but was criticized for security issues, then added fields for HIV status in the profiles in November, and that's just a few of last year's Grindr news.
6. HAPPN - 21 posts on OPW
Happn got positive overall press coverage in 2016. Happn reached 10M users & added voice feature in January, then hired Serge Gojkovich as new their US C.M.O. in March. They launched the "See You There" Feature and launched in India in May. Happn wasn't so frequently seen in the news in the second half of the year though.
7. SPARK NETWORKS - 20 posts on OPW
Spark Networks appeared in the news more often than in previous years. Various stock deals were covered. Crosspaths launched on Android in June, ChristianMingle partnered with 15 new churches in August, and Spark got $7.8M of new funding from PEAK8 and that meant major changes in company management. However, a lot of news hits were quite negative, saying that the company was in trouble, there were layoffs & no more TV ads in order to save money, and JDate closed it's office in Israel. The company was hit by a discrimination lawsuit but they eventually agreed to allow gay users to search for the same sex partners and the lawsuit was settled.
8. ASHLEY MADISON - 18 posts on OPW
After a terrible news year in 2015 that actually continued through the beginning of 2016 as well (the hack, using spam bots, lack of security, additional lawsuits) AshleyMadison went quite quiet. There wasn't much press coverage in the first half of 2016. That all changed in July, when the company once again appeared all over the press, with news that they hired Rob Segal to be it's new CEO and AM parent company rebranded as Ruby Life. The new management says the company will do better in the future, especially when it comes to privacy. Also, there's no more fem bots and despite all the problems, AM is actually doing quite well. The latest news said that AM settled with FTC and agreed to pay a reduced fine.
9. HINGE - 17 posts on OPW
Hinge got heavy press coverage mostly thanks to the launch of an entirely new version of the app, focused on serious relationships. The new service was meant to be all paid, but after only a month Hinge returned to the freemium model.
10. OKCUPID - 16 posts on OPW
OkCupid got 16 mentions on OPW last year, but only a few were actual news about the dating site - here are some of them: in Jan they launched a feature for the polyamorous, got a new CEO in May. No new posts about OkCupid on OPW since July though.
Some other companies, that deserve a mention for sharing some big news with us are MeetMe, a public company that acquired Skout last year and is doing very well since the deal, Paktor and Hornet, two companies that managed to raise substantial amounts of money in 2016. DateTix bought Lovestruck in July, Noonswoon in November and also managed to raise $1.75M in December. Parship and ElitePartner were sold again, this time to ProSiebenSat1, in September.
Meanwhile, analyst and OPW co-editor Mark Brooks got 16 press quotes, including in the New York Times about changes to the dating industry. We track all this stuff, so you don't have to. If you'd like to add Courtland Brooks to your marketing and PR team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Tags: ashley madison, bumble, christian mingle, datetix, eharmony, elitesingles, greg blatt, grindr, hinge, hornet, jdate, lovestruck, mark brooks, match group, meetme, noonswoon, paktor, parship, rob segal, ruby life, sean rad, skout, spark networks, tinder
COURTLAND BROOKS - Jan 10 - Each year we rank the top reporters who reported on the Internet dating industry and made the cut on OPW. We only list the news that is of most importance to the dating industry executive. i.e. news that has strategically inspirational or sensitive coverage. Here's our Online Personals Watch Internet dating top ten reporters list for 2016.
Nathan McAlone (see story summaries), Business Insider
Nathan joined Business Insider in 2015 as an Editorial Intern and later Tech Reporter, he's an Associate Tech Editor now. He focuses on the future of entertainment and media, apps and startups generally. He wrote about various dating apps, mostly about Tinder and Hinge last year and we used 7 of his articles on OPW. He also wrote about the dating industry even more than in 2015, which gets him in at second place.
Fitz Tepper (see story summaries), Tech Crunch
Another Tech Crunch writer on the top ten list. Fitz joined TechCrunch in 2015 and writes about a wide range of topics, including i.e. hardware, payments, social apps, legislation and more. He wrote about Bumble a lot last year and we used 6 of his articles.
Sam Shead (see story summaries), Business Insider
Sam's located in the UK and covers mostly European news. He first appeared on this list last year. He writes about startups, venture capital, artificial intelligence and the sharing economy and more. This time, he wrote i.e. about DatePlay, Happn or Inner Circle. We used 5 of his articles, that means joint fourth / fifth place with the next name on this list, but we used almost all his coverage of the dating industry on OPW.
Quentin Fottrell (see story summaries), MarketWatch
The third year in a row on our top 10 list! Quentin writes about personal finance, news and lifestyle. He did two big interviews with Grant Langston, the new CEO of eHarmony last year. We summarized 5 of his stories on OPW last year.
James Cook (see story summaries), Business Insider
Another European BI tech writer. James wrote multiple articles about internet dating companies and we used 4 of them on OPW. That's a joint 6-8 place along with the following two writers.
Steve O'Hear (see story summaries), Tech Crunch
One more TC author made it to this list. He focuses on European startups, companies and products. Last year, he wrote about the Badoo / Lulu deal, amongst other topics. And we also used 4 of his articles on OPW.
Paresh Dave (see story summaries), LA Times
Covers the California technology sector with a focus on L.A. startups for the L.A. Times. We used 4 of his articles on OPW during 2016. He wrote about Grindr, Three Day Rule, Tinder and eHarmony.
Caitlin Dewey (see story summaries), Washington Post
Caitlin also appeared on this list for the last 2 years and writes "about internet (and a variety of other things)" in her own words (source: LinkedIn profile). She wrote a number of (internet) dating related articles in 2016, for example about Ashley Madison or Zoosk.
Georgia Wells (see story summaries), Wall Street Journal
And yet another name that is not new on this list, she appeared on it last year as well. She is a multimedia producer for The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco tech bureau. Wrote about Match Group a lot last year, for WSJ and MarketWatch.
Although many PR professionals might suggest that there is no 'beat' for Internet dating. Some reporters do actually cover it enough that they should be firmly on your radar. Here's our top ten. There's several hundred that we've been in contact with over the years. Often they only write once or twice about the Internet dating industry. But some reporters are quite consistently interested in dating.
COURTLAND BROOKS - Jan 7 - The Courtland Brooks niche agency-consultancy is 12 years old this month. It was started in January 2005 in a small office in New Paltz, New York. Now we're more international. We're the only consultancy in the world (that I know of) that is focused 100% on Internet dating. The Courtland Brooks team is comprised of 16 Internet dating specialists. Our skills range from business strategy, product design and competitive analysis to PR, marketing and social media.
Over the last 12 years we've advised and helped over 100 clients to grow and evolve to higher profitability, including PlentyofFish, Meetme, Friend.ly (sold to Facebook), White Label Dating, Social Discovery Ventures and Cupid. We're focused entirely on helping Internet dating, dating app and matchmaking companies with strategy, business development, marketing and media relations.
Also, as an analyst I've been quoted in major media on the business of Internet dating 252 times with Wall Street Journal top at 16 phone interviews and quotes. Here's the top ten.
In the last three years I took an executive MBA alternative at Harvard Business School and an Executive MSc at London School of Economics in Behavioral Science to 'tool-up.' The Courtland Brooks team are stronger than ever. Bring on the next 12 years!
OPW - Dec 22 - iDate Miami is happening January 25-26. Are you going? The top people in the dating business will be there. Marc tells me there's a great representation from senior management this year. That's good. So here's my top picks from the agenda. Here's the sessions I'll definitely be sitting in on and taking notes on.
So there we have it, and here's the agenda in full. Hope to see you there. This will be the 41st iDate that I'm speaking at! Prices go up December 23rd so best to pick up your tix now, so you can write them off in this tax year. ;-)
CB - Dec 18 - For 12 years the Courtland Brooks agency has been dedicated to you, serving up the daily news with Online Personals Watch, keynoting at 40+ iDate conferences, and we've assisted over 100 dating and matchmaking service clients to grow and prosper. For a list of our testimonials please see this link. Need some help? Please email me at email@example.com. We're here for you.