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Spark Networks Archive
At the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC, I sat down with Spark Networks President and COO Gregory Liberman. We discussed the 30+ dating sites that make up Spark Networks. Here are my notes from our conversation which centered mostly around Jdate.
Spark Networks has 30+ dating sites and most of them are targeted towards a group. Gregory notes that people who are looking for serious relationships are seeking targeted networks. The three largest dating sites in their network are Jdate, BlackSingles and ChristianMingle. They believe that they are different because of the targeting, most of their competition tries to be all things to all people.
Spark Networks runs over 800 singles events a year. Revenue comes from subscriptions and advertising. Jdate subscriptions begin at $39/month and for those browsing the site, advertising is displayed. Gregory noted that ads are displayed to subscribers as well but said "most" of these ads are house ads promoting events and other services. I wonder if any Web 2.0 startups could get away with charging a subscription fee and displaying any advertising at all.
As for success rates, 60 Jdate subscribers a day report back to Spark Networks that they found their soulmate on Jdate.
I asked about comparisons to PlentyOfFish and eHarmony. Gregory said that PlentyOfFish actually drives traffic to sites in his network because of the ad model they employ. As for eHarmony, Gregory believes not everyone wants to fill out a 350 question survey. Jdate allows members to search and utilizes a basic survey to help align members.
In terms of what’s new on their network of sites, Gregory shared two new premium features. The first is an option to highlight your profile in search results. This works similar to highlighting an auction on eBay or a job listing on Indeed. The other update is featured profile. This allows members to push their profile to people they want to meet on search results. Let’s assume you are looking for a 30 year old woman with 2 children but she is looking for a 20 year old man with no children. Using this new option, you could force your profile into her search results basically saying "hey look at me, I want you!". On Jdate, this feature is $10/month.
The online singles market continues to be a huge moneymaker for Spark Networks and the other sites in the market. As long as people want to find that special someone, there will always be someone willing to pay to find that person.