Match.com is a disappointment, but, yep they do deserve the payout.
I signed up for OKCupid when it launched to have a play - people are more and more using it as a light hearted social network for chatting to random people. I use it quite a lot when bored and fancy chatting to someone new. I did also meet my current gf via them, but that was unintentional; when the actual point of the site is secondary to your use of it I think that is a runaway success...
 pun only slightly intended ;)
 sorry... :P
Imagine a dating site that you book the date through and only pay for that date. Hmmm.
Maybe jump on to the entire group buying bandwagon and find restaurants that may be willing to give you a discount that you can also pass on to the dating couple.
I think the idea we threw around (it might even have been here on HN) was a sort of clever matched blind date (to avoid the problem of people just bypassing the system :D) rather than a "normal" dating site.
There are privacy/stalker and scale concerns there though.
Certainly worth exploring.
As hackers we're always coming up with new ideas for dating sites like these. They frequently fail though, mostly due to the inability to pull in a large enough number of users. I've been hired to work on dating sites before, they've all failed due to lack of users. I'm now quite wary of working with anybody who has an idea for the next big dating site. I have ideas of my own, but not confident ones I'd actually risk spending time/money on.
Apparently, they have a decent base in NY, but currently their Midwest member-base is limited.
On the plus side, there will soon be a hole in the market for someone making another non-match dating site.
In my mind, this is like if Priceline/Orbitz/Travelocity bought Hipmunk. The first thing they'd do is 'fix' the UI, then they'd add a ton more ads, 20 more steps to buying tickets, remind you that you can get a hotel/car/haircut/fries with that and get a cheesy salesman to parade it on TV. Then, I'd stop using it.
That is, I don't think your complaints (or mine) will ever be resolved. For every person complaining about user-hostile site design, there are three calling it good business sense.
OKC jumped the shark?
"We know that many people who start out on advertising-based sites ultimately develop an appetite for the broader feature set and more committed community, which subscription sites like Match.com and Chemistry.com offer, creating a true complimentary relationship between our various business models. 2010 saw record growth both for Match and OkCupid, and we believe coordinating the adjacent business models will help fuel continued growth for both. This acquisition therefore goes a long way toward our objectives of bringing new people into the online dating world, offering the ability to meet in whatever type of online setting, and at whatever commitment level, our members desire, and facilitating a seamless evolution of the online dating experience without ever having to leave our portfolio of sites."
Members of OkCupid, get ready to be upsold.
I expect Match.com results to be injected into OKC's results as the first implementation of upselling...
Where did the fantastic "Why You Should Never Pay For Online Dating" article from OkTrends go?
A great exit, however. Congratulations to the team.
The original link now redirects to the front page of the blog: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/why-you-should-never-pay-f...
Here's a Google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:9OtAvuo...
This is the kind of thing that worries me about publishing on the Internet — in print, everyone who had a copy of the article previously would still have it. Pulled from the blog, it's just... gone.
Match.com just shelled out $50 million for New York's homegrown dating site OKCupid, the dating site known for being free, giving its users quizzes, and turning those surveys into fascinating plunges into the human psyche at the OKTrends blog.
The press release indicates that OKCupid will not be shut down and its users siphoned into one of Match.com's subscription-based dating sites. OKCupid cofounder Sam Yagan will head up the company's New York office and continue to run the company's day-to-day operations. "We are excited to join forces with Match because it is clear that no company is more committed to helping people find relationships," he said. "This marriage offers us the best of both worlds: the autonomy to continue pursuing OkCupid's original vision and the ability to leverage Match's reach and expertise to grow even faster."
Match.com and OKCupid are now owned by New York's IAC, which operates some of the best-known properties on the web.
There's already speculation that OKCupid will lose some of its fun hipster personality. Already a blog post titled, "Why You Should Never Pay for Online Dating," has been removed.
An excerpt from that post:
Today I'd like to show why the practice of paying for dates on sites like Match.com and eHarmony is fundamentally broken, and broken in ways that most people don't realize.
For one thing, their business model exacerbates a problem found on every dating site:
Women get too many bad matches
Men get far too few replies
For another thing, as I'll explain, pay sites have a unique incentive to profit from their customers' disappointment.
As a founder of OkCupid I'm of course motivated to point out our competitors' flaws. So take what I have to say today with a grain of salt. But I intend to show, just by doing some simple calculations, that pay dating is a bad idea; actually, I won't be showing this so much as the pay sites themselves, because most of the data I'll use is from Match and eHarmony's own public statements. I'll list my sources at the bottom of the post, in case you want to check.
It turns out you are 12.4 times more likely to get married this year if you don't subscribe to Match.com.
So next time you hear Match or eHarmony talking about how huge they are, you should do like I do and think of Goliath-and how he probably bragged all the time about how much he could bench. Then you should go sign up for OkCupid.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries
One property is threatening the business model of another in a visible way (at least in search engine rankings). I propose that the readership of OkTrends is minimal compared to the wider online dating market, so was this the prudent course of action?
So, what should IAC/Match.com/whoever have done in this situation? Leave it the heck alone! First of all, by owning two of the biggest players in online dating, customer acquisition is basically a zero-sum game as far as IAC is concerned- presumably, any customers lost to Match.com from OKCupid's blog post would end up going with OKCupid instead, and therefore either way IAC wins, so what does it matter? Of course, this assumes that an OKCupid customer is of equal value as a Match.com customer, which may or may not be true.
Secondly, it's important for IAC/Match.com to keep in mind larger question of why they felt like it was worthwhile to own OKCupid in the first place. Presumably, they wanted to own it because it targeted a different customer population than their other properties; part of the reason that it does so is because of its quirky, "edgy", and open image. It's 2011; people notice when companies take down influential and well-known blog posts, and their opinions of these companies change accordingly. Ergo, by pulling these sorts of shenanigans, IAC or Match.com is potentially undermining the very thing that made OKCupid attractive to them.
I suppose one could try and do some sort of calculation:
X = # customers lost to Match.com as a result of OKCupid's "don't pay for online dating" post;
Y = # customers alienated, amount of bad publicity, internal drama at OKCupid, bad karma, etc. resulting from taking down a well-known (and accurate) blog post
Is X > Y? Mazel tov, take down the post. Is Y > X? Leave it alone; monkeying with it will do more harm than good.
Note that this sort of calculation is essentially impossible to do in a principled way; as such, it seems to me that the sensible course would have been to just leave it alone and focus on making better products.
But what do I know? I'm just a informatics nerd, not a business expert, so maybe there's more to the situation than I'm seeing.
I have to wonder whether this deal is related to the "should I sell to these guys?" question last week.
To be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing that line disappear altogether, as it always struck me as being in somewhat poor taste.
And it may rotate now, but it didn't used to, years ago. I distinctly remember it saying Match.com and nothing else.
1. Even though they didn't buy you for your technology or your human capital, they will tell you they did.
2. They'll tell you that they bought you because they never could have accomplished what you did, because of your talented personnel and unique culture, which they plan to carefully preserve and benefit from.
3. Then they will deprecate your technology, drive away your best people, and force you to work just like they do.
4. When the shit hits the fan, the product declines, and you can't even get small releases out the door, you'll think, "Aha, now at least we will get our 'told you so' moment, when they finally realize what they've done." But they knew all along what they were doing. They wanted your customers, they got them, and they don't feel any sense of loss at what they destroyed.
I do agree with those saying that this might be the best way for the OKC developers to cash out and get paid for their work. Perhaps it was inevitable.
For users of Match, the best outcome from this deal would be for Match to replace their whole engine with that of OKC. I doubt that will happen though.
For users of OKC, the worst outcome from this deal would be to be forcibly migrated to Match (as yahoo personals users were - which is what I think is most likely to happen here) and get buried in the far less interesting personal ads and less fun community of Match.
IAC will just leave it as is.
This revelation actually gives me a lot of faith in rdouble's prediction that "IAC will just leave it as is."
As a user, I almost feel betrayed that they sold out to match.com.
Edit PS: Not betrayed because they sold out, but who they sold out to. I would have cheered an acquisition from a non competitor (ie like amazon as mentioned previously).
Congrats to the team, but I find this quite disappointing.
Congratulations to the team! I hope the guys at IAC won't destroy the brand/product though... I hope their blog OkTrends will continue to publish fascinating articles too, it would be a great loss.
I think OkCupid is a strong brand and it'd be more valuable to keep not steam roll it into another one.
I don't think you intended this as a backhanded compliment, but it riles me up to see levitt mentioned as anything other than a pop Econ sellout. Reading anything by either Levitt or Krugman is guaranteed to enrage me. You know they can do better, but they traded rigor for money and fame.
This is a relatively uncommon viewpoint. I thank you for sharing it. One should automatically suspect the popular interpreters of any field of trading "rigor for money and fame." If you have any blog posts on this subject, I'd be curious for the URLs. The Freakonomics guys have a bit of popular recognition which could be leveraged for marketing an OkCupid book. That said, it's likely that OkCupid has enough popular recognition to leverage for book sales on its own.
Detailed discussion of blatant, blatant errors on their article refuting climate change. Makes you wonder if they knew their contrarian position was weak, and still put it in the book for controversy and the headlines it brings.
If you don't want IAC to have all your personal data, you should do this now before they merge systems.
I'm still holding out for a hackernews, quora, flickr, github, bay area riders forum, scubaboard, highroad, make, seasteading, xkcd, combination dating site.
I'm 29, met my (now) wife on match.com* 6 years ago.
At least here in flyover country, OKCupid didn't really have much of a deep pool in 2004-2005. I gave it a try but found it primarily populated by 19 year old kids. However, today everybody I know who is "in the market" simply defaults to OKCupid and doesn't even contemplate going anywhere else.
* I messaged a woman during a free trial period match.com was offering, we met for dinner, and we were married 3 years later. I mailed her with a coded email address in the message so she didn't need to pay to reply. match.com did not see a red cent from either of us.
I am hoping things remain split as they are or as other have mentioned, match gets a boost in its technology. Anyone that has used both knows that match seems to be far behind on the times. Their features are crap, platform crap and overall design is ugly. I often found myself thinking how I could replicate the site (design wise) in a night with all the boiler plate code I have. I am not optimistic, but hopefully something good will come out of it for match.
Congrats to the okcupid team. Great work.
I doubt I would have met her on match.com.
There are several new hot free online dating sites started every year, mine is still running but after stopping my advertising campaigns it has languished.
If you’re still interested in doing a free online dating site then more power to you and I hope you have better luck than I did.
However, if you've got some kind of unique angle (like Set For Marriage's focus on marriage-minded people or Ashley Madison's controversial focus on facilitating adultery) or some kind of newsworthy technology it's not really that hard to line up interviews with local news stations and blogs (the founder of Set For Marriage was interviewed by something like 15 local news stations around the US from a single press release and some nudging). Going to online dating conferences can also be very good too, as many of the people in the industry are very willing to help out serious and interesting newcomers.
There's definitely a challenge in building traffic though. AdWords and SEO for dating terms are very competitive, and affiliate traffic can be very scammer-heavy. CloudFlare, some decent flagging algorithms, and OCD developers who check for spam accounts multiple times a day can help out tremendously with this, and we've given one nice woman a lifetime premium account for reporting a ton of suspicious accounts to us.
Maybe one will even go through YCombinator. pg and crew have said they see that as an area they'd fund:
8. Dating. Current dating sites are not the last word. Better ones will appear. But anyone who wants to start a dating startup has to answer two questions: in addition to the usual question about how you're going to approach dating differently, you have to answer the even more important question of how to overcome the huge chicken and egg problem every dating site faces. A site like Reddit is interesting when there are only 20 users. But no one wants to use a dating site with only 20 users—which of course becomes a self-perpetuating problem. So if you want to do a dating startup, don't focus on the novel take on dating that you're going to offer. That's the easy half. Focus on novel ways to get around the chicken and egg problem.
The real problem for me was: when you stop advertising, the traffic is fading off.
There is some kind of secret how Plenty of Fish or OkCupid are getting visitors without advertisement.
if i were to suddenly have more free time, i'd probably give it a shot, myself.
Now, granted, EP is a controversial science, and I'm not sure that those guys are spot-on about everything... but I strongly believe that the ideas coming out of that world do reflect some underlying truths about our world. If that's true, then my questions would be "how do you build a dating site that's optimized for both men and women? Or can you? And if you can't, which do you optimize for? Or does that even make sense?"
its also hard to tell if free sites have come to a weird nash equilibrium, or if their current state is actually optimal and the "best" way to do online dating just sucks. would something more fundamentally different be less successful despite being proven more effective simply because of how it works?
Brings back somewhat rueful memories of spending too much time browsing around sites like Match.com (meh) and eHarmony (zero. matches. ever.) Wasted several years and hundreds of dollars.
Met my fiancee on OkCupid. :)
$50M also seems like a low exit for one of the most successful, and probably the most sophisticated, dating site on the internet.
Definitely makes me wonder if the dating space has much money left in it.