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but if what's different about your product is an algorithm change on match.com you still need everything else match.com has to prove the benefit of your algorithm

If what's different about your product is a minor tweak on an existing giant, then you have bigger problems.

Even if you are trying to beat an incumbent, you probably don't need everything they have. If there is a true unmet need in some audience, then they will be willing to put up with quite a number of missing features because you are solving their problem better than the incumbent.

Or if you're really just trying to test the hypothesis, you can cheat. Proxy all of match.com and just insert your own rankings and logo. Or just sell it honestly as something that helps you find the best people on match.com. If people buy it, then you know you've got something. If not, then you have learned that nobody cares enough for you to go build match.com.

Well, then you have a problem. I would think very long and hard before starting something that depends on people finding out the difference and caring enough to go with an unknown alternative. And if you are successful there is not much to stop match.com from adjusting as well.

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