Jan. 29th, 2007

Dating sites cross the chasm. Older dates lead Match.com subscription growth.

"After years of losing subscribers to racier rivals and new social-networking sites geared to young singles, Match has become the largest online dating site in the U.S. by subscriptions, with 1.3 million members. One big reason: older daters like Mrs. Williams."  writes Sarah Silver in Saturday’s Journal.

Choice points include:

  • [Owner IAC’s Barry] Diller says he is looking at investing in other sites that cater to the over 50s segment online. "There is no question that they are, in size and spending, a very rich vein of opportunity," he said.
  • Older daters "spend more money per month and are more likely to subscribe for a longer period,"… At Match, 23% of subscribers are over 50, more than double the number two years ago.
  • Looking for love online is well on its way to becoming mainstream. A 2005 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that 15% of American adults, or 30 million people, know someone who had a long-term relationship with or married someone they met online, and 31%, or 63 million, know someone who has used an online dating service.
  • Active online daters…  act as a magnet for other daters, making it easier for Match to attract even more subscribers in those areas… older daters [are] more likely to pay to subscribe than the younger daters. Fascinated by that realization, [Match CEO] Jim Safka asked his staff to check the behavior of older daters on the site and to pinpoint their difficulties in using it. For example, many were stopped cold while filling out their online profile by the fourth question, which asked their views on body art and piercings.

Read the full article here. Wall Street Journal Online. Subscription may be required.

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