Match and onlin dating
Match Group is the conglomerate parent to 40-plus brands in more than 42 languages, including Match.com, the granddaddy of the industry most popular with 30- to 50-year-old relationship-seekers; Ok Cupid, which took hold among urban hipsters by asking daters to answer a list of quirky ice-breaker questions (“Would you ever sleep with a serial killer? The company’s biggest competitors include e Harmony, known for its ads featuring founder Neil Clark Warren and its focus on long-term relationships; Spark Networks, the 5 million publicly traded (ticker symbol: LOV) parent of Jdate, Christian Mingle, and others; Badoo, which claims 380 million users worldwide but is used primarily overseas; and Bumble, the fast-growing upstart created in 2014, which allows only women, not men, to initiate contact.
For those singles who want something a bit more, well, specific, there are hundreds of other special-interest sites, from Farmers to Gluten Free Singles to Clown (slogan: “Everybody loves a clown … I’ve been an on-again, off-again user of online dating sites over the years.
One day in early May, IAC CEO Joey Levin sat in a conference room at the company’s Frank Gehry–designed headquarters in Manhattan, along with Barry Diller, IAC’s founder and chairman, and a few others. Levin turned to the huge screen in the room that displays the tickers of IAC and Match Group, the online dating conglomerate it spun off in 2015, where shares of both companies were already dropping.
The group was listening to one of their colleagues present a routine strategic plan when the executive happened to mention something about an ad-supported business. “My phone starts lighting up with texts, and each time I’m getting a text, the stock drops another 5%,” Levin recalls.
In addition to a huge and largely untapped market, the industry has strong tailwinds, including increasing millennial spending power, longer work hours, and young people delaying marriage.
Tinder “gamified” dating, and it took off , especially among college students and millennials.In the past few months alone, Match Group, the billion parent of Match.com, Ok Cupid, Tinder, and Plenty of Fish, among many others, filed a lawsuit against its white-hot startup challenger, Bumble, for patent infringement and stealing trade secrets.Bumble published an acerbic letter in response and filed its own countersuit.This is on top of the already fraught history between the two companies: Bumble’s founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, was a Tinder cofounder who sued for sexual harassment after being forced out, won a settlement, and a few months later started the competitor.After all of this fracas, the Facebook news was, at least, professional, complete with courtesy call.
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But Zuckerberg’s announcement marks a major turning point for the industry—and perhaps most significantly, for market leader Match Group.