OPW INTERVIEW -- June 8, 2007 -- Match.com continues to go from strength to strength. Here’s a summary of key financials from the last three years.xls. Here’s my interview with the new CEO, Thomas Enraght-Moony. - Mark Brooks
The new Chemistry.com TV ad campaign is the most competitively aggressive campaign I’ve ever seen in the online dating industry. Why are you gunning for eHarmony?
Oh I wouldn’t say that Mark. It’s a lighthearted playful campaign based on factual statements that pokes a little fun at our competitors. But I think the broader point is that Chemistry is a product that is built on a value proposition that we call ‘Come as you are.’
The nature of relationships in 21st Century America is changing and we don’t think it’s for us to prescribe to somebody what the right kind of relationship is. We think it’s up to the person looking for a relationship to define what success means for them and that’s one of the underlying philosophical basis’ on which we built Chemistry. We’re very pleased with the results so far.
Earlier this year you introduced a pilot platinum program out of Dallas. How is the Match Platinum program going for you?
We’re very pleased with the early results and we’ve seen good response to this product. One of the things that is tremendously exciting for us is the insight and information that it gives us into our customers. Having someone from Match who is in daily contact with people seeking a relationship is a little different than what we’ve ever had with the online side of the business. So we’re really pleased with the early results and it’s a great source of customer information too.
What major hurdles do you think Match.com, and the market as a whole, will need to go through as you work towards building Match.com into a billion dollar a year company?
When I think about taking Match to being a billion dollar business, I think about doing it in two ways. The first way is we’re going to execute on our current strategy of product innovation based on customer insights. So whether it’s a service like MatchTalk that we added last year, the Dr. Phil Mind Find Bind program, our platinum pilot, and Chemistry.com, these are all products that are driven by profound customer insight and which are aimed to help us further penetrate the category in the United States. There are over 92 million single people in the US and about 3 million or fewer are paying for some kind of online dating service. I think there’s a tremendous amount of runway ahead of us here in the US market.
The second area of growth is in the international markets. The recent acquisition of eDodo in China and Net Club in France are examples of how we’re expanding internationally. We’ve got tremendous traction in all of the other countries that we are in as well.
Do you see social networks as posing a threat or offering an opportunity? And how would you say the online dating and social networking industries might be able to work with each other?
I see the social networks as offering a real opportunity for Match. They bring more people online; they get more people to engage online. They get people comfortable with online. And what we know from our research is that social networks are a tremendous way for people to keep in contact with people they already know. There are huge benefits to being on the social networks. But what we also know at Match is that our only focus is on helping someone find a relationship. We created this industry when we launched Match in 1995 and we give customers the best opportunity to find a relationship that they’re looking for. From the upfront screening that we do with profiles to make sure that the people on Match are real to our advanced matching algorithms. Everyone in this building that comes to work every day is focused on nothing but helping people find the relationship they’re looking for. Match is complimentary to social networks. Social networks are a fast growing acquisition channels for us.
What’s your primary measurement of success right now?
When I talk about how do you get this to be a billion dollar company, it’s about driving more people into the category. That’s the primary metric that I look at for long term success of the business: Are we bringing enough new people into the market with innovative products and services? That’s how I measure our success.