OPW INTERVIEW -- Sep 28, 2007 -- The Matchmakers Conference is happening right now. I interviewed Paul last August 2006. Here's my second interview with Paul Falzone of The Right One/Together Dating. - Mark Brooks
How quickly has The Right One/Together Dating been growing, and how does your growth compare to other matchmaking companies?
Over the last three years, our growth rate has been about 130%. We recently have been named to the Inc. 5000. Regionally, we’re the 31st fastest-growing, privately-owned company in the Boston area, according to the Boston Business Journal.
The industry, as a whole, is growing somewhat. Some internet dating services are shrinking and some are experiencing growth, but I don’t think anybody has had the exponential growth that we’ve been achieving. Quite frankly, our marketing is a key part of that and we’re constantly focused on new marketing ideas. We have a lot of internet marketing campaigns that have been giving us great multiple returns on our investment. I don’t know if a lot of the other matchmaking companies are as savvy or have the resources to be able to play in those fields.
What does The Right One/Together Dating do differently?
We have WIT and that’s the attitude we all need to keep. It’s called Whatever It Takes. All my people have it and it’s important that we do. We give great personal service. We keep our lines of communication open between our matchmakers and our members. It’s so important to hear what your members need and want and we’re constantly refining our membership, as a result of that. We want to make sure that the members are getting a great experience at any of our offices.
In how many cities is The Right One/Together Dating?
We’re in approximately 60 cities nationwide. There certainly are different markets that have their challenges, but we’ve had great success over the last few years and we’re continuing it. We just did our first and second quarter numbers and they’re tracking very closely to last year. Maintaining the growth and the margins that we’ve had is a goal of ours and achieving that goal is important to us.
How come other internet dating companies haven’t tried to launch matchmaking companies?
They have and they found out it’s not that easy to do. Even Match.com is trying to do it these days and I don’t know how successful it is. I haven’t heard a whole lot from them about their matchmaking company. Maybe it’s just my personal opinion, but if you’re not hearing a lot about it, I don’t know how successful it really is. You would think that if it was really successful for them, they would be beating the drums a lot more. I think it’s a very, very difficult area for people who aren’t used to matchmaking to jump into. It’s a totally different type of business model and once they start getting involved with it they realize, “Wow, this is so much different than just getting costs per clicks and my numbers up.” There’s a lot to making sure these people are very happy and achieving the success that they’re looking for.
What can other internet dating companies do to partner with The Right One/Together Dating?
We are more than willing to partner with dating sites for lead generation and we have partnered with a few companies. It just has to be a win-win situation for both companies. It’s as important that the internet companies are successful partnering with us as we are with them. We’ve recently been doing some things with a company called Loveaccess, which has proven to be very significant and has worked out well for us.
I understand you’ve been doing some lead generation. How has that been working out?
We have. We’ve partnered up with a few other people out there to do lead generation and, quite frankly, it’s done really well. We’re watching which online companies are giving us the best lead generation and will focus more on the better ones and hope to form tighter relationships with them. We’re looking at bringing some of these companies under our wing and building out a larger, better Right One/Together and eLove.
eLove, by the way, is our hybrid. It contains a physical location component where you go in and spend approximately 90 minutes with a trained matchmaking counselor. We check criminal background records and divorce decrees on everybody. Once everything has been okayed and the individuals decide to join, they are put into the system and given a password. They then go into the site themselves, enter their criteria, and find their match. It’s a hybrid of online and offline services and it’s one of the first of its kind.
What are your goals for The Right One/Together Dating for 2007 through 2008?
Over the next 12-18 months, we’re in an acquisition mode. We’re talking seriously to an online company right now about bringing them under our wing. We’re also looking at expanding our offline exposure and we’ve got another company that we’re serious about partnering up with along those lines, as well.
In the next 6-12 months, I think you’re going to see a couple of mergers coming through that will bring our already-strong numbers up exponentially. I just want to look and take the best of the best that’s out there and build a bigger and better company.