Male/Female Quantcast Ratios of Top Dating Properties

MalefemaleOPW -- Feb 26th -- Here are the male/female ratios, most popular age range, and proportion of visits from 'regulars' and 'addicts.' Ranking courtesy of Hitwise. Ratios, age range and addiction levels courtesy of Quantcast. '100' represents the 'internet average.'


1 Singlesnet 
Male 112, Female 88, age 45-54, 91% of visits from regulars and addicts LINK
2 Yahoo Personals
Male 114, Female 85, age 45-54, 78% regulars and addicts LINK 
3 TRUE
Male 116, Female 83, age 45-54, 77% regulars and addicts LINK 
4 Match
Male 100, Female 99, age 45-54, 94% regulars and addicts LINK
5 eHarmony
Male 73, Female 125, age 25-34 and 35-44, 95% regulars and addicts LINK 
6 Plentyoffish
Male 112, Female 87, age 45-54, 98% regulars and addicts LINK
7 Mate1
Male 97, Female 102, age 45-54, 74% regulars and addicts LINK
8 Blackpeoplemeet
Male 94, Female 105, age 35-44, 96% regulars and addicts LINK
9 Manhunt.net
Male 177, Female 24, age 35-44, 99% regulars and addicts LINK
10 Adam4Adam
Male 170, Female 31, age 35-44, 99% regulars and addicts LINK
11 American Singles
Male 120, Female 89, age 45-54, 82% regulars and addicts LINK
12 Gay.com
Male 171, Female 30, age 35-45, 96% regulars and addicts LINK
13 Hot or Not
Male 122, Female 78, age 18-24, 95% regulars and addicts LINK
14 MSN Match
Male 103, Female 97, age 45-54, 71% regulars and addicts LINK
15 Cupid
Male 110, Female 89, age 45-54, 95% regulars and addicts LINK

eHarmony clearly has more guys than girls. Given the raunchy TRUE advertising, one would expect a higher representation of males than the 116 scored here.  I think this is because TRUE is using their raunchy advertising in male oriented spots, and also, the edgy ads still manage to attract women.  American Singles scored higher with a 120 for males. The gay sites and PlentyofFish have the highest addiction levels. Yahoo Personals, TRUE, and Mate1 scored a little low for user engagement. All in the 74-78% range. - Mark Brooks

Internet Dating 2.0

LaptopTIME -- Jan 19 -- HonestyOnline takes the lie out of online. "It's an extra layer of protection to determine if a guy is Jack the Ripper with three wives," said William Bollinger, EVP National Background Data, a database used by HonestyOnline. At iDate 2007, vendors demonstrate ways to meet, court, virtual date and even marry without ever leaving home. OmniDate can place you in a virtual restaurant with an animated date. On Mobilove, I scrolled through profiles and sent text messages. Already 500,000 Americans have posted their pictures and mini profiles on their cell phones, and users are growing by 20% every month, according to Mobilove VP Nils Knagenhjelm. Thanks to Vumber you can get many numbers with only one phone. If the person dialing one of the numbers turns out to be a less than desirable caller, poof! the number disappears with a few keystrokes. "You can vanish without a trace," said Geoff Schneider, Vumber's EVP. Plenty of Fish, with 400,000 hits a day, was created by Markus Frind, who still runs it out of his apartment. He figured out people essentially exaggerate on profile answers. He follows a more sensible creed: actions speak louder than words. For example, Susie says she wants a solid, stable man who earns $100,000-plus but keeps clicking on profiles of muscle-bound bad boys. Plenty of Fish makes sure she meets plenty of underemployed weightlifters, and some of the stable ones she ignores. "People don't even realize we do this. They just know they are getting results," said Frind.  Chris Walker is experimenting with behavioral matchmaking. An early innovator, he started in the 1960s with punch card computer dating. After years of matching people, he now focuses on how people choose to spend their time. "The personal touch still blows away everything else out there," says Paul Falzone, CEO of The Right One and Together, an old-school matchmaking dating service.  FULL ARTICLE @ TIME

Modern Romance: Get Texted When Love is Near

Mobile_dating2CNN -- Nov 30 -- Online dating is so last year. Now, if you're thinking romance, look to your mobile phone.  Match-making companies are creating new services that allow people to post their dating profile online and then automatically receive a text message on a GPS-enabled phone when a match is nearby, say, at a coffee shop around the corner. Mobile dating is such a new trend that the size of its user base isn't even closely followed. In a survey of online dating users conducted by Jupiter Research, barely a fraction of them said they use mobile platforms in search of romance. But younger generations more comfortable with newer technologies could change how people connect. Three in four of them use text messaging (versus one in four adults) and nearly half of them use their phones to instant message. FULL ARTICLE @ CNN

Mark Brooks: Think long term, think mobile. Mobile dating will eventually produce more revenue than online dating. Who wants to sit in front of a desk while chatting up a potential date? Users want to be free, mobile, but hooked into the net. Mobile dating is far, far more compelling than internet dating. LBS + Phonecams + Palmtop computer phones (a la 'sidekick' or 'N95'). Which is why I created Mobile Dating Watch. Watch this space ;-)

This post appears on Mobile Dating Watch

The Strength of Weak Ties v2.0

Mobile_phonePHYSICS WEB -- Oct 31 -- If you and your best friend stop talking to each other after a massive row, you might think that would break up your entire social network. In fact, researchers studying the communication patterns of 4.6 million mobile-phone users suggest that your social circle is more likely to break up if you lose contact with more casual acquaintances. FULL ARTICLE @ PHYSICS WEB

Mobile Dating Sucks

Mobile_dating_1THE PARADIGM SHIFT -- Sep 28 -- At the European iDate lots of companies where trying to sell mobile dating, but every owner I talked to said they thought mobile dating was a joke and would never amount to much. The basic problem is that there is no such thing as mobile dating. Sure you can put up profiles and make it look like a dating site but no one actually uses it. People who use "mobile dating" are mostly under the age of 24 and are looking to chat with others. Mobile dating as it stands today is nothing more then a chat line, and most of the  mobile "dating" users don't even have computers. Online daters are age 30 to 40 and looking for longer messages and serious conversations. Mobile daters are mostly looking to kill time and to chat for entertainment. When trying to create a mobile dating site your existing brand is meaningless, the only thing that matters is being on deck at a carrier as it is the only way to get users. It is strange that all these mobile companies are pitching mobile dating as an extension of online dating. They all know full well and admit in private that "mobile dating" and online dating are completely different markets with different demographics that don't overlap. FULL ARTICLE @ THE PARADIGM SHIFT

Mark Brooks: Markus cuts to the chase once more. That's the situation right now. The moneymakers are flirty chat applications, but that's because the mobile dating apps suck and are below critical mass. But, it's going to change. Mobile dating will eventually overtake internet dating. Why?  Because mobile computing will eventually overtake fixed computer (PC/laptop) usage. Laptops will morph into palmtops and be unified with cell phones and mp3 players (time to invest in Apple ;-) ). I'm talking ten years out, but I see this as inevitable. Keyboardless voice activated sexy (a la Apple) palmtops will make mobile computing more compelling. Location based services and video dating will make mobile dating more compelling. A couple of mobile enabler services are working on video dating right now. Your comments please.

DateMobile Launches in North America

Date_3PR NEWSWIRE -- June 13 -- Date.com (two million active members) launched DateMobile, a new cross-platform mobile dating service in North America. DateMobile was created via a partnership with Plutolife is available through most cell phone carriers to both members and non-members of Date.com. During the regular Date.com signup process, members are able to sign up for DateMobile. DateMobile members can browse profiles, view suggested matches, text, flirt and chat with thousands of other singles directly from their mobile phone. It's free to send a message to other DateMobile members, but costs $.50 to receive text messages. FULL ARTICLE @ YAHOO NEWS

Mark Brooks: Strong pricing model. Looks like datemobile users will only be able to access other datemobile users though, like Match.com's offering. Makes for a great flirty chat app. Webdate allows access to their entire database of online users via webdate mobile. That's the best approach that serves serious daters that want local matches...but it costs far more to build that kind of application. 

Jambo Brings Social Networking Into the Real World

JamboNEW.COM -- May 26 -- Jambo tells you who in your network is nearby by checking to see if people you know are attached to the same Wi-Fi access point and then use Jambo's built-in instant-messaging client. Jambo is in testing on Windows Mobile phones and is working on supporting Symbian, RIM, and Palm OS. The Jambo technology is available for license to social networking sites. Other interesting experiments in finding Wi-Fi access point locations are SkyHook, Wigle, and Microsoft's own Location Finder (part of Windows Live Local). Social networking projects that track people and their locations include Dodgeball and Plazes. FULL ARTICLE @ NEWS

Let More of the World Access the Web

I'm at 38,000 feet on a Lufthansa flight  (Beijing>Munich) as I make this post.  Internet service for $27 for my 9 hour flight, at 300k+ according to testmy.net. Nice.  Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, wrote a noteworthy article in todays Financial Times...

FINANCIAL TIMES -- May 22 -- Today there are more than a billion people online. But that is still less than one-fifth of the world’s population, and most of those people live in developed countries. I believe, that internet access via mobile telephony will have such an important part to play in helping close the knowledge divide between rich and poor. Mobile phones are cheaper than PCs, there are three times more of them, growing at twice the speed, and they increasingly have internet access. Mobile is going to be the next big internet phenomenon. FULL ARTICLE @ FT

Mark Brooks: Case in point, I learned at iDate Asia that there are ~50 million PC's in China, and ~400 million mobile phones. I think we'll get the mobile phone internet experience right in the next three to five years. What's right? Webdate describes itself as channel agnostic. That's the best approach. Extending content seamlessly onto the mobile phone. Easier said than done, I know.   

On the Cell, MySpace Is Crammed but Livable

Helio_logoCHICAGO TRIBUNE -- May 11 -- Here's bad news for parents who worry that their kids spend too much time on MySpace: The wildly popular online social network now comes in a cellphone version Helio. FULL ARTICLE @ CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Mark Brooks: Genius bus dev deal for Myspace and Helio! Kids will circumnavigate the DOPA legislation.

Microsoft Opens up Windows Live Messenger, Offers VoIP

Windows_liveMARKETING VOX -- May 10 -- Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger beta has been opened to the general public and features a free VOIP service, Windows Live Call is being provided by Verizon. Landline or cell phones calls are 2c per minute. FULL ARTICLE @ MARKETING VOX

YouTube Offers Mobile Video Upload

Youtube_1MARKETING VOX -- May 10 -- YouTube has launched a service for uploading homemade video clips to its site via mobile phones or PDA. YouTube gets 12 million uniques and 1.2 billion pageviews a month. FULL ARTICLE @ MARKETING VOX

Mark Brooks: Vids are sent via phone email rather than MMS.

eBay Integrating Skype

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MARKETING VOX-- May 10 -- eBay plans to integrate its Skype voice over IP service into the auction marketplace to facilitate communication between buyers and sellers stated CEO Meg Whitman speaking at eBay's Analyst Day, the theme of which was "The Power of Three": eBay, PayPal and Skype. FULL ARTICLE @ MARKETING VOX


Mark Brooks:
Food for thought for the online personals industry. Shouldn't we be leading the way with voice? Voice is a sorely missed feature from most online personals sites. Recording voice as part of a profile, voicemail...all rather marginal. Major sites need to hook people up via their real phones. Email me at mark@onlinepersonalswatch.com if you'd like a copy of the Anonymous Phone Calling white paper. PhoneMatrix is the anonymous phone calling solution leader for online personals sites. They have focused completely on the online personals market and have numerous implementations under their belt now. 

Helio Launches New Cell Service

Helio_1MEDIA POST -- May 3 -- Helio, a joint venture of EarthLink and South Korean carrier SK Telecom, launched a new cell phone service.  It runs on rented space on the Sprint Nextel network and offers a mobile version of MySpaceFULL ARTICLE @ MEDIA POST

Mark Brooks: Two phones are offered, Hero and Kickflip with photo blogging linked to Myspace.  Very cool.  The Myspace audience will eat this up. 

Romancing by Phone to Become the New Dating Trend

Matchcom_18PRESS ZOOM -- May 4 -- Match.com offers wireless dating in the US and Japan and plans to launch in the UK by the end of this year. The American service launched in 2003 and has 120,000 subscribers who pay $5 to add it to their existing online service. Users access the site via WAP and search for matches as they would from the desktop - by sending them messages via SMS.  Snog London will offer mini-profiles featuring a photograph alongside four "personality" questions. Match.com's European director Kevin Cornils stated, "nearly half the daters signed up for match mobile are under 25 - considerably younger than the average age on the website."  Three-quarters of Match's wireless daters are male.  Technology exists for dating sites to send you an SMS when a suitable match walks into the same bar. It could even alert you by flashing their photo to your phone.  RELEASE @ PRESS ZOOM

Mark Brooks: Location based dating is coming.  It will be skewed young, and casual, to start with.  Mobile dating will eventually dwarf online dating. I was surprised that few others seemed to agree with this at the mobile dating convention last year.  But, we'll eventually all go 'star trek' with truly mobile computing 'pads.'  One needs only to follow the wifi adoption curve to extrapolate this trend out.  WiMax, Evdo...  I'm using Nokia 9500 now.  It sucks (slow, bad video, incompatible files, patchy connection, poor email), but eventually the likes of Nokia, Intel, Apple, RIM, Verizon, Docomo etc will get this convergence right and we'll move from our laptops to truly mobile devices.  I look forward to the day.    

SMS Text Search Smackdown

Yahoomobile_1MEDIA POST -- Apr 17 -- Keith and I are standing on the corner of 4th Ave and 13th Street. Our destination is Pop, a lounge located right across the street. We decide to have a an SMS search contest. (You simply send an SMS text query to either Google 46645 or Yahoo 92466). Google query: "pop new york." Yahoo query: "pop 10011," his zip code. In a quick jab, Keith shows me his screen, complete with the right address, cross-street and link a Yahoo map.  Google sends me a listing for a different establishment: Pop Burger, located clear across town.  FULL ARTICLE @ MEDIA POST

Mark Brooks: Utilities like this help drive user sophistication.  SMS search is a great starting point. 

Text-Messaging Changes Dating in Afghanistan

AfghanistanNPR WEEKEND EDITION -- Apr 9 -- In Afghanistan, young men and women are rarely allowed to meet without a chaperone, making romance a challenge. But text messaging has launched a dating revolution in Kabul. LISTEN TO STORY @ NPR.ORG

Mobile Dating Watch

Mar 31 -- Announcing www.mobiledatingwatch.com.  "At the end of 2005, there were more than 2 billion mobile phone users globally, of which 236 million had 3G service." - Mark Brooks   

Canadian Company Offers Skype Through Mobile Phones

CANADA IT -- Mar 20 -- A Canadian startup, EQO Communications, introduced a mobile service enabling Skype users to exchange instant messages and make VoIP calls over a wireless network.  The service works on more than 40 models of phones that run J2ME. Said EQO CEO Bill Tam 'for folks who have been using SMS...we allow them to cross the chasm from the online world to instantly exchange text messages in the mobile universe.'  Mr. Tam believes his service will enable Skype users to connect with services like LinkedIn and Friendster, as well as matchmaking services, through their mobile phones.  'The mobile carriers are looking to leverage online communities,' he said. 'The notion of your identity following you is a key advantage.'  FULL ARTICLE @ CANADA IT

Romancing the Phone

Matchcom_17THE GUARDIAN UNLIMITED -- Mar 23 -- You can pull out your mobile phone and fire off an SMS to your internet dating website. A few minutes later it will send you five pictures of potential dates - all within a 10-minute walk of your local.  This may be the future of online dating. With more than 2 million Britons signed up to singles sites, the industry is keen to explore and exploit the marriage between mobile phones and the net.  Dating sites use mobile telephony to enable subscribers to send "text flirts" - SMS messages. Snog London is trialing this technology to offer "instant dates". Match.com already offers wireless dating in the US and Japan, and plans to launch in the UK by the end of this year. The American service, launched in 2003, has 120,000 subscribers who pay $5 to add it to their existing online service. Match.com's Europe director Kevin Cornil: "Nearly half the daters signed up for match mobile are under 25 - considerably younger than the average age on the website."  FULL ARTICLE @ THE GUARDIAN UNLIMITED

Mark Brooks: And Webdate.com, and Lavalife.com.  Webdate has the nicest mobile application. 

Fox News LA, DC, LA, Orlando

Mar 24 -- I was in four Fox News interviews in February.  Alas, there was no online videos to link to.
  1. Fox News Orlando - mobile dating overview
  2. Fox News New York - mobile dating overview
  3. Fox News Washington D.C. - online dating safety
  4. Fox News Los Angeles - online dating safety
I have news reels on the way for Orlando and New York. - Mark Brooks

AirG To Power CoolTalk Mobile Community for Cingular

AirgT-NET -- Mar 10 -- AirG, a leader in powering mobile communities, has signed an agreement with Cingular, (54 million subscribers), to offer the CoolTalk (7 million members worldwide) mobile community.  CoolTalk users can connect and make new friends, instant message and view picture profiles.  FULL ARTICLE @ BC TECHNOLOGY

Alltel and AirG Launch Coolchat Mobile Community

AirgT-NET BRITISH COLUMBIA -- Mar 8 -- Alltel customers can now chat with cool people from across the US and around the world on their mobile phone. Alltel, a wireless network with 10 million customers in 34 states, and AirG, powering mobile communities, announced today the launch of Coolchat, a wireless social networking community now available on Alltel mobile phones.  RELEASE @ T-NET BRITISH COLUMBIA

Mark Brooks: Mobile dating is hot and is getting hotter.  Webdate is the mobile dating leader with the nicest application I've seen to date.  I'm thinking about starting MobilePersonalsWatch.com to track the news for mobile dating and mobile flirt.

Online Personals Watch White Papers

Good news, bad news...The bad news is, we're stiiiill working on the anonymous phone calling services white paper and the mobile dating white papers.  The good news is, it's because we've gone COMPLETELY OVERBOARD!!!  We just keep coming across new things we want to include.  What to do.  Anyway, hang tight and drop me an email if you'd like to receive the first copies of either of the white papers.  The anonymous phone calling services white paper will be out first.  Mark Brooks, Editor, Online Personals Watch

Online Personals Watch Anonymous Phone Call Service White Paper

ONLINE PERSONALS WATCH -- Aug 22 -- A white paper on anonymous phone calling services/enablers is in process (in addition to OPW's mobile dating white paper).  Phonematrix, Voice Star, gNumber and PrivateTel have identified themselves as having service offerings in this category.  Do you know of any others?  Please contact me at mark@onlinepersonalswatch.com.

Google Buys Cellphone Software Company

Google_1ENGADGET -- Aug 17 -- Google just bought Android which specializes in making "software for mobile phones." Android was founded by the same guy who started Danger (the company which makes the T-Mobile Sidekick).  Google's getting ready to make a move into wireless. They launched SMS search last year and then scooped up Dodgeball. They "acquired Android because of the talented engineers and great technology." FULL ARTICLE @ ENGADGET

Online Personals Watch Exclusive Interview #10 - Webdate's New SVP, Joe Brennan Jr

Joe_brennanOPW INTERVIEW -- Aug 2 -- Joe Brennan Jr joined Webdate's team in April as SVP Marketing and Strategy.  He was formerly the Director of Interactive Strategy at AOL. Mark Brooks, Editor of Online Personals Watch, interviewed Joe after the Mobile Internet Dating Convention at which Joe shared the keynote address.

Why is Webdate driving mobile/cell phone based dating?
Our strategy for Webdate is focused on wireless as a complimentary piece of our entire offerings.  Webdate is not focused on ‘online dating,’ we're focused on ‘dating.’  Our wireless services are every bit as important as the internet services and are totally integrated.  So the philosophy is 'Webdate anytime, anywhere.'  Users may come through the online channel but then decide it's more convenient for them to use us through wireless.  We're connection channel agnostic.  We believe our members should be able to use our services through any connection, so they can Webdate, anytime, anywhere. 

Are location-based services the future?
I think so.  But, one of the challenges is that the technology is available right now but the carriers are concerned about the liability of offering location-based services to their members.  We have to show that such services can produce good revenue streams, address the liability concerns, and demonstrate to the wireless carriers why this technology really is necessary in serving their wireless customers in the future.  The market and technology are moving in the direction of location-based services.  I would not bet against it right now. 

Why are you also leading with video based services? 
We’ve placed our bets on using technology that creates more intimacy for our members.  I mean, with most online dating services you make this hard leap from profile, email and instant messenger over to face-to-face meetings.  We want to create more interactivity and give users a better opportunity to learn and get to know dating partners through the online medium before they meet.  We’re creating interactive experiences that allow potential daters to get to know each other better so that when that first meeting happens, it isn't a shock.  So, the best way to do this is to approximate some of the real world dating experience.  We've started down that path with video dating.  We call it ‘webdating.’  I think that by fully integrating both the online and wireless products we're able to drive a better user experience whilst also reaching underserved markets.  Certain demographics index low on PC ownership and high on cell phone ownership.  By using wireless technology and combining this with our efforts to improve the dating experience, we think our service will be much more valuable than services merely listing personals ads and allowing email introductions. 

Will you eventually combine video based webdating into a mobile/cell phone based service?
Right now the bandwidth is not available on the mobile networks.  The handset technology is not quite available either.  But it will be.  If we look at South Korea with their live streaming video broadcasts we can see the shape of things to come.  That technology will come to America along with the ability to do video dating on the phone.  It’s inevitable and something we are pursuing. 

We need to create more dating opportunities for our users and we have chosen to use technology to create those opportunities…in a real world, live way.  Picture if you will…you’re headed out for the evening and you’re able to broadcast that you are going to be at a certain club, in a certain area and are interested in meeting singles who are also interested in meeting other singles.  We can use the mobile application as a way of facilitating this.  When you walk through the door of the club you will know who you can socialize with and who is available, rather than it being a guessing game.  You can know who's looking for new friends, who’s looking for a relationship.  We want to use mobile applications to facilitate meetings in real time and real space but we need the cooperation of the carriers to facilitate that. 

TheDateZone.com Brings Interactive Dating to Mobile Phones

Thedatezone_1BUSINESS WIRE -- Aug 1 -- SmartVideo Technologies today announced that it has entered into a revenue sharing agreement with TheDateZone.com to bring the world of interactive online dating to mobile devices. TheDateZone.com is a Web based dating service that gives men and women the ability to meet and communicate with each other in a safe, controlled environment. Unique to TheDateZone.com is its ability for subscribers to audio and video conference not only from Internet to Internet but from phone to phone and from Internet to phone to anyone, anywhere in the world! ComScore revealed that personals Websites attract 30 million visitors a month in the U.S. alone. Jupiter Research predicts that online dating is expected to grow by 60% by 2008. RELEASE @ YAHOO

Mark Brooks: Mark Thompson, CEO of weAttract.com, said, "jump ahead 10 years, and it will all be video-based."  Webdate.com has the nicest implementation of live video chat in the industry and are coining the term 'webdating' for online video dating.

Hey, Baby, Want a Date?

Small_planetSAN FRAN CHRONICLE -- July 23 -- With advances in cell phone technology and wireless networks, users can browse truncated profiles, view photos of possible dates and exchange cheesy lines via text messaging. SmallPlanet has come up with a way for its compatible users to be alerted when they are within range of each other, in most cases about 30 feet for now.  Said analyst Brent Iadarola of Frost & Sullivan. "The comfort people have with online dating in the wired world is now translating to the mobile world."  Subscription revenue for mobile services are expected to rise from $31.4 million this year to $215 million by 2009. That does not include revenue from text-messaging charges, which could double those figures, according to Iadarola. "Handset technology has moved in leaps and bounds to the point you can have a good user experience while on the bus or sitting in the back of car," said Mark Brooks, editor of Online Personals Watch. "People are gaming and texting now. It all makes sense at last." One promising technology is location-based dating, in which users can be alerted to a potential match just down the street or somewhere in their ZIP code. "I can go to a club, and the phone becomes a transponder," said Joe Brennan Jr., vice president of Webdate, the industry leader with 5 million users. "I can find someone I match up with, and that facilitates a meeting." But there's a hitch. Wireless carriers haven't embraced Webdate technology for now because they are unconvinced of the safety and manageability of the service. Some fear the technology could be manipulated to electronically harass users. FULL ARTICLE @ SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

How Cell Phone Dating Could Lead to a Ring

Idate_logo_2005_3CBS CHANNEL 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS -- Joe Brennan Jr, Sr VP Marketing and Strategy for Webdate, and myself, Mark Brooks, Editor of Online Personals Watch appeared in this news piece at the Mobile Internet Dating Convention last Thursday.  NEWS VIDEO

Internet Dating Goes Mobile

Webdate_1CBS CHANNEL 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS -- July 21 -- In the world of Internet dating, cell phones are the newest way to sell yourself.  Webdate is among the largest of the online dating services that have dialed in to the cell phone market. There are now 182 million cell phones in the U.S. There aren't that many computers. There aren't that many TVs.  Forty million people have tried online dating. But over the cell phone? Only half a million so far in the US. "If you're sitting on a train, or at the doctor's, or in line somewhere. You can spend those few minutes to actually find someone who's compatible with you," said Mark Brooks of OnlinePersonalWatch.  FULL ARTICLE @ CBS 5

Userplane Enhances Mooble and Click2Asia

Click2asiaBUSINESS WIRE --July 20 -- Userplane, the leading provider of live community software, today announced its deployment of Userplane Webmessenger and Webchat on Click2Asia and MoobleFULL RELEASE @ YAHOO

Mark Brooks: Mike Jones is super easy to work with and his applications are A1.  Well done Mike. 

HurryDate to Bring Online Dating to Mobile Phones

BUSINESS WIRE--July 5 -- Amp'dMobile, 3G mobile entertainment company, and HurryDate, a speed dating leader, announced a three-year exclusive partnership to connect Amp'd Mobile's 3G EV-DO service to HurryDate's party and online dating community. They will premiere video profiles featured on mobile handsets later this year. Amp'd Mobile users will be able to access HurryDate's very popular online dating services - browsing profiles, sending virtual "Drinks" and emailing possible dates - from their mobile phones. They'll also be able to register to be alerted for parties in their area and sign up for upcoming events. FULL RELEASE @ YAHOO

Connections, The Wireless Way

BUSINESS WEEK -- June 29 -- SMS.ac and other mobile social networks help users find dates, keep in touch with friends, share photos, and update their blogs via cell phone. SMS.ac claims 40 million users; 14% in U.S. Most other services only have thousands of customers, who typically pay a $5 monthly subscription fee. Popularity should skyrocket as telcos, which get a cut of fees, roll out more of these applications later this year. Sprint began offering SMS.ac, Match.com Mobile and Lavalife Mobile several months ago. U.S. subscription revenues should rise from $31.4 million this year to $215 million in 2009, according to Frost & Sullivan.  Additional revenues from forwarding SMS and MMS messages could double that amount. These social networks typically cater to 18-35-year-olds.  There are 2 billion cell phones in the world, vs. fewer than 700 million PCs. No wonder online heavyweights such as Google, Match.com, and online social networking sites are ramping up their efforts in the mobile social networking market. Friendster is testing Friendster Mobile in the Philippines. Google acquired Dodgeball.com. In July Match.com will debut a more advanced mobile dating service in Japan. Members will be able to post multiple photos with their profiles, receive daily or weekly lists of matches, and perform complex searches. FULL ARTICLE @ BUSINESS WEEK

Mark Brooks: See you at the mobile internet dating convention.

Text Date Advertisement Deemed 'Irresponsible'

TextandmeetBBC NEWS -- June 21 -- A mobile/online dating firm has been criticised over an advertisement for its text dating service which could encourage teenagers to make dates with strangers. Textandmeet, promised: "You could be meeting someone tonight." The words, "over 18s only" were featured in the small print. The Advertising Standards Authority said it was possibly "irresponsible". It was "concerned" the poster could imply it was "acceptable for young people to make dates with strangers". It was spotted by a member of the public near a local swimming pool, cinema and a fast food restaurant. The posters depicted a bikini-clad woman sitting by a swimming pool with a mobile phone while three men looked on. All posters have now been removed.  FULL ARTICLE @ BBC NEWS

Meetro Helps Netizens Find Out Who's Nearby

MeetroCHICAGO SUN-TIMES -- June 20 -- Meetro has a new spin on social networks: tapping into location Wi-Fi hotspot info to link Wi-Fi users.  "Imagine you were at a convention, in an airport or just hanging out, and wanted to meet people," said Paul Bragiel, 27, co-founder and chief executive of Meetro. "Meetro can help make that happen. Meetro pops up and tells you who's around."  He plans to "monetize" Meetro, which has eight employees, by licensing software to city Web pages, conventions and other businesses that want to put people together locally.  FULL ARTICLE @ CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Online Personals Watch Exclusive Interview #6 - Webdate.com's CEO

Webdate_abe_smilowitz_1OPW CEO INTERVIEW -- June 21 -- Online dating pioneer Webdate.com offers 'webdating' video chat, web chat and mobile phone based dating...all for free.  It's grown to 4 million members whilst maintaining a completely free membership model, much to the chagrin of it's competitors, Match.com, Yahoo Personals and American Singles.  Mark Brooks, Editor of Online Personals Watch, interviews Abe Smilowitz, Webdate.com’s CEO and Founder. 

Is webdate beyond 4 million users now?
Yes.  We've had a consistent growth rate.  Anywhere from 250 to 300 thousand new users a month.  60% is type in traffic from viral, from non-advertising referrals. 

Why did you start webdate? 
We started webdate to be the #1 online personals company in the world.  We identified online dating as a hot industry and decided we wanted to participate and create the best online personals service on the net.  We decided we would add the largest amount of users in the shortest amount of time by moving to a free model, and the rest is history...Now we're #5.  We're the 5th largest online personals company (per Hitwise).  Last year we were the fastest growing online personals company.  We grew 800% where the industry average was 42%.  The guys ahead of us are monsters and we've spent a fraction of what they've spent!  What they spend in a month, we spend in a year.  Some are spending in excess of $5 million a month.  That's unbelievable!  Probably some of the guys below us are spending several multiples of what we're spending...and we're still ahead of them.  It's credit to word of mouth marketing and our user experience.  We think users want a fast, simple, no frills, quick and easy communication oriented site.  They don't want to have to jump through hoops.  We're not overly complicated like other sites. 

Was there a 'magic moment' for you when you were first developing webdate?
The magic moment for us occurred when we came up with the video dating idea.  You can go to any online dating site and see fake pictures.  Then you show up to a date and find your match is older than they looked...it's crazy!  How do you get around the problem of fake pictures?  It just seemed so 'not personal' to us.  Online personals didn't give users much feel for a person's personality.  Users can write down any horse crap, put up a fake picture and the person on the other side has no idea.  Video dating, done properly just crushes that.  It really gives users a feel for a person, not the profile, but the real person. They can interact!  Enabling someone halfway round world to get a feel for someone's personality over the web, with pictures, and movement and voice.  You can see if a woman is sexy, get a feel for her attitude, see if she's funny.  You can pick all that up on video dating.  When you're just reading a profile, staring at multiple-choice questions, just looking at words, those things don't speak to the soul as much.  The way a person moves can say a lot about them.  You can't pick up on body language from a profile.

How on earth can you justify making webdate free for so long?
Our justification is industry ranking.  We've been able to build webdate to our #5 ranking in a very competitive industry.  We have a high number of active users and significant market share now.  Here's a scoop for you; we're looking to move to a premium services model in the very near future.  But, we'll continue to be less expensive than any of our competitors because we feel everyone should be able to enjoy online dating.  Part of our approach has been to extend online dating to all of society with webdate mobile.  Minority groups are generally more mobile oriented.  That's a totally different approach.  Our mobile service is $3.99 a month.  So, beat that!  And our mobile users can interact with the entire 4 million person webdate user base.  It's an inexpensive alternative to being on the website and it has most of the features of an online service.  You can see pictures, browse profiles, we stand alone in the industry as far as mobile goes right now. 

How does this compare with Match's mobile offering?
We've integrated the entire mobile aspect into the webdate.  Match breaks it up into two sites.  Ours is the only fully integrated service.  Which is the future of mobile applications, fully integrated.

What will webdate look like 5 years from now?
It will be fully mobile.  Everything you can do online, you'll be able to do on a cell phone, and that's what we're trying to do now. 

What's the end goal?  Do you want to be bigger then Match.com?
The end goal is to offer the best online personals service on the planet.  If we're the biggest, great.  Our philosophy is, if we build the very best product the users will come.  But, it has to be the best integrated, have the best features, be the easiest to use, and be fully integrated with mobile and video.  We're building the best mousetrap but not necessarily to beat Match.com in users.  We think that we will beat them in users eventually, because our product is going to be better.  The users will acknowledge that.  Users will often join several sites when they start online dating, and then end up sticking with the one they like the best.  We want to be that one.  In order to do that we need to give them great combinations of features, ease of use and value...which means not charging them an arm and a leg for the service.

Does the public really care about mobile and video chat yet?
The video dating, absolutely!  Over 50% of users have tried video dating.  The video is here and it's here to stay.  It's not pie in the sky or something for down the road.  It's here now and it's only going to get bigger.  As far as safety is concerned...We were thinking about safety two and a half years ago!  Video dating allows people to go on first dates in the safety and security and comfort of their own homes...without putting them in uncomfortable or dangerous situations.  They can get a sense of chemistry from the other users, hear their voice and look into their eyes before taking it to the real world.  Mobile dating is still something that is not mature.  There's no doubt it's where the future lies.  There will always be online dating though.  You can't completely duplicate online dating with a cell phone.  There's not enough room, but there's no doubt mobile will play a huge role in the future.  Our goal is to be the innovator and shape the way online dating progresses, with a mobile perspective.  The companies offering it now will shape the industry down the road.

What does the future hold for webdate?  Where will webdate be in two years time?
We'll be the best personals site to get in touch with the 'right person.'  We're working to give our users as many options to communicate as possible in as time efficient a manner as possible.  Users can see who's online, who's on video chat, who's new on the site, who's viewed their profile, who's emailed and IM'd them, who's network of friends others belong to.  You shouldn't have to click five times to find what you want.  You only have to click once on webdate.  Everything users could possibly want is right there, laid out one click away from the home page.  We're building the best online personals site and in two years we'll be at the top of the online dating rankings. 

Mark Brooks: People, essentially, are the 'product' that online dating sites sell.  Webdate has invested heavily to build a considerable member base, get people talking (hey it's free!), and offer some great next generation services.  One to watch.

Google Buys Dodgeball Text-message Networking Service

DodgeballINFOWORLD -- May 12 -- Google continued extending its reach beyond the PC this week by acquiring social networking service Dodgeball.com; a grad-school project started at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. The service lets users "check in" their location at a bar, club, restaurant, or other local gathering spot, then transmits that information as a text message to the mobile phones of selected other Dodgeball.com users in the area. The goal is to spark in-person connections among friends, acquaintances and friends-of-friends.   "As a two-person team, Alex and I have taken dodgeball about a far as we can alone.  We talked to a lot of different angel investors and venture capitalists, but no one really 'got' what we were doing -- that is until we met Google. The people at Google think like us. They looked at us in a 'You're two guys doing some pretty cool stuff, why not let us help you out and let's see what you can do with it' type of way."  He and Rainert will remain with the company and begin work on new features.  FULL ARTICLE @ INFOWORLD

Mark Brooks: Wireless online dating is coming...  Heck, it's already here.  Webdate.com has the nicest application I've seen so far.  Yahoo is available on Blackberry now.  Check out the mobile dating internet conference, San Francisco in July, www.idate2005.com.  (Member of the press?  Contact me at mark@courtlandbrooks.com

MoSoSos Not So So-So

WIRED -- Mar 7 -- MoSoSos (mobile social-software services) are the mobile equivalents of Friendster and LinkedIn. They help users find old friends, or potential new ones, on the go.  Dodgeball: Currently rolled out in 22 U.S. cities, and with about 15,000 users, is the  standard-bearer.  It works, explained founder Dennis Crowley, by having users check in with text messages announcing where they are. Anyone on a user's friends list who is within 10 blocks gets a message that his or her pal is nearby.  The "crush" feature allows users view profiles. If the object of a crush is nearby, he or she gets a message to that effect.  Playtxt: 6,000 members key in the postal code where they want to be found when they're on the go.  Founder is Andrew Scott.  Jambo: Utilizes Wi-Fi hotspots to connect its members.  Highlights similar interests.  Plazes: Based in Germany.  Anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop can define a "plaze;" usually a hot spot. FULL ARTICLE @ WIRED

UK Mobile Communities Roundtable

NMK -- Feb 24 -- Match Mobile users are urban, younger, of a lower socio-economic base, and (in the US) more from the immigrant population, with Match Mobile growing at a rate of 15% per month.  The most favoured mobile content applications, according to recent Enpocket research in the UK: Sharing pictures with friends and family7 – 46%, Making / receiving video calls – 36%, Downloading songs -23%, Video clip of sports highlights – 20%, Text flirting / dating – 16%, Watching movie trailers – 12%, Help in managing a diet – 11%, Celeb news / gossip – 9%.  There are 52 million handsets and 60 million people in the UK. China has 350 million handsets and 300 million texts a month are sent in Singapore and the Philippines.  overall, Japan and Korea are 2-3 years ahead of the UK, who are in turn about 1-2 years ahead of the US.  FULL ARTICLE @ NMK

Japanese Alleged Offenses Tied to Online Dating Fell 9.2% in 2004

KYODO NEWS -- Feb 17 -- Alleged Japanese offenses related to online dating fell 9.2% in 2004 from the previous year to 1,582, while the number of victims younger than 18 in these cases dropped 15.1% to 1,085, reported the National Police Agency.  The declines were partly attributed to the introduction of a new law in September 2003 that bans online dating websites for soliciting sex involving minors.  The report showed that 96% of the victims accessed dating sites via mobile phones.  Warnings were issued to 47 website operators; cited for violations such as failing to stipulate that the sites were intended for adults. Prefectural authorities did not order any website operator to change their content.  FULL ARTICLE @ YAHOO ASIA

Mark Brooks: 96% of the victims accessed the dating sites via mobile phones!?!

Jambo Software Seeks Out Casual Connections

ZDNET -- Feb 16 -- Jambo Networks users start by registering and building a profile via the company's Web site. Tell Jambo anything you might want other folks to know, such as your alma mater, occupation or musical tastes, then Jambo assigns you an ID number and provides software that works with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless networking connection.  Jambo contracts with organizations such as universities, trade show organizers and Wi-Fi hot-spot providers to sponsor its service in a given area. The software alerts users when someone with similar interests is within wireless range and starts an instant messager. "We'd love to partner with someone like Match.com," Jim Young said.  FULL ARTICLE @ ZDNET INDIA

Mark Brooks: WiFi users will love this idea!  Proximity based matching will be huge fun, and huge business one day. 

WaveMarket/Crunkie Gets $9.4M

BUSINESS TIMES -- Feb 8 -- WaveMarket Inc. said Monday it has received $9.4 million in venture capital funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson; will use the money to fund its Crunkie service, which is an Internet social network like Friendster that also tells mobile phone users where other users are physically located. Allows users to be notified if their friends or important locations are nearby. FULL ARTICLE @ BIZ JOURNALS

Mark Brooks: Location based wireless dating services; one to watch. I wonder if anyone is talking about this technology at the Wireless/Mobile Dating Conference in July? Marc?

Mobile Dating Services Through Sprint

RED NOVA -- Feb 7 -- Sprint is offering its customers access to mobile dating services. Two mobile dating services are available today to Sprint customers with select Sprint PCS Vision(SM) handsets: SMS.ac and Match.com Mobile. Three services are offered with SMS.ac: Flirt - search profiles for 25c per text. Clubs - join mobile communities to chat on any topic, 25c per message received. Channels - receive the news, horoscopes and more for $.25 per text message. With Match.com Mobile, powered by Enpocket's Eden dating engine, users can sign up, explore and find matches for free. When users decide to communicate with their matches, they will be asked to subscribe for only $4.99 a month. Coming soon, Sprint will offer access to dating services from Lavalife. FULL ARTICLE @ RED NOVA

Mark Brooks: Check out the upcoming mobile/wireless dating conference in San Francisco July 19-20.

Love Blossoms on the Internet

Webdate_abe_smilowitzMIAMI HERALD -- Jan 20 -- Since Miami Beach-based Webdate started offering a free online dating service two years ago, some 2.8 million love-seekers have signed up. The company's traffic surged 800% in 2004, compared to 17% for the online personals industry as a whole. with 8,000 to 10,000 new users signing up daily, Webdate has the fastest-growing black book in the industry.  There are almost 850 online dating services worldwide. Giving away service has put Webdate on the charts with the likes of Match.com and Yahoo Personals.  On Jan. 19 for example, the firm announced it would expand its mobile dating service by March to cover 80% of all data-ready cell phones.  "Webdate MobileT" allows clients to use their handsets to search for potential dates, download profiles and initiate text messages and anonymous phone calls.  "You don't have to be in front of your computer to be online dating anymore," Smilowitz said. Since its launch in December, some 40,000 users have subscribed to the mobile service at $2.99 per month.  At his new South Beach office, Smilowitz spins his monitor around to show off another high-tech feature: live video chat.  On the screen is the small image of a user in Indonesia, busy typing away at her computer.  "We've all heard the horror stories about chatting with someone online and they have a great picture, but then you meet them and you realize it wasn't them at all, or that the picture they were using is 20 years old," said Smilowitz, 30. "With this, people get the chance to hear the other person's voice and see their face from the comfort and safety of their own home."  But the market is getting more crowded and fragmented.  ''There are increasingly more sites aimed at seniors -- it is definitely catching on with the older set -- and just about every other demographic you could think of,'' said Mark Brooks, the publisher of Online Personals Watch. FULL ARTICLE @ MIAMI HERALD

Webdate Mobile Extends Compatibility to 80% of All U.S. Internet-Enabled Phones

PRNewswire -- Jan 19 -- Webdate announced today at the Internet Dating Conference in Miami that Webdate Mobile(TM), the company's go-anywhere, flirt-anytime mobile dating service has been expanded to support 19 phones with another 45 to be rolled out through March of this year, representing 80% of all data-capable U.S. mobile phones. More than 40,000 wireless customers have downloaded Webdate Mobile, powered by Trilibis. WebDate surpassed 2.5 million users last month and adds more than 8,000 new members daily. Members can learn more about the benefits of availability of Webdate Mobile at webdatemobile.com; $2.99 per month. FULL RELEASE @ YAHOO

Mark Brooks: Abe demonstrated the WebDate Mobile service to me last Tuesday. You can browse profiles, pictures and send messages to users. Hey, if you're standing in line somewhere, might as well chat up a few singles on your cell phone.

Phillipines Chosen as Launchpad of Friendster’s Cell Phone Service

INFOTECH -- 11/21 -- Friendster will soon launch its first mobile service in the Philippines to test the concept of merging the biggest online social networking service with mobile phone technology. The mobile service will soon be rolled out in other countries. Founded in August 2002 by Jonathan Abrams, Friendster has had an unprecedented growth in the number of its registered users. To date, it has 13 million users worldwide. INFOTECH

Mark Brooks: But how will Friendster make money? How about some additional services for US users? MySpace is stealing ground from you Friendster.

Video Phones Act as Dating Tools

BBC NEWS -- Hundreds have submitted a mobile video profile to win a place at the world's first video mobile dating event. The top 100 meet their match on 30 November at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. The event, organised by the 3G network, 3, could catch on as the trend for unusual dating events, like speed dating, continues. BBC NEWS

Smile, Dial, Date

NBC5 -- Nov 10th -- Now, a new use has emerged for mobile phones. Dating services have enlisted the communications medium to bring together bands of lonely hearts. "If you're in the bank in line, stuck in traffic, whatever it is, you can search for dates and flirt with people on your mobile phone," Kristin Kelly, of Match.com, said. DALLAS NBC5

Talk Now Adds Speed-dating Dimension to Mobile Date/chat Service

TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - Mobilehookup's patent pending 'Talk Now' combines text messaging's fun and convenience with speed-dating's functionality. 'Talk Now,' allows Mobilehookup members to talk live for five minutes on the telephone while protecting user privacy and anonymity. YAHOO NEWS

Video Dating Meets Speed Dating in London

NETIMPERATIVE--Mobile network operator 3 is promoting the benefits of its mobile video technology through a speed dating event in partnership with retailer Selfridges. One hundred men and women, selected through a public vote, will attend, presumably looking for love over video phone. Once their ads are recorded they will be posted to www.endoftheblinddate.com NETIMPERATIVE

SpotMeeting; Innovative Location-Based Singles Network

TORONTO, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ - ...After logging in with a valid e-mail address, subscribers have access to SpotMeeting's Location-Based Singles Network (LBSN), enabling them to make contact with other singles in their immediate vicinity - securely and instantly. By giving access to other singles in proximity, SpotMeeting generates more face-to-face interactions, which ultimately result in more matches...SpotMeeting(TM) is the first and only provider of Mobile Proximity Dating...SpotMeeting will also address four key underachieving applications in the mobile industry: LBS, WAP/WAP-Push, Text-Messaging and WiFi hotspots. YAHOO NEWS

Lavalife Mobile; Color, Picture Wireless Dating

NEW YORK and TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - The newly enhanced full color, graphic premium WAP(x) version of Lavalife Mobile allows members to seek out and exchange messages with other active singles wherever, whenever, conveniently using their mobile phone... "We are excited to build on the success of Lavalife Mobile, by offering an enhanced color, picture version of the service," said Lavalife CEO Bruce Croxon... $4.99 a month subscription service. YAHOO NEWS

Webdate Expands Wireless Services

MIAMI, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Webdate today announced that it has introduced a new Java version of its popular mobile webdating service, expanding availability to customers of AT&T, Cingular and T-Mobile wireless services. Webdate Mobile offers mobile searches, profile browsing, messagingand chat. YAHOO NEWS

Webdate Launches Webdate Mobile

MIAMI, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Webdate today announced it will launch its mobile webdating service on U.S. Cellular to enable mobile access to dating profiles, chat and real-time messaging through members' wireless phones...Webdate Mobile is powered by the Trilibis mCE, a flexible software engine that extends the connectivity and content of online communities to virtually any wireless device. YAHOO NEWS

Wanted: New Friend, Must Have Bluetooth

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Student Gracinia Lim has made new friends thanks to mobile phone software that alerts her to compatible people nearby. She is an early customer of a service in Singapore called BEDD that uses Bluetooth wireless communications to scan strangers' phones for their personal profiles. The application joins a swelling number of Internet and mobile phone based services that offer to widen people's social networks. ..."People spend tons of money at dating and matchmaking agencies or on personal ads -- for a small amount of money, this software could help change their lives," Carlton said. (57c / month) YAHOO NEWS