Online Personals Watch Exclusive Interview #10 - Webdate's New SVP, Joe Brennan Jr - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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James Houran

Another nice and informative interview, Mark!

I wonder, though, if trying to completely replicate the feel of offline interaction is what all customers want. Certainly, the serious daters are looking for tools and services that empower them in searching capibilities as well as provide them the potential for closer intimacy and interaction on the web.

By contrast, research shows that some online daters want "fantasy" not reality. That is, the last thing they may want is to actually meet someone offline and develop a real relationship. I wonder what Joe would say regarding this fantasy-aspect to some online dating customers. Would he see Webdate's approach as complementary to it or not?


James Houran, Ph.D.
Chief Psychologist,

Fernando Ardenghi

This CEO said "Certain demographics index low on PC ownership and high on cell phone ownership".
Yes, but with the amount of money they will spend using their cell phones in mobile-dating-services they could buy a PC!!

He also ended the interview saying: "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"
Note that a dating-company that offers mobile services could charge a small fee (USD10 per month?) to their members, but the wireless carriers need to charge more (perhaps USD100 fixed-rate-plan per month? /// USD1200 a year == a cheap PC). And the mobile-dating-market is small-size-in-revenue as it only complements but not replace actual On line Dating / Social Networking Internet sites.

"the cooperation of the carriers to facilitate that". It is not a problem of cooperation, just only to see if mobile-dating-services will be a great-business for the wireless carriers or not.

Mobile / wireless services will be more adequate for teens (11-25 years) used to have a "lot of friends"
not for more mature persons (26-???), who will require quality in on line dating techniques.

And what will happen if this small-size-in-revenue mobile-dating-market receives Legislation?

My advice is: By yourself a good PC to every day use, and buy a cheap cell phone like the Alcatel 332 to speak by phone and SMS.

Kindest Regards,

Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
[email protected]

Joe Brennan Jr.

Those who underestimate the potential market for technology are placing a bad bet. Those who presume to know "what's best" for daters and try to funnel users through a particular interactive experience will also likely regret not broadening their offering to potential users.

There is no "best path" for users. The key to good user experience and satisfaction will be to allow individual users to determine what "path" best suits them, and to offer technology that facilitates that chosen path.

Christian Vollmann

I disagree with Mr. Ardenghi over the point of the cost of mobile dating.

Take the new iLove Mobile Dating Application for example. It is a Java application that you download to your phone once. The download costs you less than 2 EUR (2.5 USD) in data traffic cost.

You then pay 4.99 EUR per week for using the iLove service. This includes access to the online service.

On top of that, you pay GPRS data transfer cost. In Germany, some network operators already offer a flat fee for mobile data traffic for as little as 5 EUR/month.

Alltogether, mobile dating with the iLove "Handyflirt" application will cost you only slightly more than using the web interface.

Best regards,

Christian Vollmann
Managing Director

Michele Huet

Great interview Mark, heres my 2c worth:

Mobile content is very different from online content in that it has its own inbuilt ability to bill. This also favors micropayments (SMS=50c or Video Calling costs $1.50 per min) which is easy to explain and transparent to prospective users.

We've seen with the success of PlentyofFish that online dating can be done successfully without cost but any one who has tried it knows its a source of spamsters as well as low quality partner opportunities (that said many of the members are genuine, real, nice people - and some have lots of money but just don't want to pay for something when they don't have to!)

As the computer that is always with you the mobile phone presents many new challenges for dating. Too much communication can be very disruptive and a big drawback to adoption. By making it free to communicate you encourage users to "play the numbers game" and introduce themselves to lots of people (even if they have little genuine interest). the presence of a 50c tarriff can eliminate this and the collective revenues can remove the need for a discouraging subscription.

Mobile Dating must be PrePay (Pay-As-You-Go friendly and micropayments will naturally drive quality communication.

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