OPW INTERVIEW -- Mar 15, 2006 -- Webdate is blazing a trail with it's webcam based dating and mobile dating platform. It's taking a futuristic position. I caught up with Abe Smilowitz, CEO of Webdate...
What is webdating?
Webdating is the new safe and secure way to date where two individuals can go on their first date online using our patented video chat. They have the ability to meet each other and get a feel for each other’s personality and get to know each other a little better before they take it offline.With ‘webdating,’ you get a feel for chemistry and the ability to pinpoint each other’s personality and character; you can see them, see how they smile, see how they move and this gives you insight into what that person is really like as opposed to just reading a typed profile or chat with them on IM which is less personal.
What proportion of your membership is actively using webcams for webdating these days?
80% of our users have used videochat. At any given time, there are abut 1000 - 1500 people using webcams at one point or another. Webcams are inexpensive and easy to purchase these days. They usually run about $30.
Webdate is channel agnostic? What's that mean?
Users are able to meet in a variety of ways and methods. They are able to communicate and interact with each other online as well as through their mobile phones. Actually, they are able to interact from their mobile phones with people online as well. So, a user that is on their mobile phone can interact with people online at any given time. We allow users to interact with a variety of different methods and communicate regardless of what type of technology they have whether it be mobile or internet.
What cell phone carriers are you on deck with now?
We use Sprint, Nextel, US Cellular and Boost. We also are about to add Cricket and will launch with a major/top 3 carrier; but I’m not at liberty to announce that just yet.
Do you think mobile dating will overtake online dating one day?
No – I think they will work together. One won’t take over the other. I think there will definitely be more growth in mobile dating than the online stage. The online stage is more of a mature market place. The mobile area is starting to grow and hasn’t met its maturity level. It’s still a virgin market.
What are your estimates for the 2006 mobile dating market size?
It’s such an emerging market place…and it really depends on what deck placement you get and and what kind of compatibility you get with handsets. It’s difficult to estimate the market revenue for 2006; however, in the near future, I feel it will be in the billions of dollars in the mobile Space. Everyone has a mobile phone and not everyone has a computer or internet access. Cell Phone companies are giving out internet ready phones now, so as more people are renewing their contracts and time goes by, everyone is potentially a customer. Online is a different experience; you need a computer, high speed internet access…or dial-up. The cell phone market potentially has far more reach than online does.
What are you plans for webdate in 2006?
We will expand our global and online reach and work on some other projects that I cannot mention at this time.