China iDate2006 Overview

CinaThe Asian internet dating convention was held in Beijing, China last week. Here's the pics. Notable dating site presenters included the CEO's of leading social networking site YeeYoo, and dating sites Baihe, Sino Friends, Bharat Matrimony, Love21. Also speaking were payment services companies 99Bill, and YeePay, along with innovative mobile applications company Pingco. The final executive panel agreed that for 2005 Asian online dating market stood at $50 million to $200 million US depending on whether or not mobile flirt applications were included. This is up from estimates of $40 to $100 million for 2004. Asian market analyst iResearch will present firmer numbers later this year. In short, the Chinese market is hot, but is somewhat limited by lack of trust in, and availability of, online billing mechanisms. Mobile billing is capped by China Telecom at 10 to 20 Yuan a month (8 Yuan per US$). Next years Asian internet dating convention will most likely be in Tokyo in May 2007 and will cover mobile dating. - Mark Brooks

JDate(R) Wins 'Online Oscar' for Social Networking

PR NEWSWIRE -- May 10 -- JDate, the leading online community for Jewish singles, took the top prize in the 10th Annual Webby Award competition for outstanding social/networking site, beating out, Bebo, Flickr and Xfire. FULL ARTICLE @ PR NEWSWIRE

Mark Brooks: Can someone pleeeaase explain this to me.

Romance Publisher Pairs with

Cupidcom_5PR NEWSWIRE -- Apr 11 -- Dorchester Publishing will sponsor speed-dating events in five  major cities: New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, and Chicago. Dorchester will offset the cost of these events for attendees by 30% and give away romances and thrillers, as well as dating tips written by romance authors.  RELEASE @ SYS-CON

Speed Dating Research Hopes to get to Heart of Matchmaking

THE GUARDIAN -- Apr 5 -- To budding Casanovas it is the finest of arts, but to a team of scientists, it is a pig of a problem: what is the best technique for seduction? Researchers, along with Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, is hoping to find the answer are staging a mass speed dating experiment to reveal the most effective strategy for pulling a partner. Over an evening of 500 dates, psychologists will tease out the topic of conversation that emerges as the best for showing quickly whether a couple are well suited or doomed to failure.  FULL ARTICLE @ THE GUARDIAN

The Prof and Speed-Dating

WELWYN & HATFIELD TIMES -- Mar 15 -- University of Hertfordshire professor, Richard Wiseman, will lead the world's first mass experiment on the science of speed-dating to uncover the secret of finding the perfect partner.  Professor Wiseman, 40, hopes to discover whether people with different personalities get on best, or whether similarity is the secret of success.  FULL ARTICLE @ WELWYN & HATFIELD TIMES

Mark Brooks: eHarmony matches on similarity.  TRUE and PerfectMatch less so.

Scientists to Study Speed Dating

Study_of_speeddatingBBC NEWS -- Feb 15 -- Scientists are planning to stage a mass speed dating experiment to discover whether opposites really do attract. They are seeking 200 people to take part in the event, which will be part of this year's Edinburgh International Science Festival in April. The study is being carried out under Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire.  FULL ARTICLE @ BBC NEWS

Mark Brooks: Small world.  I studied at University of Hertfordshire in UK.  I'll connect with Professor Wiseman.

TiVo Speed Dating Event

Tivo_1PRNewswire --Feb 13 -- Hundreds of singles will gather in San Francisco for a TiVo singles mixer.  FULL ARTICLE @ SYS-CON MEDIA

Fast and Furious

SpeeddatingSOUTH BEND TRIBUNE -- Jan 17 -- Before you write off the South Bend-area dating scene completely, take a moment to consider a more modern method. Speed dating. Participants discretely circle "Let's Talk Again" next to the names of those they clicked with. After the event, participants log on to and find out the results. More than two-thirds of participants come away with at least one match.  FULL ARTICLE @ SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE

Mark Brooks: Speed dating offers more instant gratification.

Dating Singles Start Off New Year with Hi-Tech Interactive Mixer

OnekeyawayPR WEB -- Jan 1 -- and Sofitel San Francisco Bay hotel are teaming up to host a series of upscale, interactive singles mixers.  Part psychology, part technology, mixer events incorporate a hi-tech device, which measures one's personality compatibility with another person's. The device serves as both an icebreaker as well as a matchmaking tool. OneKeyAway participants get to meet face-to-face and unlike the various speed dating service events, there is no obligation to speak to a certain person.  RELEASE @ PR WEB

Mark Brooks: Some people prefer more freedom than speed dating events offer. Others prefer the more rigid format. will host the worlds largest simultaneous speed dating events in the world on Feb 8th. 

Irish Speed Dating Movie

Hugh_oconor_actor_in_speeddating RTE -- Nov 23 -- Filming starts on Irish film 'Speed Dating' on location in Dublin.  The cast includes Hugh O'Connor (My Left Foot) and Emma Choy (The Vanguard). It is about a speed dating addict who ends up in hospital with amnesia after an encounter with a mysterious stranger. The police believe that he has some involvement in the disappearance of a young woman and he has to try and figure out what happened.  RELEASE @ RTE

Mark Brooks: Internet dating and speed dating are getting a bad rap these days. 

Speed Dating Xfactor?

XfactordatesPR WEB -- Oct 26 -- After being locked up in the Big Brother house for weeks on end this summer, a celebrity speed dater is now well and truly "out" and looking for a great night on the town. With the new craze sweeping the globe, what better way to meet 20+ single gay men than at a top speed dating event. Hosted by at London's No.1 Gay Members Club "The Shadow Lounge" in Soho. Since 2003, over 26,000 people enlisted the help of Xfactordates in their quest to find a partner; 30 cities.  RELEASE @ PR WEB

Mark Brooks: Speed dating provides instant gratification for daters. 

5,000 Singles Search for Partners at Biggest Dating Party Ever

Thestaronline-- Oct 25 -- Turnout at the eagerly awaited, largest matchmaking party in China on Saturday evening did not disappoint.  About 5,000 single men and women converged on Zhongshan Park in search of their soulmates at the event billed as "meet and mate."  The criteria for entry was strict: Only white-collar workers with at least a college education and aged between 20 and 45.  The four-hour party, which started at 4pm, was spiced up with various games featuring couples and an eight-minute speed dating session.  To add to the romantic atmosphere, each participant was given a rose upon entry, to be given to the "right" person.  FULL ARTICLE @ THE STAR ONLINE

Mark Brooks: 5000 people!  That's insane.  Cupid has the strongest singles events position with it's acquisition of Predating in 2004.  Match killed it's event service, Matchlive, last year.  Word on the street is that larger players are still very interested in events, but have bigger fish to fry right now.  Events are tough, risky, and don't earn enough money to be worthwhile.  But, they do spur great word of mouth, if done right...and terrible, crucifying word-of mouth if done poorly...they're a double edged sword, for sure.  They are also a nice differentiator.  I guided and recommended Cupid's acquisition of Predating.  Cupid 'owns' radio.  They market exclusively via radio, and radio loves events.  They've grappled with the Predating acquisition but they have by far the strongest position of any online dating site when it comes to events, which will enhance their attractiveness as an acquisition target in the future. 

Speed Dating Makes Inroads in India

NprALL THINGS CONSIDERED -- Oct 18 -- Speed dating has taken root in India, mixing traditional and modern ideas about love. Some of the clientele -- mostly young professionals who can afford the fee -- are sent by their families to find a partner, while others lie to their families about what they're doing. LISTEN TO STORY @ NPR

Mark Brooks: Keep your eyes on

Virtual Matchmaking; Online Dating Goes Mainstream

MadcitymatchCAPITAL TIMES --July 28 -- Madison entrepreneur Dan Chin launched to provide a local option to the various national services. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 9% of those online use dating services. A report out this spring by comScore Networks cited online personals and dating as the fastest growing category of paid Web content, growing 4.4% to $469.5 million from 2003 to 2004.  Chin began after piloting a site aimed at University of Wisconsin-Madison students, has attracted 550 members so far.  He'll add speed dating to's service and is also thinking about background checks. FULL ARTICLE @CAPITAL TIMES

Mark Brooks: is taking the regional approach also.

Speed dating! Women One Up on Men

TIMES NEWS NETWORK -- JULY 26 -- The time, place and reason are all just right. Leather couches, candle-lit ambience and a rainy weather on a Sunday evening, just the perfect time for romance and that is what the 30-odd people present here at a speeddating soiree are looking for! Well, for the guys attending, it’s great. As one of the 13 participants puts it, “You get the chance to meet 15 beautiful women in one night.” As for the girls? It’s not for nothing that they say girls just wanna have fun! We spot a group of four young 20-something enthusiasts who are all here, ‘just to have some fun!’ And a stray comment among those around: “Women are much more adventurous than men!” You bet! Girl:Hi! Guy: Hi! I am Manoj Girl: Hi! Manoj, I am Kiran. What do you do? Guy: Actually, I have come down from Dubai for a friend’s wedding. So, I am here for fun. (And the conversation carries on) BTW, we think this one has worked out. FULL ARTICLE @ TIMES OF INDIA

Mark Brooks: Speed dating is alive and well and working it's way around the globe.

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. 

Online Personals Watch Exclusive Interview #7 -'s CEO

Cupid_ceo OPW CEO INTERVIEW -- July 1 -- probably has the best dating domain in the industry.  Who else can claim 2,000 years of branding history?  Cupid offers a fast track sign up process, does a great job of displaying real pictures of real users on their home page, and has successfully integrated Predating (the world's largest speed dating company) into  Mark Brooks, Editor of Online Personals Watch, interviews Eric Straus,’s CEO and co-founder. 

What lessons from your radio station owner days have you applied to your time as Cupid's CEO?
Our advertising is done almost exclusively through our partner radio stations so I have used a lot of the radio knowledge I have when I’ve pitched them on  Beyond that, running a business is running a business and personnel issues are personnel issues, regardless of whether you’re running a radio group or an internet company.

What would you have done differently had you known better?
I would have gotten the domain a lot earlier so I didn’t have to pay through the nose for it.  We would have started our localization campaign and we would have gone into the events business earlier as well.  I think our radio and our local focus are very related.  Localism is our niche so having local events in our markets is our competitive and branding advantage over other dating sites.   

How do events help?
If you go to and type in your zip code, in addition to finding local singles you also find all these local events that are near you.  And we're rolling out more coordinators in more cities.  They will become our singles experts in those markets.  Our ability to do local events and have local experts is our advantage.  The singles experts will provide additional local content; local advice, places to go on dates etc.   This speaks to our localism.

Are you still glad you acquired Predating?
Yes.  We feel our whole selling proposition is localism. has mass.  eharmony has scientific matching.  We have localism.  The acquisition of Predating really helped in those efforts.   We have 70 people on the ground and well soon have 100 on the ground, and that’s not something any other dating site has.  There will be other opportunities down the road for other events such as lock and key parties.  Well offer larger singles events, which we think would be especially attractive to our radio station partners. 

Cupid is built on radio affiliate marketing, how did you get away with that?   
While I was still owner and manager of my radio stations in upstate New York many of my radio advertising clients said they were having trouble recruiting people. I thought a local job site promoted by my radio stations could help them fill their openings.  I approached Steve Bywater (now CTO) and Bob Chieffo (now COO) and we built  We had 1,800 radio stations on the Regional Help Wanted side, and many asked for a second product. We thought radio was the perfect marketing medium for a dating site.   I mean, what medium reaches single adults more consistently than radio? The internet space is crowded enough as you can see when buying keywords and online advertising.  It made sense as a business model for our radio partners.  This is where my experience as a radio station owner comes into play.  I’m able to talk the talk with these guys.

Cupid is typically around the 12th largest online dating site according to Hitwise.  What are your goals for growth?
We would love to be in the top five.  We’re looking at possible acquisitions right now and doing some online marketing.   Well do more work with radio stations and further improve our conversion rates, even though they’re very good right now.   

What do you think of True background checks legislation?
I think this legislation is totally bogus.  A brilliant play to get PR.  It probably won’t pass.  It shouldn’t, but if it does, more power to them.  As a businessman I have a lot of respect for what they are trying to do.  I respect them for giving it the old college try.  A lot of guys (other dating companies) think how could they do such a thing?  They have to worry about their own business.  If this legislation passes it puts them in a great situation.   I don’t think it will, but more power to the guys at for thinking this up.

What do you think of eharmony?
The concept is total b.s. and the marketing plan is brilliant, and I wish I’d thought of it first.  Scientific matching is total unadulterated b.s., but I think it is brilliant mktg.  Dr Warren is a marketing genius.  I don’t think he does any better job at matching than or any other dating site.  He just came up with a great marketing ploy.  He designed a great way to solve the problem of women being inundated and guys being ignored that you (Mark Brooks) highlighted for us.  Also, because of the perceived value of this scientific matching hocus pocus, they’re able to charge double.  I can tell you from the emails we get from customers, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction.  They complain its a pain in the ass to do.  Users have told us they like to quickly be able to get, do searches and open communication.  I don’t think you can scientifically decide the best matches.  There are 10,000 women out there that are right for you and its up to timing and circumstance to get together with them.  I can't emphasize enough I think its a genius marketing ploy.   If you asked me if I'd consider dating a Republican female, I'd say no.  I’m a liberal, Jewish and a democrat.  However under the right circumstances I might.  Just take James Carville, Clinton's campaign manager and Mary Matilin who was campaign manager for Bush.  They were arch rivals but  they fell in love and got married.   

We work with a professor at MIT who explained to us something very interesting.  If you look at relationships as a continuum, with the far left end representing never having met someone before, or talked, and the right end representing getting married, how far along the line do you thing online dating gets you?   eharmony proposes they get you  much further along.  I would argue neither eharmony or Cupid get you far along.  Meeting face to face is what gets you further along.  eharmony suggests  you can do more.  Face to face is where it counts; how they smell, how they laugh.  There are a lot of little things you cannot do online.  Online dating allows users to learn a few things about each other.  The eharmony concept is, in my view bullshit.    

Mark Brooks: Your comments please.  Please make sure to add your signature into your comment.  Anonymous comments will be removed.  Thanks ;-)

UK Big Brother Does Speed Dating

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS -- June 16 -- The uninhibited UK Big Brother housemates have thrown themselves enthusiastically into speed dating - with naughty nurse Makosi bagging two smooches in just one night.  Anthony romantically described his action-filled time with Makosi: "Me and Makosi was just bish, bosh!"   FULL ARTICLE @ YAHOO

Mark Brooks: Alas...bish, bosh has not made it into the UK dictionary yet...but you know what it means I'm sure.  London speak for 'they got on rather well.'

Fast Friends: Three-minute Conversations Can Help Singles Connect

DECATUR HERALD REVIEW -- June 13 -- Speed dating has gained popularity in larger cities and is starting to emerge in Decatur.  Jan Gist-Niesman, owner of Just One More, decided she wanted to help singles connect by running speed dating events. "Did you bring your medical records with you?" she asked each man, which seemed to break the ice and got a few chuckles.  One attendee said, "if there is no spark (with a woman) the first time, then it won't work."  Speed dating was first introduced last summer at Gregory's Grille in Decatur.  Unfortunately, more than 30 women showed up and only two men.  Scott Jones, organizer, said more mature adults gravitate to the events.  "People need a little help meeting each other, especially in this age group (older than 30).  We are also an affiliate of, but people get caught up in that e-mail hell and never make the jump to meeting in person."  FULL ARTICLE @ HERALD REVIEW

Mark Brooks: The three big national speed dating companies are #1 Predating (now owned by, #2 Hurrydate (speedating in combination with online dating), #3 8 Minute Dating (Tom Jaffee's service is ripe for acquisition)

Speed Dating and the Art of Instant Love

HINDUSTAN TIMES -- June 13 -- Two years ago speed dating was an alien concept in India.  The inventors of Speed dating, modified an age-old Jewish dating technique to work in today's world and literally hundreds of organizations have copied the idea; it's become a worldwide phenomenon.  According to London speed dating company,, speed dating is an expanding business and is part of a market worth in excess of £600 Million. According to, dating is a little-researched market and is a now a $1.08 billion business in the US, as online dating services have skyrocketed in popularity since 2001. The Web has revolutionized this business and has brought affordable and convenient matchmaking to the masses. Dating website revenues grew 40% last year and Europe and Asia is the next untapped market.  FULL ARTICLE @ HINDUSTAN TIMES

Rich Gosse on San Francisco Singles

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- June 12 -- The Money Talks PR stunt of the week goes to...the Society of Single Professionals for a speech by dating expert Rich Gosse, the Marin PR guy who you may remember ran for governor on the singles platform.  Gosse is headlining the "Singles Extravaganza" at the Marriott Hotel and says, despite San Francisco's reputation as a gay mecca, Baghdad by the Bay is a "straight singles' paradise."  In his winning press release, Gosse says it is not true that all San Francisco men are married, gay or dead. "Even after you subtract the 24% of single men in San Francisco who are gay, there are still more heterosexual bachelors to meet, per capita, than in most large cities in America. If San Francisco women think it's tough to meet a man, they should try New York City, where there is a surplus of over 700,000 single women over single men!"  FULL ARTICLE @ SF GATE

Mark Brooks: Rich has been running singles events for years.  He started American Singles and sold it to Matchnet (now Spark).  He still runs the 'Society of American Singles,' as a non-profit, and runs events and flirting conventions in the Bay Area and as far afield as Australia.

Events - Fresh Ways to Find Your Mate

Lock_and_key_eventsREDNOVA -- Apr 27 -- Lock and Key Events turn an evening at a bar into an icebreaker. All of the men get keys, the women locks, on a chain to be worn around the wrist or neck. People search for the key and lock that fit together - and when they find a match, they get a raffle ticket for a drawing as well as a new lock or key to continue the game. Christan Marashio, owner of, got involved after working for a speed dating company. With "Click at a Flick" for the price of a movie ticket, singles get to mingle and enjoy free martinis from Svedka for an hour and a half before the movie begins. Presented by Loews Cineplex and lavalife.  Chris Gonsalves knew he had found a need in the Boston area when 42 people showed up to his first planning meeting for a singles club. Known as, the club has grown in seven years to reach 80 towns and has about 500 members, from the 20s on up. Members plan activities, from game nights to ski weekends to hikes.  You don't have to be single to join the Boston Young Professionals Association, but it does provide some singles events along with its other activities. The association boasts more than 9,000 members, all ages 21-40, who choose from three to five events per week. FULL ARTICLE @ REDNOVA

SpeedDater Goes Mobile

Speeddater_speed_dating_events NETIMPERATIVE -- Apr 18 -- UK dating brand SpeedDater has launched a new mobile dating service, in partnership with mobile media firm Enpocket.  SpeedDater Mobile enables singles to search for dates on their mobiles by inputting their own profile and picture, then viewing other user profiles via their phone. Users can also send and receive chat requests to have conversations with other members.  FULL ARTICLE @ NETIMPERATIVE

Mark Brooks: Speeddater has a funky 'design your fream date' feature.  Unique, but I couldn't find the design for a lady I liked.

Dating in the City

GREATER MILWAUKIE TODAY -- Apr 15 -- Most have heard of the concept of "speed dating." The FastDater process consists of three minute "dates." From there, participants are able to rate and select whom they’d like to date again. If a match is made, via e-mail the pair is contacted for further communication.  I subscribed to, and The matches that had been made for me by the futuristic, ultra complex computer were not exactly what I was looking for.  Says a DJ user,"I do believe many people misrepresent themselves and embellish on their looks, but I would do it again. In fact, quite a few couples that have used my DJ service met online and got married. Go figure."  Milwaukee resident Heather Lane met her husband, Anthony, through " was recommended by friends. I went into it with an open attitude and by the third date, I met him.  It was fun and I’m definitely happy, he’s a great guy."  FULL ARTICLE @ GMTODAY

Mark Brooks: PreDating is still the leading spee dating company.  I helped Cupid tie the knot with them last year.  Hurrydate and 8 Minute Dating follow on. Acquires #1 Speed Dating Company

NEW YORK, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ --, a leading online dating service, today announced its acquisition of PreDating, America's largest speed dating company. PreDating is the leading provider of speed dating events for single professionals in the U.S. and run local events in more than 70 cities around the country. "There's no turn downs and no pressure at these events. We searched for the perfect singles event and PreDating is it!," commented Mark Brooks,'s VP Marketing & Business Development.

Mark Brooks: I joined Cupid to make this happen.  An industry first.  ;-)  No other online dating site has integrated singles events into their offerings like this.  Match dumped their events division recently.  It's far more efficient just to focus on one event format that plays into online dating.  Match actually used my club as part of their inspiration set.  Ooops.  ACE is very unwieldy.  Works fine as a little club.  It's a pig to scale.   

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 NETIMPERATIVE

Pre-Dating Announces Position as World’s Largest Speed Dating Company

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) Sep 16, 2004 -- ...Pre-Dating has emerged as the leader in speed dating which is widely considered the most popular dating trend in the country. Pre-Dating holds monthly speed dating events in 65 metro markets with 8 Minute Dating in 52 markets, and HurryDate with 37 markets worldwide. PRWEB

New Denver Singles Dinner Club - Eight at Eight

DENVER, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent Forbes article listed Denver as the number one city for singles...Eight at Eight offers a social event that involves four single women, four single men and dinner at 8pm. Membership Director Mindy Shwayder brought the Eight at Eight franchise to Denver after learning about Denver's favorable single demographics. According to a Denver-based research firm, 30% of males and 23% of females in Denver's population of 554,636 have never been married..."We have taken away the personal side of dating through online services, chat rooms and speed dating...Eight at Eight brings back the human element to dating." YAHOO NEWS

Speed Dating Services Becoming Big Business

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- ...Dating services are all the rage. Most professionals who are single say they don't want to meet their soul mates in venues where there is more beer on the floor than love in the air. ...Around the country many companies have attempted to address these complaints by playing Cupid and are making some big bucks from lonely singles. ...Marketdata states that "Introduction services" are riding a wave of popularity, fueled by the proliferation of dating-related reality TV shows and estimates the dating services market to be a $1.08 billion business in the U.S. YAHOO NEWS