Rapid Decline of the Dating Industry.

Facebook is exploding in canada, its so popular here my members refer to it as Crackbook,  it now accounts for 17.6% of its world wide traffic according to alexa,   USA is only 40 and it has 10 times the population.

The effect on the dating industry has been  brutal  Ie lavalife & plentyoffish,   Lavalife has declined  60% in the last 4 months,    and 36% in the last 3 months.   http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=lavalife.com/&url=lavalife.com

Even i’ve been hit hard losing tens of thousands of active members per week in canada.  

The US currently lags world trends because there are so many cultural differences in the US.   Look at how different people in New York LA and Alabama are.   Another year or 2 of social networking growth in the US and companies like Match.com,  True.com  are in serious trouble,  although I don’t think Eharmony will feel much of an impact.  

42 Responses to “Rapid Decline of the Dating Industry.”

  1. johnny pizza Says:

    Ha someone has even made a dumb website using crackbook.com

  2. Baron VC » links for 2007-05-01 Says:

    [...] Rapid Decline of the Dating Industry. Facebook is killing the dating industry. (tags: social_network) [...]

  3. Immad Says:

    Have you got plans of adapting plentyoffish in the face of this threat or do you think plentyoffish will still have a place (with smaller numbers)?

  4. Saïd Amin Says:

    I love the the “shock and awe” effect of your blogs Markus. For better or worse, one is always left feeling something when reading most of your posts =)

    The continued rise of social networks is probably more of a thorn for free sites than it is for paying ones. Heck, think about it, MySpace will allow paying sites to advertise but not free sites like P of F…hmmm. The paid dating industry is proving that it can squeeze out more profits with less traffic. Free sites that depend on millions of page views to make a nickel are going to be hard pressed to makeup lost revenue due to diminishing member sign up, return visits and page views.

    The hybrid model (paid/free) wasn’t working for HotOrNot so they punted and made it 100% free – maybe the hybrid model would work better for PofF given your demographics, that I suspect skew higher than HotOrNot’s. I’m sure you’re also out there trying to fetch a higher CPM to offset the loss in revenue and traffic that you are experiencing.

    Life,
    -S

  5. Sam Moorcroft Says:

    Could we be seeing the demise of free dating, hmmm?;-)

  6. shilohautumn Says:

    Dating industry? Doesn’t that just somehow sound wrong? Guess matchmaking is an ancient profession, all the same. “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…. :) (For those of you who’re familiar with the musical Fiddler on the Roof…)

  7. Saïd Amin Says:

    Hi Sam….demise of free dating? Nah, Markus just needs to add more “fun stuff” for his members to chew on. Give them the ability to add HTML to their profiles, embed video clips, etc. and he’ll kick some derrière.

  8. Mike Says:

    Naw, POF doesn’t need to support HTML and video clips and such, it just needs more gimmicks, like “roses”, or lame little “pictures” that cost “points” to send to other members. Everyone knows thats what keeps people coming back!

  9. Martin Says:

    Am sure we will all survive ;)

  10. Cartel Says:

    There’s even a http://www.crackspace.com

  11. phisher Says:

    I would agree. I have been on and off pof for a few months now. Started with facebook a couple months ago and I have met more fine ladies from facebook then I have on pof. I think the friends of friends thing really helps with facebook and same for the poking.

  12. Martin Reed Says:

    I would also be interested in hearing how you plan on addressing this threat to your business.

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  14. Shanti Braford Says:

    So what are your plans?

    I know you’ll think of (or already have) something.

  15. dating123 Says:

    I don’t really get the facebook thing as you got to register to see anything and I don’t want to bother with that but now I may give it a go. I think plentyoffish will survive nicely as there will always be new trends but old fathefull sites should always be there as people will come back after the latest fad fades. I do think Saïd Amin’s idea for a customizable home page where people can ad some of their own personality to their page is a good idea. Maybe good enough to try myself.

  16. Ottawa Computers Says:

    Wow it always amazes how fast change happens online. I’ve become a victim of the facebook addiction myself.

    Justin

  17. Zoltan Says:

    The free dating industry will definitely not die. You just always need new features and members to keep the site alive.

  18. Todd Says:

    I’m afraid your post doesn’t pay off your headline. Why exactly is the dating industry in decline? Facebook doesn’t really suffice as an answer.

    Here in the us especially.

  19. jeremyjacobs Says:

    On-line dating, speed-dating, singles “do’s” are all rubbish, unless you are looking for a quick fling or a superficial relationship.

    If you are looking for the woman/man of your dreams then just do what you do and meet someone naturally.

  20. PlentyofFish Is Now EChemistry.com » Online Dating Insider Says:

    [...] given that he’s at a stalemate about what direction to take PoF in since Facebook has been stealing a good portion of his traffic, it looks as if he has set his sights on eHarmony and [...]

  21. Lovin.mobi » PlentyofFish Is Now EChemistry.com Says:

    [...] given that he’s at a stalemate about what direction to take PoF in since Facebook has been stealing a good portion of his traffic, it looks as if he has set his sights on eHarmony and [...]

  22. Tim Says:

    Hi Markus,

    Just out of curiosity, why do you think that eHarmony will escape the impact of the shift from dating services to social media?

  23. David Deangelo Fan Says:

    Tim, I assume he means because eharmony is aimed more at serious relationships, whereas sites like facebook are just there for a bit of fun.

    Interesting post too, by the way :)

  24. Facebook Killing Online Dating? - Matthew Botos Says:

    [...] an interesting assertion: Facebook’s growing popularity is causing a Rapid Decline of the Dating Industry. Perhaps it’s more of a pruning; graphing eHarmony and the author’s own Plenty Of Fish [...]

  25. Henry Says:

    I don’t think dating sites will fade anytime soon despite the popularity of social networks. Dating sites are focused or dedicated applications that address the need to find a date. Social networks otoh are broad in that they cover freindships, professional relationships, bands and so on. It’s true that people find dates on social networks but it is more an afterthought.

  26. joe Says:

    I really don’t think that facebook or myspace are what is having an effect on the dating industry. For one, on facebook you can only view people in your network, search options are limited on both, and people are wary for stalkers(private profiles everywhere). Most people are not on myspace or facebook for dating, they are there to find old friends. dating sites, free or not, are sure to have a network of people who are looking for a date, browsing profiles for that purpose and have somekind of information regarding their interests. Perhaps the decline in the dating industry is due to the innumerable sites popping all over the net, the fish were just given a bigger sea. The keyto surviving this industry is differentiation, reinvent the dating sites. People are not going to stop dating, are not going to start becoming less shy, proffesionals are not going to have more time.

  27. Mark Firehammer Says:

    Consider that perhaps the shift from pay dating sites to free dating sites is simply a matter of dissatisfied paying customers moving to whichever free version of the online dating game that appeals to them. Like Joe just said, people are not going to stop dating. I’ll add, but if I’m paying for a service that is not making the difference for me, I’ll do the same thing for free and save my money. Yes, the fact that the barriers and costs associated with building a dating web site are lower which invites more players to build free sites also makes a difference. Sure, having more choices is going to result in customers moving from pay to free models, especially as long as both models are virtually the same in terms of the value they offer. But let’s be honest, when the customer switches a big part of the switch is that he/she hasn’t been successful at the paid sites.

    All this talk about a proprietary test for personality profiling being the key to a free dating web sites success against the paid sites makes sense, but only in the context of competing by leveling the value playing field between the two models. Whichever model, paid or free that offers an added value that makes a genuine difference for the customer is going to be the model that wins. Not gadgets, new ways to communicate, or another variation of an expert created test. I’m talking about real value, that lets the customer understand chemistry according to their desires and their experience, not some expert who doesn’t know them and doesn’t ask them anything about what they’re looking for on the chemistry level. Why don’t they ask that? Because it’s invisible and while you can feel chemistry you don’t know what it’s made of. That makes it impossible to ask for it, especially online and anonymous.

    Compatikey.com has an application that can be added to any paid or free dating or social networking web site. Compatikey allows the user to actually see a representation of the chemistry in any existing or possible relationship. So far nobody on either side of the business model war taken the time to give it a good look but in the current environment, it is only matter of time. Compatikey is not a personality test that uses expert opinions to decide who belongs with who based upon their analysis of the invisible dimensions of chemistry as revealed by a series of questions carefully chosen by the experts. In fact, Compatikey is not test at all, the only thing required are birthdates for all records involved. That makes it a pretty easy integration. Once the birth data is present, Compatikey uses the combined data sets used by astrologers and numerologists to allow you to see in graphical representation what invisible combinations your best have in common, and in what invisible combinations your worst relationships have in common. To know which invisible combinations lead to relationship successes and failures, most often and by a large margin, is the opportunity to select the successful invisible combinations in advance. You see, with Compatikey the customer is the expert with regard to chemistry and how it served them in the past. Understand that in the user/expert can now apply their new understanding about chemistry on their terms, to the choice of new relationships. Site owners, Skeptical? OK, understandable because you’ve never seen it. But don’t let skepticism stand in the way of looking at and assessing the possibility for your company. The stakes are high. Someone will win this game.

  28. tallgirl Says:

    More and more single friends feel too busy to date, then they turn to online dating. Do most singles find their match online? Do you think it is better to go to general dating site or niche dating site? I once visite a niche dating site
    tallhub.com, it is for tall singles to date tall partner. I found that most members on that site are really seriouse on love.

  29. Karen Says:

    I think that you will be seeing a lot more of the so called “niche” dating sites springing up and taking a small chunk out of the “big 3″ in this year. While facebook and the others have their draws, the simple fact is that they are not bonified “online dating sites” and as such people don’t normally flock to them when looking online for a partner as much as they would to the bonified online dating services.

  30. Robin Says:

    Dating sites are far from dead, in fact they are growing as more and more social network sites thrive.

  31. kAREN Says:

    Markus,

    Please contact me at the email address I provided. I would like to run something by you but cannot seem to find your email address anywhere online.

    Regards,

    Karen

    (please delete this post as well after you read it)

  32. Marty (not the same as Martin) Says:

    It hardly surprises me to hear online dating is in decline. I recently went to a speed dating party, and participation was half of what it was just 2 years ago. The problem, Markus, is that online dating tried in just a few short years to change people’s dating behaviors which are decades old (as well as too many of us singles who abused the system). You’re learning the hard way that online dating is just like anything else, when people don’t get the results they want from it, they’ll give it up and look for an alternative. Unfortunately for the online dating industry, it has tried so hard to practically establish a monopoly on dating, that it’s falling that much harder now.

  33. Online Dating Lover Says:

    ever one seem the be jumping on the online dating band wagon it seems like easy money for some people

  34. fornetti Says:

    I do not believe this

  35. Dating Reviews Says:

    The Spanks Network seems to be doing well. Online dating seems to be tapering off, but there is a stable market

  36. DatingTheUK Says:

    wow i cant beleave this how long has pof been calling other sites about having to pay for membership lol

  37. Brenda Neale Says:

    Lavalife has no duty of care. I was hunted by two stalkers on lavalife intimate. They produced hundreds of profiles. Search in all the wayout countries for men and you will see the profiles with 5.11 as the height produced on or around the same day. They go on to other online dating sites and steal photos and information from the people they talk to. They also targeted the men I talked to online. They also targeted the children in my family through their bebo sites. They are crazy.

  38. Jennifer Says:

    I dont think sites like myspace or facebook will kill off POF. However I do believe other free dating sites like DateandRate.com are a real threat this site mixes Dating and Social networking which if I was POF id definitely keep an eye on.

  39. jebanje Says:

    Yes, a i agree.I think I know somewhere like for example, will find it and set

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  42. PlentyofFish Is Now EChemistry.com | Free Dating PortalFree Dating Portal Says:

    […] given that he’s at a stalemate about what direction to take PoF in since Facebook has been stealing a good portion of his traffic, it looks as if he has set his sights on eHarmony and […]

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