Union Square Ventures funds OKcupid ???

I noticed this new post on  Fred Wilson’s blog mentioning Sam at Okcupid.   He mentions he recently met Sam got to know him etc.    Okcupid which is based in Union Square NYC raised 6 million from a mystery firm earlier this year and I now suspect it is Union Square Ventures

Okcupid got some publicity in the New York Post last week.

“OkCupid’s rapidly growing base of users sends 1 million e-mails and 4 million instant messages to each other per month, he said, adding that the site’s traffic now stands at 3 million page views per day.”

Sounds impressive  but those are the exact same stats okcupid release over a year and a half ago.  

Okcupid is a site that offers free tests and when you signup  you also become a “dater”.  The site gets massive traffic from all the links to its tests out there.   Check out technorati
and this google search for  “Commonly confused words” leads to 28,000 backlinks to okcupid alone.

Indeed.com shows that they are looking for 2 more workers  and they already have 12+ employees.  The site will no doubt continue to grow and get bigger as they put the 6 million to use.  

I wonder what will happen when Matchdoctor and others copy okcupid’s distribution strategy,  ie give away free tests to get 2-10k signups a day.

11 Responses to “Union Square Ventures funds OKcupid ???”

  1. John Says:

    Yeah, I’ve also seen OkCupid in CJ now, paying $1 per lead, so they must be going for a big push if they’ve put up the money to go the affiliate route with CJ. Not sure how they’re able to pay $1 per lead if their site is all free. Will they move to a paid model some time down the road?

  2. fred Says:


    Good analysis but wrong conclusion. As much as we like Sam and what he’s up to, we are not investors in OK Cupid.

    But I do wish them well.


  3. Andy Arnott Says:

    OkCupid may be making a push, but if you have ever used the site you will know that they really need to move away from the Quizzes as being their primary source of new sign ups (though it is a great way to attract new people to the site), not to mention the load times are enough to make anyone want to cry. Even on my 6mbps + cable connection the site crawls. This reminds me a lot of the Friendster issue, that should be priority one if they want to really break out.

    Paying $1 a lead is really not that bad of an idea, especially if that 1 person refers just a few friends…

  4. Markus Says:

    Okcupid in CJ? I haven’t seen them there.

    Fred, damn I was hoping I was right so much of it made sense, but i figured I could be wrong as it would have been your highest funding.

    Andy I see you have an affiliate program. I may do one, but I don’t find them all that great.

  5. OkCupid False Alarm, Boston Dating Industry » Online Dating Insider Says:

    […] Today, Markus incorrectly guessed that Union Square Ventures funded OkCupid to tune of $6 million earlier this year. BZZZZZ Wrong. I just got back from having a coffee (venti chai latte with soy) with OkCupid founder Sam Yagan in the Boston gardens. It was our first time meet and we lounged in the warm October New England sun, talking about our business pasts, why free dating could take even more users and revenue away from paid dating sites and the need for better metrics to measure success in the online dating space (advertisers want one number, site owners want another, users couldn’t care less about either). I found Sam to be an extra-sharp guy, knowledgeable about the power of “Free” and he has a track record (SparkNotes, eDonkey) and refreshing perspective that puts my confidence level in a good place when talking about the future of his business and the models that drive it. I’m always on the lookout for interesting free dating sites. The problem is that most don’t meet both criteria. Anyone can buy traffic, all it takes is the right amount of bank(True.com). I’m not sour on paid dating, just hearing from some kick-butt entrepreneurs who are hell-bent on making life for Match, Spark Networks and eHarmony miserable. A breath of fresh air. But Sam, seriously, take the damn beta sign off the home page. It’s about time there was another free dating site to talk about, besides PoF. Does Markus get his own conference track at iDate this year? Just kidding Markus, keep stirring up the pot, we need more people like you in the industry outrageous claims and all. Markus says he’s thinking about doing an affiliate program, I wonder how that’s going to work out? How many layers to the pyramid can PoF add to the mix? As always, show me the innovation/traffic/revenue and tell me a good story about why your site matters and I’m all ears. I had no idea Sam was only a few miles away in Cambridge. Boston recently lost 8 Minute Dating to Florida; Tom Jaffee was a frequent lunchmate, our offices were only a few blocks apart, Tom I miss you buddy. Every once in a while I see Nelson, who runs LoveAccess, in Boston, although he got married this summer, which may explain his absence at our past few industry lunches. Nelson has jumped on the personal matchmaking bandwagon. Nothing like getting members to pay someone else to pick people up for them. I love that model and I can’t wait to see if that actually works. Sam, you’re definitely invited to the next lunch. Are there any other Boston-area dating or social networking entrepreneurs that want to get together? Let me know and I’ll add you to the invite list for our next lunch, sometime in November. Who knows who else is lurking on here. The networking scene in Boston is pretty much spent after you hit a few rubber chicken dinners. In general I avoid them like the plague. This town is too small and unless you need legal advice or a CPA, I avoid handing out my business card whenever possible. Call it network protection. You gotta earn your right to LinkIn to me and most people at these things are mid-level Account People and social malware. Feels like it’s time to pony up and get some of that Boston internet buzz going again. Been very quiet the past few years, here’s to hoping that will change, because I really don’t want to move to San Francisco, much as I love visiting. Kind of how I feel about New York. Gregpc and I are going to throw some sort of social/tech networking event here soon. He used to to PR for eHarmony and is now at Weber Shandwick. Greg, I just redesigned my other blog and added you to my blogroll, you can quit bugging me now. Rumors, networking and rubber chickens, feels like Monday to me. […]

  6. Geoff Dodd Says:

    An affiliate program with revenue sharing is surely the best route to follow. Now if the site is freee then Markus knows how to monetize that baby. And word of mouth works best virally and naturally as PoF proved.

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  8. OKCupid Says:

    I have seen OKcupid in many places of affiliate programs, such as CJ, Adwords, etc… OK cupid advertise their dating site alot lately.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Rob Says:

    I keep finding myself in the position of recommending OKCupid to my friends. Anyone know how I can become an affiliate and cash in on the conversions?

  10. Shawn Sears Says:

    Great discussion, I will check back

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