When it comes to building social sites listening to users is a bad idea. The ones that want something the most are usually fringe users who want something very specific. For instance on my site there are 900,000 dailly users of which 2,000 use the forums. Of those 2000 users who use the forums less than 50% are actually single and even fewer are actively looking for someone.
Over 90% of suggestions for changes to the site come from this group of users, but these users represent less than 1/450 users on the site. Basically if there are good ideas out there that users are suggesting its ones that are standard features on other dating sites. Users do not suggest game changing features, in fact users are usually against them. Just look at facebook’s news feed, or eharmony, or match.com when it first launched etc etc. To create something game changing you have to be like apple, you just build interesting stuff and test it on users until you find something that works and then you release it to everyone.
I think the best example of a company doing that kind of stuff online today is Google, it acts like a cult, all the employees believe in google and believe they can do anything so they try everything. At google if anything goes wrong they will always put you in contact with the right person, and they build products that are dead simple and easy to use.
On the other hand you have companies like yahoo that are completely disfunctional, last year they owed me a few hundred thousand $. It took months and months of being passed along to different people who couldn’t make a decision or want to be responsible for anything until i finally got paid.
At google everyone acts as one, at yahoo it seems everyone acts for themselves. I have always followed a google like model since the very start. Name me a single hugely successful internet company that is driven and built by user suggestions. I can’t think of a single one, but I can think of a lot of sites/companies that have been created based on ones persons vision/execution.