The OPW/iDate Weekly News Summary.
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Bumble Is Open to a Future IPO
WALL STREET JOURNAL - Nov 14 - Speaking at The Wall Street Journal's WSJ Tech D.Live conference on Wednesday, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said an IPO could give her company more momentum to expand further internationally. Wolfe Herd founded the dating app in 2014 as a site where women must make the first move. The company now has ~45M users and is profitable, she said. Still, an IPO is more of an option than a necessity for Bumble right now. Wolfe Herd said her company's next phase of growth isn't contingent on raising this money this way and noted the offering is far from certain. "We're exploring a lot of different options right now," Wolfe Herd said.
Tinder Is Launching the 'Swipe Surge'
WIRED - Nov 15 - Tinder is testing a new feature called Swipe Surge, which sends a push notification when usage is spiking in a specific geographic area. During those periods, Tinder says the odds of finding a match are increased. Swipe Surges are triggered by a number of variables, including when activity in an area is two times normal averages. Users in cities where Swipe Surge is being tested can expect to receive around one notification a week. Tinder says surges tend to occur on Monday nights, though they can happen at any time. A surge might happen in response to a local event, like a music festival or conference. The company also says that in some cities, like New York, surges may happen later at night than elsewhere.
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Chappy Partners With Glaad to Raise Funds for LGBTQ Community
THE DRUM - Nov 12 - Gay dating app Chappy is partnering with LGBTQ advocacy group Glaad. The partnership, called 'Chats for Charity', is designed to raise money for the organization with each chat session initiated on the app. This feature will become a fixture of the app in 2019, but Chappy will begin donating immediately. Chappy has also appointed Adam Cohen-Aslatei as its new managing director to be based in the company's New York City headquarters.
The Meet Group to Raise $10K for Action Against Hunger
PRESS RELEASE - Nov 15 - The Meet Group's members (MeetMe, Skout and Tagged) have been successful in raising $10K for Alex's Lemonade Stand in September and $10K for Ryan's Well Foundation in August. This month, the Meet Group is partnering with Action Against Hunger. The campaign is set to launch today (Nov 15) to raise an additional $10K to fight global hunger. The company will offer a limited edition virtual gift in its MeetMe, Skout, and Tagged mobile apps. For every gift sent to broadcasters, The Meet Group will donate $0.25. Action Against Hunger has led the global fight against hunger for ~40 years. The organization is committed to doubling the number of children who receive urgent hunger care, from 3M to 6M by 2020.
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Shady Data Brokers Are Selling Online Dating Profiles by the Millions
MOTHERBOARD - Nov 14 - Tactical Tech and artist Joana Moll bought one million dating profiles for $153 from the data broker USDate. The profiles came from numerous dating sites including Match, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid. The datasets included usernames, email addresses, gender, age, sexual orientation, interests, profession, as well as detailed physical and personality traits and 5M photos. USDate claims on its website that the profiles it's selling are "genuine and that the profiles were created and belong to real people actively dating today and looking for partners." Most of the dating app companies that Moll contacted to comment on the practice of selling users' data to third parties didn't respond, she said. USDate did speak with her, and told her it was completely legal. In the company's frequently asked questions section on its website, it states that it sells "100% legal dating profiles as we have permission from the owners. Selling fake profiles is illegal because generated fake profiles use real people's photos without their permission."
Bumble Launches BumbleSpot, Verified Locations Where Users Can Meet Matches in Real Life
BUSTLE - Nov 8 - The first BumbleSpot partnership is with Moxy Hotels, Marriott International's experiential brand, where official Spots will be at eight of their locations: two in New York (Times Square and the Financial District), and one apiece in Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Seattle, Tempe, and Minneapolis. Bumble will be rolling out more Spots throughout the year at various restaurants, bars, and coffee shops across the U.S. and Canada, and in some international locations in 2019. Some of the BumbleSpot locations will have Bumble benefits and promotions, too. For instance, with the Moxy partnership, Bumble users will receive complimentary access to Moxy's workspace for entrepreneurs on the go, food discounts, two-for-one cocktail specials.
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Tinder's Head of Product Has Left
TECH CRUNCH - Nov 14 - Tinder's chief product officer Brian Norgard wants to get back to his entrepreneurial roots, citing former PayPal executive-turned-venture capitalist Keith Rabois as inspiration. Norgard, who joined Tinder as part of the acquisition of his Kleiner Perkins-backed ephemeral messaging startup Tappy in 2014, has confirmed that he's left Tinder to focus on building products and investing in early-stage businesses. Tinder has not yet identified his successor, but Norgard says "it's all positive vibes" between him and the company. Norgard began as Tinder's head of revenue before being promoted to the chief product role in late 2016. Prior to joining Tinder via Tappy, he co-founded two other successful startups: Chill, a Facebook app that garnered 30M users, and adtech startup Newroo, which was acquired by FOX Interactive in 2006.
Personals, a New Instagram Dating Community for LGBT, to Launch as a Dating App
FORBES - Nov 14 - Kelly Rakowski didn't intend to start a dating service, especially not one based on the seemingly antiquated personal ad. With her upcoming app, Personals, however, Rakowski is demonstrating that personal ads may be far from obsolete. It started with an accidental discovery. For four years, Rakowski had been running the popular Instagram account, @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y, which showcases lesbian culture throughout history, when she found a group of personal ads written in the back of some 80s and 90s lesbian magazines. After a while, she asked the @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y community to submit personal ads of their own. As she posted the submitted ads, people began using them to connect. There were so many submissions that Rakowski had to start a separate Instagram account, which she has run for the past two years. Now, there are even too many submissions for that account to sustain. That's where the dating app comes in. Personals will resemble the feel of Instagram and is designed for the LBTQ community. For now, it is not available to cisgender gay men because Rakowski feels there are already many options for them. "It's important for us to take our space first," she says.
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