The OPW/iDate Weekly News Summary.
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Coffee Meets Bagel Goes Anti-Tinder With a Redesign Focused on Profiles & Conversations
TECH CRUNCH - Dec 12 - Coffee Meets Bagel is announcing a significant makeover, which includes a change to the way the app works. The app has ditched the big "Pass" or "Connect" buttons. Instead, Coffee Meets Bagel's new interface puts more emphasis on user profiles - showcasing more of the text, and giving users the option to "heart" the profile or comment. Before a match takes place, users can tap a new commenting button that allows them to respond to the user's profile directly, before making a connection. Coffee Meets Bagel says that during its beta testing, members who sent comments to their matches had a 25% higher chance of getting liked back. And when comments led to conversations, there was a 60% increase in total messages exchanged. Coffee Meets Bagel has raised ~$20M since launching back in 2012, and has 7M installs to date, according to data from Sensor Tower, and ~$25M in gross revenue. Users spent ~$900K in the app last month, up 30% from Nov 2017.
Special Match Stock Dividend Could Fuel IAC's Acquisition
INVESTORS - Dec 12 - Owners of Match Group stock may have wondered why the company announced a special dividend in October. IAC could be stockpiling cash for a major acquisition, says Brent Thill, analyst at Jefferies. IAC, which owns 80% of Match, took in $440M of the $560M special dividend, analysts say. "With an ~$3B in cash by year-end 2019 and a history of utilizing cash and stock in past deals, IAC has the capacity for larger-scale M&A.," Thill said in a report published on Wednesday. "CEO Joey Levin recently stated in an interview that he believes IAC can digest close to a $5B deal."
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Beware: It Is Now Illegal to Charge Users in Germany Full "Compensation for Value" When They Cancel Contract
DIE PRESSE - Dec 14 - Dating site Parship charges ~600Eur per year for their premium membership. Anyone who subscribes can cancel the contract within two weeks. But often dating platforms such as Parship and ElitePartner keep a large part of the money as "compensation for value". This is no longer allowed. The Chamber of Labor had filed a lawsuit against this practice - and got it before the Supreme Court. The (German) Supreme Court confirmed that this business practice was unlawful and would be prohibited. The dating sites are now only allowed to make only a time-dependent prorated assessment of value, in relation to the total term. For example for Parship: The company may, in a contract withdrawal after ten days with a total transaction of 600Eur for annual membership, only keep ~16Eur as "compensation for value". Prior to the new law, they had been keeping up to 450 euros.
Grindr's Director Of Communications Quit Over President's Gay Marriage Comment
INSTINCT MAGAZINE - Dec 10 - Last week, Grindr was trending after its President and CTO Scott Chen posted to Facebook that he thinks "marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman." Now in reaction to that, Grindr's communications director Landen Rafe Zumwalt, who is openly gay, has quit his job. "As an out and proud gay man madly in love with a man I don't deserve, I refused to compromise my own values or professional integrity to defend a statement that goes against everything I am and everything I believe," Zumwalt wrote through medium.com. Scott Chen explained his Facebook post: "The reason I said marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman is based on my own personal experience. I am a straight man married to a woman I love and I have two beautiful daughters I love from the marriage. This is how I feel about my marriage. Different people have their different feelings about their marriages. You can't deny my feelings about my marriage."
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The Founding Story of Paktor
ENTREPRENEUR - Dec 11 - Paktor, best-known as a Tinder rival in Asia, was launched in June 2013. Since then, the app has launched in 12 countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. It secured funding from investors like Yahoo Japan-affiliate YJ Capital and Singapore's Vertex Ventures. The founders of Paktor are primary school classmates - Joseph Phua and Ng Jing Shen. After completing his MBA from University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, Joseph returned to Asia to start Paktor. The app, however, couldn't handle the high volume of users and crashed. He then reached out to Jing Shen, a University of Michigan graduate, for help, who at that time was working with Amazon as a software engineer and was a part of the team that re-architected one of the world’s first cloud computing services, S3. Today, Paktor has 15M users. In 2014, the founders launched its offline dating counterpart, GaiGai which specializes in matchmaking via its in-house matching system and personalization.
Bumble Faces Huge Backlash Because of an Abusive Ad Campaign
GIRLFRIEND - Dec 10 - Bumble has recently launched in India, and celebrated with a big party. However, Instagram posts and stories have captured worldwide attention, with the company being accused of an abusive ad campaign with elephants being painted and ridden throughout the night. The CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd is facing backlash as it is considered animal abuse to ride elephants.
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Dating Apps and Advertising on Snapchat
VERDICT.CO.UK - Dec 8 - With dating apps accounting for L11.7B of the economy last year, and 30% of 18-30 year olds in the US signed up to at least on service, the online dating market is extremely lucrative. Dating apps are looking to reach a young, tech-savvy audience, and many have found a match with Snapchat. Spending by dating services in the UK on the Snapchat platform has increased 13x from Q1 to Q3 this year. Since partnering with Snapchat more than a year ago, AI-driven dating startup Hily has seen a significant increase in the number of registrations. To coincide with Meghan and Harry's Royal Wedding, Meetic ran a campaign on Snapchat in an attempt to increase the number installations. Through this, Meetic reportedly reached ~3.5M unique users driving a 28% increase in app downloads on the day. Meetville ran an advertising campaign using Snap Ads to coincide with Valentine's Day, and 90% of the new UK iOS users who installed the Meetville app in February did so having come through the Snapchat app.
RealBlackLove Fills the Void for Relationship Minded African-Americans
NORTH CAROLINA BUSINESS NEWS WIRE - Dec 11 - Joseph Dixon decided to fill the void for people who are relationship-minded African-Americans. In 2013, with his background in web development, Dixon launched Charlotte-based RealBlackLove, an online dating site for African-American singles. RBL is currently at 200K members nationwide, but with its updated version, Dixon thinks it will hit the 1M mark within a year. In 2015, Dixon started professional matchmaking.
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