Every fortnight we interview a different member of the online or offline dating industry.  This week we chat to Michael O’Sullivan, CEO of white label provider HubPeople.

Which brand is exciting you most in the dating space at the moment?

I like the app Once because it has a clever business model which has an asymmetric value proposition without overtly discriminating based on sex. For women it’s free and offers one considered match a day. For men it allows them to pay to get more than one match. Females produce free content for the service, and men pay to consume in reality.

What do you think the biggest challenge is for the industry?

I think the popularity of social media and platforms with user-generated content in general, not just dating, has raised     some serious concerns. I can see increased regulation online from government involvement which (while well-meaning) may be at odds with the online consumer’s expectations of privacy and freedom of expression. This may put dating companies in a difficult position, because they hold sensitive personal information about their users, which their users rightly expect to be kept private

What’s new for HubPeople in 2017?

We’re doing a lot of work within the area of user experience. We’ve switched to developing exclusive-to-mobile user experience flows that vary based on the users, to give them what they are looking for faster and more easily. Based on the reports from our user feedback program, this is reaping great rewards in terms of user engagement and retention.

What do you see being the most exciting new developments in the industry?

The asymmetric dating experience. We know that people have different drives, based on their gender identity, attraction or other interests. Now that technology allows dating to move beyond the singular user experience,  I think there is great opportunity for match people using a different user experience and value proposition based on the tribe that they identify with. 

What are the major differences you’re noticing between your casual and dating white label sites at the moment? 

The difference between more casual and mainstream dating is stark. Mainstream dating is fairly flat in terms of growth and dominated by many large but poorly differentiated brands with a mixture of business models. Casual dating is growing by comparison as it fits better with society’s evolving sense of dating etiquette and the continual erosion of our attention spans and love of commitment.