It’s been a quiet few weeks for the industry, and at one point I thought I was going to have to apologise for only having news about Match Group-owned products!
However this morning saw the shock announcement that Kelly Steckelberg has left Zoosk due to personal reasons. I, for one, hope to see Kelly remain within the industry – it’s been a true inspiration to see such an active and inspiring woman at the top of one of the world’s leading dating brands. Anyone who has seen Kelly speak at a conference will know that she has been one of the most approachable and open CEOs in dating.
Elsewhere in the industry there have been some interesting innovations, launches and acquisitions, and OKCupid have released some stats which could be of interest to everyone.
The 5 Minute Interview –
Robyn Exton, HER
Every fortnight we interview an inspirational member of the dating industry.
While we had her in Amsterdam to speak at the M14 Dating Conference, I managed to grab five minutes with Robyn Exton, to talk about all things gender and dating.
Match Group to buy back its own shares
At the start of the month Match Group’s Board of Directors approved a share buyback program, which authorises the company to repurchase 6 million outstanding shares. The shares can be purchased through open market purchases.
Buyback plans are normally a sign that a company feels its stock is undervalued.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Tinder. Firstly there was the UK General Election. Last month activists used Tinder to encourage the youth to register to vote, and then a bot was used to encourage daters to vote for Labour.
For anyone missing the sound of Sean Rad’s voice lately, he recorded a podcast with Harry Stebbings talking about his new position as Chairman of Swipe Ventures – Tinder’s new acquisition and investment arm. Swipe Ventures is described as ensuring Tinder is ‘at the forefront of disruption in its own space’. Listen to the Twenty Minute VC podcast here.
Finally, today Business Insider journalist Nathan Mcalone wrote an article about his experiences behind the gates of the elite ‘Tinder Select’ – an invite-only version of the app for celebrities and VIPs.
The industry gathered in Amsterdam
With CEOs and speakers from The Meet Group, eHarmony, Facebook, Affinitas and many more, the conference was filled with great talks and fascinating insights. M14 will be publishing footage from the talks soon.
Kelly Steckelberg leaves Zoosk
Zoosk announced today the surprise departure of CEO Kelly Steckelberg. Kelly left the company yesterday citing ‘personal reasons’.
In a statement Kelly explained “I enjoyed my time at Zoosk and wish the company continued success.”
Mike Hodges, one of Zoosk’s board of directors, will step in as interim CEO until a replacement is recruited.
OKCupid and Age
A couple of stories have caught my eye about OKCupid and age this month.
Firstly, a functionality of the app went viral recently, when a user posted a screenshot on Reddit. If you type in an age under 18 in the age range search, a red message appears abruptly saying ‘No’.
Meanwhile, an OKCupid blog post at the start of the month explored some interesting statistics on age gaps. The post is definitely worth a read. Statistics from ‘successful’ conversations on the app since 2013 show that women most often reply to messages when approached by men of a similar age. Men however, are more likely to reply when contacted by an older woman.
And in other app news…
‘First’ has launched in the US. The app is message-free, with a premise similar to defunct British dating app Rendevoo. Users post a date, pick from those who want to go on it with them, and pay in advance, with differing options as to how the bill is split.
Colorado-based outdoor enthusiast dating app ‘Luvbyrd’ has acquired the social outdoor adventure app ‘Yonder’.
Last month Match Group announced a new offering for over 50s. Called DisonsDemain the site launched in France at the end of May. This week the site also launched in the UK, named ‘Ourtime’.
The site matches users according to online interests and offline ‘experience-led’ activities.
Match Group are using AI to engage potential users, in the form of ‘Julia’ a chatbot similar to Lara, who features on the Match UK and Meetic platforms.
If you have a story you think should feature in a future edition of this newsletter please contact Charly at [email protected]