@andrewchen

Get the newsletter · 2018 essays (PDF) · Featured · Recent

Is Facebook killing dating sites?

Interesting blog from the creator of PlentyOfFish, a free internet site:: Rapid Decline of the Dating Industry..

As I mentioned in a previous post, What’s broken about online dating, the perfect social site (that HAPPENS to be a superset of dating features) would have:

  • Remove the “dating” label from the site, but make it more about hanging out and being social.
  • Make a very long ladder of interactions for people, from winking to poking to giving gifts to asking questions to open ended messaging.
  • Give people an excuse to hang out OTHER than dating – be it casual games, chat, watching videos, etc.
  • Set them up for dating success, even if you’re not a dating site: Provide mixed gender balances in chat rooms, or group people by location and age, etc.

It’s interested to see that Facebook is a site that’s been able to incorporate real-life relationships that are local, and also has a great gender ratio on the site. I could see them being the dating hub for their core audience.

That said, I’m still a little confused on Markus’s observations – after all, the core demographic that uses dating sites tends to skew a little older. In principle, Facebook shouldn’t take away this audience. Perhaps because PlentyOfFish is free, they attracted a young crowd, which does take away from his audience.

How online dating fits into online marketing
Online dating has become much more of a marketing arbitrage game where the competition happens not on product features, but more on who’s better at buying media. Because the audience is pretty transient – staying on the site for a month or two or three, but then taking off, you end up with an unstable base.

As mentioned in a previous article about what happens with sites that aren’t sticky, it will be fascinating to see whether or not the entire industry caves through the sticky social networking sites putting up “Dating” tabs or applications within the site. That way, they get the advantage of getting a massive audience for free, giving them stuff to do other than the core dating app, and potentially getting the same type of revenue stream.

Or perhaps, as Markus notes, these sites won’t have to add ANY features but will end up hurting the online dating industry anyway.

PS. Get new updates/analysis on tech and startups

I write a high-quality, weekly newsletter covering what's happening in Silicon Valley, focused on startups, marketing, and mobile.

Views expressed in “content” (including posts, podcasts, videos) linked on this website or posted in social media and other platforms (collectively, “content distribution outlets”) are my own and are not the views of AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) or its respective affiliates. AH Capital Management is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any special skill or training. The posts are not directed to any investors or potential investors, and do not constitute an offer to sell -- or a solicitation of an offer to buy -- any securities, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment.

The content should not be construed as or relied upon in any manner as investment, legal, tax, or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Any charts provided here are for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, I have not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. The content speaks only as of the date indicated.

Under no circumstances should any posts or other information provided on this website -- or on associated content distribution outlets -- be construed as an offer soliciting the purchase or sale of any security or interest in any pooled investment vehicle sponsored, discussed, or mentioned by a16z personnel. Nor should it be construed as an offer to provide investment advisory services; an offer to invest in an a16z-managed pooled investment vehicle will be made separately and only by means of the confidential offering documents of the specific pooled investment vehicles -- which should be read in their entirety, and only to those who, among other requirements, meet certain qualifications under federal securities laws. Such investors, defined as accredited investors and qualified purchasers, are generally deemed capable of evaluating the merits and risks of prospective investments and financial matters. There can be no assurances that a16z’s investment objectives will be achieved or investment strategies will be successful. Any investment in a vehicle managed by a16z involves a high degree of risk including the risk that the entire amount invested is lost. Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by a16z is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Excluded from this list are investments (and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets) for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly. Past results of Andreessen Horowitz’s investments, pooled investment vehicles, or investment strategies are not necessarily indicative of future results. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.