Quick reminder if you’re deliberating between Tinder and OK Cupid and Match: They’re all owned by the same corporate parent, anyway!
Conglomerate IAC is spinning off its online dating-focused Match Group with an IPO, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek takes the opportunity to survey the company’s grip on the digital romance industry. Besides Tinder, OK Cupid, and Match, IAC also owns HowAboutWe, BlackPeopleMeet.com, LDSPlanet.com (Mormons) and OurTime (the 50+ crowd). That’s quite a wide swath of folks:
No other dating empire has been able to appeal to so many different demographics, says Britanny Carter, a dating services analyst at IBISWorld. “With dating sites, you have to be somewhat niche,” Carter says. “You are dealing with different people, different needs.” IAC’s Match Group is the biggest in the dating services market, with a 22 percent share, Carter estimates. Lagging behind are EHarmony, with 14 percent, and Zoosk, which filed and later withdrew plans for an initial public offering last year, with 5 percent.
Only problem is keeping the no-cost offerings from cutting into the paid business:
Free and fun dating apps can be volatile, while cannibalizing customers from such paid services as Match.com, Brooks says. Last year, as the popularity of free-to-use Tinder grew, paid subscriptions at Match fell by about 100,000 in the fourth quarter, compared with the third. Now IAC is trying to make money out of Tinder, and has started to charge users based on age—the older, the more expensive—when they want to access premium services such as the ability to undo swipes.
Hey, there’s always your aunt Norma, who’d love to hook you up.
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Image via Shutterstock/Adam Gregor.