Tuesday, April 20, 2010

OK Cupid on Paid Dating

I'm a huge fan of the Ok Cupid Blog. For those that don't know, OK Cupid is a free dating site started by some Stanford guys. They are completely free, believing the larger the dating funnel the better. They make their money selling advertising, little virtual presents and possibly (although unconfirmed) through affiliate relationships with large, paying dating sites.

I love their site because they are the masters of parsing data and coming up with interesting conclusions. I think it's genius how they use their observations to generate PR and SEO juice (SEO = Search Engine Optimization and a higher ranking in Google which leads to more trafffic). We're in the process of figuring out how to follow their playbook for Ben's Friends right now.

Given their business model, I thought it was really intriguing that they attacked paid sites today in an article titled: Why You Should Never Pay For Online Dating:

Here's a great little snippet but read the article. An even better article is the one on men dating older women. I think every startup should be taking OK Cupid's blogging approach. It's great for users and great for generating PR & Traffic.

"So, having given eHarmony the benefit of the doubt at every turn, let's look at where that leaves their site:

Yes, only 1/30th of the '20 million users' they advertise is someone you can actually talk to. That's the paradox: the more they pump up their membership totals to convince you to sign up, the worse they look.

And the ironic thing is that although they basically admit their sites are filled with chaff, pay sites have little interest in telling you who's paying and who isn't. In fact, it's better for them to show you people who haven't paid, even if it means they're wasting your time. We'll show that in the next section."