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Online Dating and Match.com: A DSS Perspective

Online Dating and Match.com: A DSS Perspective. Sokrates Kosmides Ronald Montgomery Decision Support Systems February 23, 2004. “Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.” Oscar Wilde, (1854–1900)

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Online Dating and Match.com: A DSS Perspective

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  1. Online Dating and Match.com: A DSS Perspective Sokrates Kosmides Ronald Montgomery Decision Support Systems February 23, 2004

  2. “Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.” Oscar Wilde, (1854–1900) “We are the eBay for human beings.” Jeff Titterton,VP of Customer Services PlanetOut Partners

  3. Presentation Overview • Research Methodology • Online Dating Industry Review • Popular Dating Websites • Match.com company overview and site demonstration • DSS components of Match.com • Match.com competitors

  4. Research Methodology • Review of subject-related articles in practitioner journals and general news publications. • Qualitative investigation of specialized and general dating websites, including Match.com.

  5. The Online Dating Industry • Growing industry • 45 percent rise in hits since Jan 2003 • 0.8 percent of online visits • $302 million revenues in 2002 • More than 16 million users in 2002 in US • Double time online • 200 new launches in 2003 • Volatile industry • Earnings hard to identify • No standard customer satisfaction metrics

  6. The Online Dating Industry • Customers • Affluent urbanites • Between 25 and 45 • Males 55%, females 45% • One third are married (Jupiter Research) • Future industry growth in international services

  7. Popular Dating Websites • Match.com • Yahoo! Personals • udate.com • Matchmaker.com • eMode • eHarmony • Screening processes • Reality

  8. Match.com Summary • Owned by Ticketmaster • Largest online and offline dating services with 8 million members in 2003. • In 2002, 89,000 members reported success in finding “the match they were looking for”. • Free to register and place an ad (photos garner 7X more traffic). • $24.95 monthly subscription fee to reply, extra costs to use premium services. • All content generated dynamically by members. Match.com provides ad-writing and safety tips.

  9. Match.com: An Example

  10. Customer Information Collection

  11. Customer Information Collection • Granular information collection allows for precise matching to other customers. • Qualitative data, such as background and personal values allow for “fuzzy” evaluation by prospective dates and friends. • Trend analysis of tastes and preferences are performed by Match.com. The results are targeted advertising and adjustment of Match.com service offerings.

  12. Support & Problem-Solving Dimensions of Match.com • Unsuitable candidates quickly screened • Widens dating candidate and friendship pools • Used for social scheduling by customers visiting other cities or regions • Protects customer privacy, provides a safe environment to meet people

  13. Benefits of Match.com • Low transaction costs (time and money) “It’s like going to a library. You could wander the stacks, but isn’t it easier to check the card catalog?” • Anonymous email and phone calls through Match.com systems “For some people, anonymity is a tremendous benefit when dating online. More than 50 percent of our subscribers say that after exchanging three e-mails, they still don’t feel comfortable giving out phone numbers.” Trish McDermott Match.com Spokeswoman

  14. Benefits of Match.com • Robust • Activities for customers to meet offline: Match Travel, Match Events, Match Mobile • Customer can perform targeted marketing of ads • Scheduled, automated searches that mail customer search results. Can also save “Favorites”. • Customer can perform and save specific searches based on: • Custom-Specific criteria such as age, gender, and distance. Selected through check boxes and pull-down menus. • Who is currentlyonline-Real time chat. • Keyword-Searches string fields for inputted keywords • Mutual matching-Finds profiles that much customer criteria then in turn verifies the customer profiles matches criteria for found profiles.

  15. What Match.com Provides • A venue for targeted marketing: • Free Basic Services “You have to give some stuff away and hook subscribers to pay for extras that attract critical mass.” Jeff Titterton, PlanetOut Partners • Reduced dating transaction costs “I liked Internet dating because I could fit it into my schedule and not waste time with guys that didn’t have qualities I was interested in.” Rainie Finch, Singles Find Love in Cyberspace

  16. What Match.com Provides • Inexpensive, more variety compared to offline peers Great Expectations charges for each customer contact, has only 100,000 members in major urban locations. • Opportunities for personal branding “In keeping with current advertising trends, today’s online singles market themselves not by highlighting their best traits, but by creating an imaginary self that’s impressively snarky and carefree.” Heather Havrilesky, Meatmarket.com

  17. Match.com Competition • Other online services (Yahoo, FriendFinder, etc.) • Phone personals (urban areas) • Newspaper and magazine personals • Traditional/offline dating services (Great Expectations) • Video • Profile albums • Family, church, school, other social venues


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