I’ve met with two or three dozen people in the last few years thinking about starting dating sites.Of these, maybe 90% have believed in some magic virality system. Press: About 3 months into launching How About We we had a full-page front-page print article in the Sunday Styles section.I co-founded @howaboutwe in 2010 and was co-CEO until its recent acquisition by IAC.Like everyone who has ever built an online dating company, we started off with a growth strategy that looked a lot like a manual of magic tricks.[Andrew: Trying to build and launch dating apps is a favorite pastime of 20-something tech entrepreneurs.However, dating products are notoriously hard to grow because it requires people to be “in-market” and also they don’t necessarily want their friends to know they’re online dating.
Earlier this year, IAC bought How About We, a new dating product that was trying to reinvent the entire experience so that it’d focus on activities rather than dating profiles.
But it does not provide a business-supporting customer acquisition channel unless content is your product. Paid Acquisition / Direct Marketing: For dating, this is by far the most interesting category.
How About We has a highly successful blog strategy rooted in and It is the ONLY strategy that has ever worked to build a truly mainstream dating brand over time, with the sole exceptions of OKCupid (whose primary strategy was being free and which took nearly a decade to attain true scale) and possibly Tinder (tbd).
But when you really dig into their ideas and predicted results, the defining characteristic of such plans is almost invariably an uncanny belief in magic.
Here’s a basic overview of why magical thinking is so pervasive in early stage online dating distribution strategies, organized by acquisition channel: Virality: The only two dating sites in the world that have attained true virality are Badoo and Tinder.