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In the next few years, propelled by the twin currents of mobile computing and social media, the industry will reach new levels of popularity, profitability and utility.
A division of Barry Diller’s IAC/Inter Active Corp., Match represents nearly one-third of what is a .1 billion market that grew a healthy 7.1% last year, according to the research firm IBISWorld.
Brimming with geeky energy, he has a nervous habit of taking off his wedding ring and spinning it while he talks.
(Perhaps it’s his way of getting in the mindset of his consumers; somewhat famously, all four OK Cupid founders met their wives offline.) As much math project as matchmaking service, OK Cupid prides itself on its ability to coax meaning out of big data sets.
Then, in 2000, a new service called e Harmony purported to take the trial-and-error out of search by using a proprietary computer program that suggested the most compatible matches. (This is where OK Cupid entered the picture.) That brings us to the present.
Now, the pool has deepened such that around half of all single people use online dating services at some point, and the algorithms that power them have gotten about as smart as they’re going to get for the time being.
The analytics provider Flurry was saying as far back as 2011 that mobile dating app usage exceeded desktop.
But a study conducted in late 2013 by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that only 7% of app users, and 3% of American adults overall, had used a dating app.
Indeed, Tinder CEO Sean Rad says one of the most frequent requests he hears from users is a setting that will allow them to Tinder on behalf of friends.
The trends of the past year have done more to lift the stigma than anything in the previous 19, says Aaron Schildkrout, co-founder and CEO of How About We. “It started to get talked about a whole other way, and a lot of that was about people looking at phones together.
The process of thinking about who you want to date became a public question.” But shame hasn’t been the only thing limiting the appeal of online dating.
For obvious reasons, the weeks leading up to February 14 mark the busiest time of the year for online dating services.
The proprietors of the most popular websites and apps expect this year’s crop of last-second Valentine’s Day love-seekers to be a record one -- and next year’s promises to be even bigger.