Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: Match.Com

Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: Match.Com

Article excerpt

Dating website match.com has been 'making love happen' since the dawn of the internet. Here's how it met with success.

Early years

Match.com started in 1995, when your average SWF or SBM (with or without GSOH) still relied on traditional 'get drunk in a bar' methods of meeting new partners. It owes its existence to a change of direction by founder Gary Kremen. He was a Stanford MBA and internet early adopter who founded Electric Classifieds in San Francisco to provide online ads for local papers. But in the shower one morning it struck him that dating could be much more lucrative. Given the decline of the once-mighty regional press in the USA and elsewhere, this has to rank as one of the better 'accidental' business decisions. But Kremen didn't last long - a row with investors led to his selling out in 1998 to Cendant for dollars 7m. Designed to appeal to women (get them onboard and the men will follow), Match.com spread to 25 countries, is in eight languages and with around two million subscribers (and many more free users) is the world's largest dating site.

Recent history

Like Amazon, match.com is a vindication of first-mover advantage. After changing hands a few times it is now owned by IAC, parent company of Ask.com and Vimeo among others, which was founded by veteran US TV magnate Barry Diller. In 2009, Match's UK and European operation was sold to French outfit meetic, but IAC came back in, taking a 81% stake in meetic in 2011. Competitors - whether wholesome like eharmony or functional like shagaholic - are tilting at match.com's mass-market crown. But the bigger question is what will happen if Facebook decides to have a go at the singles scene? …

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