In this Vator Box segment, we take a look at group dating site, Ignighter. Since the service is completely free, unlike many dating sites out there, we asked Richard Jalichandra to be our guest host once again. Jalichandra is CEO of Technorati, an advertising network. So, he clearly has a good idea of what’s happening with advertising rates and budgets.
With me as always was Vator Box regular Ezra Roizen, digital media investment banker.
Here are some highlights and observations.
- Hands down, this is one of the funniest video presentations on Vator. It’s amusing; it’s engaging; it tells the story; and it’s in a “group” format. It’s very appropriate. What doesn’t this team do together?
- The idea is clever. But the service appears to be better suited for a younger demographic. While the service seems like it could be a hit with 20 year olds, it may have difficulty attracting 30 to 40 year olds. The older you are, the more likely it is to have friends who are married. To this end, it may be trickier to form groups and one-on-one dating just becomes more practical.
- When you get older, dating becomes more serious. And, going out on group dates may (besides being impractical) just be less appealing for many reasons. For instance, who's going to be the wingman or wingwoman when everyone in the group is seriously trying to get matched up? As Jalichandra noted: Who’s going to jump on the grenade! In other words, who’s the wingman and who gets the girl?
- Ignighter might to consider creating pathways to move from "group" dating to "one-on-one" dates or private sessions online. This is the natural progression of dating, after all.
- Ignighter might want to consider applying this group technology to other activities. For instance, is there a way to get softball or baseball leagues using the site to form group activities around their games?
- Is advertising the right model? Most dating sites - Yahoo Personals, eHarmony, Match.com – charge subscriptions. IAC’s Match.com generated $88 million in Q4 ’08 via subscriptions. Plenty of Fish is the largest dating site in the U.S., about four times larger than Match, but is only on track to generate $10 million annually, according to a recent Inc. article. Then again, Plenty of Fish has had one to three people on staff, resulting in profit margins in excess of 50%. The moral of the story is: You can make money in advertising. Just don't spend too much trying to get there.
- The site feels like a social network, and it might want to consider setting itself up as a "group" dating application or service that is a nice complementary fit with a larger social network. It may also consider integrating/partnering with other emerging dating sites, like speed-dating network Woome.
- These sites will attract extremely low CPMs - much like social networks. So, traffic volume is key.
(Editor's note: We're not experts here. So please share your comments about our commentary. We welcome feedback. And, I'm sure Ignighter would appreciate it too. Coming soon: Chris Shipley, co-founder of Guidewire Group and DEMO executive producer, is our guest host for four Vator Box segments. Stay tuned for those episodes.)