Is there room left to innovate in Online Dating?

Aug 30, 2013
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From Minitel Rose to Tinder, the $4.2B online dating market evolves more quickly than mobile apps, and new players are rising and falling every day. Like alcohol, cigarettes, porn & cat videos, it’s one of those markets that you know will always evolve, but will never go away. As long as there are humans, there will be singles desperately looking for connections, and online dating promises a million different ways for you to meet mr. or ms. Right (or at least, Right Tonight).

In Europe, Marc Simoncini’s Meetic has acquired its way across Europe with its traditional boy-meets-girl approach. Meanwhile in France, players like AdopteUnMec.com (“Adopt a Guy”) have changed things up by creating a user experience for female singles similar to that of a grocery store (in fact, their logo is a woman pushing a hunk in a shopping cart). Meanwhile, mobile-first American player Tinder took the UK market by storm and subsequently the French market, allowing commuters to casually swipe their potential dates – swipe left for ‘next, please’ swipe right for ‘is she into me?’ – mutual approval creates a connection, the most simple and minimalist date-creation ever.

Logo_blanc_noirStill, when new players like Meetserious, which proposes dates organized around the dinner table, tell you they want to squeeze their way into the lives of singles, one must tread lightly. With so many different ways for singles to meet – and the clear recognition that many of these singles are looking for ‘temporary arrangements’ – it’s hard to assess whether a nice romantic dinner is appealing enough to draw people away from the swipe-and-swap attitude to which singles have become accustomed.

Still, Meetserious hopes that, having already developed 50 or so dinners since the beginning of the year, they will be able to develop their new spin on online dating across major cities in France for the subsection of online singles who “actually want to meet people.” They believe that relationships begin in real life, not online, and their hope is that singles who are fed up with the plan cul online dating ecosystem may turn to something that requires a higher investment, hoping to weed out those who are not willing to pay for dinner in order to get a chance at a hook-up.

While the Internet, and Internet Entrepreneurs, look to solve all of our real-life issues through complicated algorithms and slick user interfaces, it is unclear whether there will ultimately be as many different ways to meet someone online as there are in real life. Will we see “blind date” online dating sites? What about “double date” meetings?

Up until now, the key has been ease & efficiency: most of the online dating disruption has come from the realization that large players like OKCupid, Match.com and eHarmony have too lengthy an onboarding process before singles get matches. Perhaps players like MeetSerious will begin the trend back towards meaningful matches, instead of mindless make-out sessions.