Donnerstag, 18. Dezember 2014

The end of cupid.com and cupid.com

According to a recent announcement - Cupic PLC will finally give up the dating business...which is an unexpected piece of news - however understable. The big question is: why not earlier?
Cupic PLC will become a pure investment company and change its name to Castle Street Investments plc
Hopefully they won't invest in dating sites ;-)

Maybe they try to copy Rocket Internet who recenty went on the stock market in Germany - they own a big portfolio of well known websites worldwide - all of them making a loss.

The difference between those 2 companies is probably: one makes revenue, goes to the stock market and then makes losses - the other company makes losses in the first place and then goes to the stock market to collect more money....
Cupid plc
Proposed Disposal of Dating Business
Cupid plc (AIM:CUP), the online dating operator, announces that following a strategic review of the Company's dating business, the Group has conditionally agreed to sell its Traditional Dating Assets to Tradax IP Licensing Limited; Together Networks Holdings Limited; and Together Networks Limited, for a total consideration of £3m.

The Disposal constitutes a fundamental change of business under Rule 15 of the AIM Rules. Accordingly, the Disposal is conditional upon approval of Shareholders at a general meeting to be held on 23 December 2015.

Headlines
·     Disposal of Traditional Dating Assets for a cash consideration of £3m
·     Payment of a reduced deferred consideration for casual assets has been accelerated with £12.5m to be paid by 15 December 2015
·     Substantial return expected to be available to Shareholders in 2015
·     Company will be reclassified as an Investing Company under the AIM Rules
·     Cash at the end of December 2014 (prior to receipt of Disposal proceeds) expected to be ahead of forecast at £10m
·     Proposed name change to Castle Street Investments plc
·     Irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the resolutions granted by 40.53% of the shareholders
·     Cancellation of treasury shares

A circular, explaining the background to and reasons for the Disposal and providing notice of a general meeting (the "Circular"), was posted to Shareholders on 6 December 2014.  Copies of the Circular will also be available on the Company's website (www.cupidplc.com).

George Elliott, Chairman of Cupid plc, commented:

"After a number of fundamental changes in the dating market, we instigated a rapid strategic review of the dating business. The Board believe that today's announcement represents the solution which protects the best interests of shareholders, by providing much greater certainty over the Group's cash balances and deferred consideration and removing substantially all costs from the Group.

The Company will effectively become a well capitalised cash shell with approximately £18 million that can be utilised for new opportunities in line with our proposed investing policy or returned to shareholders."

Update from December 28th: Cupid PLC's homepage is not accessible anymore.
In general, a lot of other dating sites profit from this. First, Cupid PLC bought a great part of the dating market - then decided to discontinue some sites they bought - and now finally they stop all dating sites....a few will be sold - but in generall the number of competitors on the dating market has decreased a lot. Dating webmasters now expect a decrease in advertising costs in the online dating field due to less competition and lower prices per click.

Mittwoch, 5. November 2014

German Tinder clone mbrace receives millions of venture capital

 Mbrace receives a 7 figure sum through IBB, Paua and Astutia

Mbrace (www.getmbrace.com), a German Tinder-clone received a 7 figure sum from venture capital firms in order to get going with their tinder-clone. Primarily the money is intended to invest in the product and grow the team.

But why on earth does a vc firm give money to a clone while the original itself has issues and traffic drops after quickly reaching its peak?



At least the 3 founders managed to get the money. The team consists of Ruben Haas (Hitfox), Jan Tillmann (Head of Business Development for AppLift in San Francisco and Lukas Krauter (Head of Business Development for ad2games).

mbrace was founded in 2013 in Berlin.

 Similiar clones to mbrace who also started around this time are "Band with friends" and "Flinx" (also from Berlin but does not look as professional).


Freitag, 26. September 2014

Is Cupid.com dead yet?

A lot of online dating sites come and go...and I have the feeling, the faster they grow, the quicker they die again. This is especially true with many venture capital backed companies, who literally just "blow" the money...or companies like Cupid PLC who collected the money through the stock market.

So what about Edinburghs model internet company Cupid PLC (former Easydate PLC) ?

If you want to know about the status of a publicliy traded internet company, there is 2 things you can do:

a) have a look at the stock market:


Source: http://markets.investorschronicle.co.uk/research/Markets/Companies/Summary?s=CUP:LSE

b) have a look at Alexa.com's siteinfo:

Source: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/cupid.com

... from one of their main domains. The interesting thing - Alexa is a lot faster then the stock market - at least as far as predictions are concerned. A stock will usually not change until the official announcements and regulatory notices - whereas Alexa just reflects the traffic of a website (more or less - excluding mobile app traffic)

What happened to Cupid.com?

Let's think what happened in the past since 2010.

Before 2010

Easydate perpares for the stock market - and buys a lot of competitors and in general dating websites - often webmasters were offered stocks instead of cash to a price lower to the prospective stock market price.

2010

  • Scottish online dating company Cupid has announced a 202% increase in revenue to £25.7m for 2010. 
  • failing to buy the flirtbox dating sites network, Easydate decides to buy usage rights of the flirt.com domain for £800,000 (and later bought it completely)
  • Easydate forced to change name. Online dating company Easydate was pressured by easyGroup to change its name. 
  •  13 million profiles with users in 29 countries (officially)

2011


Quote from BBC news (

CEO Bill Dobbie said: "Our maiden full year results show rapid growth and reflect a very successful period since our AIM debut.
"We are in a very strong position and remain confident that we will grow value for shareholders in 2011 and beyond."
The company also indicated that its goal was to have more than 50% of revenues coming from overseas by the end of 2011, while continuing UK growth.
Cupid operates a number of different online sites and has 13 million customer profiles registered with it throughout the world.
It employs about 15 people in Edinburgh at its head office - it also has 200 workers based in the Ukraine.

In May 2011: Cupid has announced that more than 50% of its monthly revenue is now coming from outside the UK.

2012

Stock price wents up to almost £250 ( from around £50).
Cupid PLC generates a revenue of £81m in 2013.

2013

A BBC investigation discovered what everyone knew for a long time: Fake messages on Cupid PLCs websites.

The dating firm Cupid rejects 'fake profiles' allegations (of course ;-) ) - nevertheless the stock price keeps on falling since and investors tried to get rid of their stocks

An interesting article (subject to a legal complaint) can be found here:


Cupid PLCs sells the adult dating sites (e.g. benaughty.com) for £45.1 million (of course not in cash) - which are then run by togethernetworks ltd in Malta.


Cupid PLC tries to get a clean image since then, ensured no "fake" and "moderated" messages are being sent anymore luring people to pay for membership fees...however without them, nobody seems to be spending any money on the website and activiy on the website reduced.

According to their website they tried to re-organize things, re-think their product and focus on the mobile market. However, it does not really seem to take off....

2014

Cupid Says "All Options" Being Considered As Loss Widens according to London South East:


Cupid posted a pretax loss of GBP3.0 million for the six months to June 30, compared with a pretax loss of GBP2.8 million a year earlier. It generated GBP7.2 million in revenue, compared with GBP43.4 million in the first half of 2013, when it still had its casual businesses.[...].The dating operator swung to a loss in 2013 and saw a significant drop in revenues, as a result of selling off its casual businesses, which represented 70% of its overall revenue. [...]

Outlook

According to lse, they are trying to resuce themselves with a new product, called "tangle" (a tinder clone?) in October:

The company is currently preparing for the launch of a new mobile matchmaking app called 'Tangle', which it plans to release in October."We have a number of key activities planned in the second half. We will be busy with targeted product launches and initiatives as we look to enhance the core dating offering," the company said.It said the first product to launch on its newly built platform will be Uniform Dating USA, which it said will launch in early October as a mobile-only application with a more flexible payment model.
I would say: gloomy - unless they spend all their remaining money on advertising for the new "tangle" app - which must be better then tinder and generate enough revenue to keep all the current employees.

Dienstag, 5. August 2014

Cupic PLC stock keeps on falling, and falling...and falling.

As you can see on:

http://markets.investorschronicle.co.uk/research/Markets/Companies/Summary?s=CUP:LSE

 Cupic PLC stock keeps on falling, and falling...and falling.....

Currently it is below its issue price in 2010 - and it looks like it has not reached the bottom yet.

If you bought shares in 2011 for almost 250 GBP - you lost 85,4% of your money!!!




In contrast, iIf you bought Match.com stocks in 2010, you made 100% so far:



Montag, 4. August 2014

Signup conversion rates for dating sites

What are typical signup conversion rates or dating sites?

Free dating sites - have on average a signup conversion rate of around 3,5% on average.
This means from 100 new visitors, around 3,5% signup on average.

This sometimes also includes pay-sites as they do appear as if they were free.

What are typical free-to-pay conversion rates or dating sites?

The ratio of how many free members will convert to a paying member varies a lot. A good rate would be however something around 7%. It really depends on your website, the campaign, the target group country - and last but not least month / day and even time of the day.

What is really important to know: you can not directly make money on a dating site with an advertising campaign. You need to be patient and wait for a long time until you reach the break-even. On average it can take around 100 days for a member to pay enough fees until you covered the initial signup costs.

Mittwoch, 30. Juli 2014

Dating Factory is handed-over from Caerus AG to Tyche Technologies AG

Some news from Whitelabel dating sites provider "Dating Factory":

Dating Factory business will no longer be run by Caerus AG but a newly formed company called Tyche Technologies AG in Switzerland(Zug).

Tanya Fathers continues as CEO.

This takes into effect from June 1st 2014.

Tyche Technologies AG takes over all rights and obligations out of the  existing contracts.

Why this is happening?

Nobody knows ....

Dienstag, 22. Juli 2014

Why all whitelabel dating site providers suck

The idea sounds nice: Run a dating site without writing your own code and without running a server yourself - and get loads of members right from the start.

The theory is good - in reality, things are a bit more disappointing...

The main reasons, why you should think about buying a dating site script (at the beginning to see how it goes)- or write your own dating site (maybe at a later stage) are the following:

  • the default template provided suck - they do not meet todays requirements and most of them are not even responsive
  • in the footer, you often find disturbing and seo-damaging "mandatory" backlinks to the dating site provider (e.g. datingfactory) or other links you dont want to have
  • you have the same site as thousands of competitors and hardly a way or feature to "stand up" from the growd
  • if you took the time to implement your own templates (if possible after all) - you might find them later in a similiar fashion offered to all other dating site users
  • "up to" 65% revenue share sounds great - but it is "revenue share" not "gains share". You don't have to pay for development or hosting - but major factor is advertising costs - not development or hosting. What happens if you spend 1000 USD on advertising? Maybe 500 USD convert and you receive maybe 250 USD "revenue share" - but the dating site provider profits most: his own database of members grows and also all other sites of the network profit - but you only get paid for your conversions - not indirect conversions due to more female members or more activity on a site.
  • it is hard enough to make more money then you spend on advertising with a dating site - and it takes a long time until you reach the break even as not all members convert directly. But if you share the revenue, it is almost impossible to profit. This only works if you have "free" traffic - but then you should think about doing it yourself (depends on the traffic level of course)
  • you can only make money with a whitelabel dating site - if you run the white label dating sites network yourself -> then thousands of webmasters work for you - and you dont have any expenses for advertising - but profit on all the good marketing ideas your customs come up with.

Mittwoch, 18. Juni 2014

Mailchimp and the dating industry. No emails for dating sites?

Mailchimp is a really popular and powerfull mailing list service provider....what is a bit weird however, the do not accept dating sites to send emails to their customers.

If you look at the terms & conditions you find the following:

Some industries have higher-than-normal abuse complaints, which can in turn jeopardize the deliverability of our entire system. Nothing personal, but in order to maintain the highest delivery rates possible for all our customers, we can’t allow businesses that offer these types of services, products, or content:
  • Escort and dating services
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Work from home, make money on online, and lead generation opportunities
  • Online trading, day trading tips, or stock market-related content
  • Gambling services or products
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Credit repair and get out of debt opportunities
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Nutritional, herbal, and vitamin supplements
  • Adult novelty items or references
  • List brokers or list rental services

Extremely astonishing: Escort and dating services are mentioned within the same line

Also it is really amazaing that they mention dating services in the same list as Gambling and Pharmaceutical produtcs.

So if you run a dating website - don't use Mailchimp - especially do not make any payments to Mailchimp as your account will be disabled and the money is gone!


Mittwoch, 11. Juni 2014

The brute force dating attack of a "math genius"

On Wire.com, Kevin Poulson wrote an interesting article about the Mathematician Chris McKinlay, who tried to - and finally found - a date on okcupid.


Unlike the majority of okcupid users, he wrote scripts to harvest the website with user data, then matched the user profiles with his own interests - and contacted them....


He then invited some of the women,  who wrote back, on a date....after a few unsuccessful attempts, he even met a woman he even married (probably by now).


You can read the whole story here:


http://www.wired.com/2014/01/how-to-hack-okcupid/all/

 

What I was wondering?

 

Did OkCupid sue him for financial compensation? Did any of the users report him as their "private" data was illegally copied to another server / pc ? (and might still kick around on a harddisk in his flat)


Or what that a viral marketing idea from OkCupid ?


If so, the viral marketing campaign really went viral - most sites picked up on this story.


Freitag, 21. Februar 2014

Globalspersonals.co.uk / Whitelabeldating in direct competition with its customers

Globalpersonals.co.uk proudly feature their first tv spot on their homepage:

http://globalpersonals.co.uk/press-release/global-personals-bring-niche-dating-mainstream-launch-first-tv-campaign-justsingles-com/

Why on earth do they offer an own brand?

Wouldn't it be wiser and more ethical if they just concentrated on providing the platform without running their own sites?

This way, they are in direct competitions with their own customers, driving click prices / advertising costs - and also you get the impression, globalpersonals / whitelabeldating always want to /need to stay one step ahead and might not offer all their own features to other customers.