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.