3. You were one of the pioneers in developing niche community sites with AsiaFriendFinder and BigChurch. What do you see as the future in affinity dating and what made you think that these niche groups would be so successful?
I think when people visualize the perfect online dating experience, they think of a site that only have perfect candidates for THEM. In the early days of online dating, we had to come up with ways to make people feel comfortable that they would find good matches and one way was to show them that all the members of a site matched their primary filter (e.g., Chinese language or Christians). While it is true that a general purpose site could advertise “hey we have Chinese speakers or Christians”, some people feel more comfortable with a niche site. Niche dating sites will continue so long as they have critical mass (number of active members) and larger general-purpose dating sites continue to give broad marketing messages.
4. Do you think that there is room for an emerging dating company to compete with the likes of Friendfinder Network, Match or eHarmony?
While there are a few fast-growing sites that provide free services, they must find non-financial ways to throttle usage, provide user-intention validation and make enough revenue via advertising to buy traffic. There is also always the potential for a first-mover company to take advantage of new traffic markets.