Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stock research on Spark Networks (

We are having one of our irregular looks into Spark Networks - the owner of the profitable J-Date dating site (and the unprofitable "Christian Mingles"). J-Date is a Jewish match-making institution.

One step of course is to get the young (and conveniently Jewish) intern to sign up and research possible dates. 

There is not that much activity (especially in Sydney) and some profiles are difficult. My favourite:

My personality is best described as high maintenance.

Seeking advice but J-Date doesn't look like it has much traction with the young (although its proponents argue it is a marriage site and hence of interest to people older than our intern and competes less than brutally with Tinder). 

Whatever: anyone want a high maintenance wife?



Anonymous said...

take a look at the NYC site John. My understanding is that it is very active there. Many of my friends have got laid through it, and one even found a wife (even if they did have to spend a dime on a kosher steak cooked "rare enough to be pink but cooked enough so I dont see any blood.")

The Sydney site has not taken off because the Jewish community is small here, so you need to have the balls to have your profile up there for all in your tightly knit community to see. There is no anonymity and you are labeled as "desperate". Hence JDate's success is positively correlated with the size of the Jewish community in any given city.

Dan Davies said...

Anecdotally from brief conversations, JDate is the site that you put a profile onto if you want to get your gran off your case, or in extreme situations, the site that your aunty puts your profile onto without telling you.

Anonymous said...

One thing I can pass on (as a former JDate user) that you may find helpful, is that they dramatically transformed their business model about 7 years ago in a way that (I suspect) woukd generate more cash in the short term but would have gutted the brand.

The way it used to work is that sending messages required a paid membership but receiving was free. Now both require a paid membership.

Obviously that would have boosted revenues in the short term but (by reducing the probability of getting a response to messages) made the overall experience (and thus retention) worse ... and I know a few people who used to use it but stopped.

I also remember someone telling me that they had used a bunch of stock photos to generate false profiles that would come up in searches. Don't know if it is true, but it was discussed for a while.

Dated info ... but maybe of help.



P.S. In our "tribe" being "high maintenance" is not necessarily a negative :-)

Anonymous said...


'High maintenance' probably doesn't sound quite the same in Jewish as it does amongst the goyim (i.e. us). It's a recognized character type-- lots of Jewish women would describe themselves as 'high maintenance' with an implicit irony.

That combination of very direct honesty with an ironic twist is kind of essential to Ashkenazic culture, at least (can't speak to Sephardic culture). In fact Yiddish seems to be a language built on it.

Anonymous said...

As long as she isn't a borderline, in that case your poor intern wouldn't know what he's in for!

Anonymous said...

j date was hugely popular here in nyc 10 or more years ago. many of my jewish friends used it. out of touch with that demo now (young singles), so have no idea how it's holding up against more, um, modern methods like tinder.

Anonymous said...

Amazing - you haven't got a clue how to use the site or how the users think in general.

You looking yet again at Spark Networks, is like Warren Buffet looking at technology.

It just shouldn't be done. It's in neither of your scopes of expertise. You're wasting your time. Worse, you're wasting your time, your limited partners time and you're making assumptions that aren't grounded close enough to the facts.

John - Don't waste time on this

For others who haven't got a clue, JDate has a higher success rate of real relationships forming from its site than other dating sites. That's more to do, as the first commentator noted, with small community within generally a handful of city-centers with cliental having relatively similar goals and values. It also has to do with a greater than average focus on family - which drives parents to pressure (Jewish guilt) single adult children to various venues to meet someone. Controlling the process yourself (on a website), rather than your over-bearing mom setting you up in embarrassing ways…JDate is an easy answer for a large group of people. While this is probably no different than in a lot of communities, it is very focused in the JDate scene. The site stats prove it.

Another thing - if a lady is describing herself [ignore the word "personality"] as 'high maintenance' on JDate, she's got a sense of humor and she also is going to put in the effort to make herself look good. It's similar to describing oneself as 'arm candy.' It's an effort to attract someone who has an ability to spend and take care of someone in return for someone who will look rather hot. - that's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

Tinder is not a dating site, it's related, but not sufficiently similar.

JDate became a company, because the site was a success. Christian Mingle was developed by a company that then created the site...that sequence is important. It's like creating youtube with forced video ads from day one - it would never have worked as well as it actually has because they didn't introduce video ads for years.

Anonymous said...

gur77 said...

Tinder all the way mate!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is much more interesting.



GB said...

Do you have any thoughts on IACI John, other than as competitor? Thanks

Anonymous said...

I was JDate for years, what do you want to know? My experience was, there are lots of people on the NYC site but the dates were lousy. I will say the average woman on the site was more relationship-motivated than on other dating sites, so it doesn't surprise me they were able to get women to pay. They also charge more than the other sites. Okcupid was a far better dating site, for me at least. But I often hear positive things about Jdate from a lot of people who i think have lousy taste in spouses. I haven't looked at their numbers, but I wouldn't short them on a business-model thesis.

Anonymous said...

As a current user of Jdate in the "target" demographic of which you speak, the website sucks. I've gotten more dates just meeting people around the area. Plus, most of the people I've met thus far are trying to get married immediately and are using Jdate as a cheaper alternative to using a professional shadchan (read: Jewish matchmaker).

Interestingly enough, J-date used to allow you to see when your messages were read as part of your paid subscription. Suddenly, that was gone and required additional payment. Presumably, they received a lot of pushback, as it's free again (or was free again the last time I logged in a few months ago).

This is commentary from one user who cancelled her auto renewal.

WellRed said...

In Toronto it is pretty heavily used, but as other commenters have noted for people looking to get married, rather than just hook up (that's what Tinder is for).

Haven't spent any time thinking through the implications are for their respective business models (does Tinder have a business model?).

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