Spark owns one of the truly great franchises in online dating - JDate.com. JDate - a Jewish Singles dating network is utterly entrenched in its community - mums buy their daughters subscriptions - at least then the boy will be Jewish. I know several users - people who would not consider using another site. A subscription to JDate is a rite-of-passage almost as important as a bar or bat mitzvah.
JDate has been around for a long time - and still goes strong.
I suggested the stock to a friend (who probably wishes to remain anonymous) and here is what he said:
I cannot think of a sector more likely to be disrupted in any industry.
The thing about dating is that the lifespan of a dating person is roughly 18-25 years old (or at least that will always be the median so that demographic will set social norms, even for 40 year old divorcees). So you are dealing with people who live and breath technology and 'live' for only seven years. 'Science advances one funeral at a time' same with tech but here everyone dies young. So the base rate of innovation and cultural evolution is super high. There is a huge backlash against static dating pages as they are inaccurate (i.e., everyone loves travel, hiking no one says they love dungeons and dragons) ; every girl finds the one amazing photo of themselves.
Secondarily, you are at the beating heart of the mobile revolution. Dating requires physical proximity so there are a wave of companies trying to do stuff like meetups of 4-6 people for a drink and then they can assess each others dating potential.e.g., www.grouper.com (one could do six Jewish people meeting up too).
Thirdly - the over representation of Jewish entrepreneurs is insane- Ballmer. Zuckerberg, Page and Brin etc. Zuckerberg only invented FB to get a date! You are literally betting against every sex starved Jewish computer science undergrad. Bad bet.
My friend is almost certainly right - at the end a bet on Spark Networks is a bet against every sex starved Jewish computer science undergrad (SSJCSU) and that is likely a very bad bet. Flatly stupid even.
But so far legions of SSJCSUs have not succeeded in knocking JDate off. Sure they invented Facebook - but the original JDate franchise is still there - robust through all of this. I am sure that some SSJCSUs have tried and indeed are still trying.
So why does JDate still exist? Why this strange failure?