Art Project Exposes The Questionable Practice Of Selling Online Dating Profiles

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As our lives become increasingly inseparable from the internet, concerns about privacy and data security intensify. Numerous companies have fallen short of user expectations in recent years, from the widely publicized Ashley Madison hack in 2015 to the seemingly endless controversies surrounding Facebook in 2018.

Artist and researcher Joana Moll teamed up with Berlin-based NGO Tactical Tech to shed light on data collection in the digital age. Their recent project, titled The Dating Brokers: An autopsy of online love, exposed the shady world of data brokers who sell information from online dating profiles. In May 2017, Moll and Tactical Tech purchased one million profiles from USDate, a company that sells user data to dating services looking to artificially augment their user base, for just $153.

“Purchasing this data exposed a vast network of companies that are capitalising on this information without the conscious consent of the users, whom ultimately are the ones being exploited,” explains the project’s website. “This project attempts to make parts of that network, and how it works, visible to everyone.”

Bumble IPO Moves Forward, Could Value The Company At $1.1 Billion

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Bumble continues to dominate dating industry headlines. In recent months, the company continued its high-profile legal battle with Match Group, debuted in India with the help of actress Priyanka Chopra, launched a fund to invest in women-founded companies, and announced an upcoming line of beauty products. Bumble also revealed that it is exploring an IPO, a rare move in the dating space.

“Our revenue is remarkable, and it is only going to get better,” Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd told Forbes in September. “There is a need for a new IPO in this space, and we offer something that nobody else offers. This would allow us to really spread our wings at a new level.”

Plans for the IPO appear to be moving forward. Andrey Andreev, the majority shareholder of Bumble’s parent company, publicly discussed a possible Nasdaq listing with Bloomberg in October. “We’re now in very deep discussions with banks,” including JPMorgan Chase & Co., he said. “The listing would be on the Nasdaq. It’s been in the air for ages, but the serious consideration has happened only recently -- in the past month.”

Match Group Aims to Diversify Their Apps by Embracing Both Hookups and Relationships

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Match Group is looking to differentiate their suite of dating apps acquired over the past few years, including star Tinder and relationship-focused app Hinge.

On a call with investors, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg shared that the company is looking at better defining their brands, according to website Tech Crunch. This means that Match Group has decided to embrace the hook-up reputation of Tinder to attract younger users from 18-25, who aren’t necessarily looking for a long-term relationship.

Match Group will launch a new branding effort called “single lifestyle” with billboard campaigns and digital initiatives. It’s begun publishing content on the “Swipe Life” website with stories about travel and dating. Recent articles have included “7 Exit Strategies for Terrible Dates,” and “Study Abroad Hookup Confessions.”

New Dating Platform ‘Pickable’ Lets Women Browse Anonymously

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No picture. No age. No name. No signup. A new dating app is taking anonymity to the extreme, but only for women.

Pickable bills itself as the first and only dating platform to completely remove women’s exposure in the online dating world. Female users of the recently-launched app are not required to upload a photo, write a description, or include their name and age in their profiles. In fact, they don’t have to sign up at all. Women can download Pickable and immediately start browsing with full anonymity, free from any fear that friends, family members, or colleagues might stumble across their profile.

Tamara Goldstein, the founder and CEO of Pickable, told Yahoo Finance that she was inspired to create the app after worrying that her own dating profile would be exposed to her professional network. She wanted her account to be visible only to relevant and appropriate men, while remaining hidden from any personal connections. When she couldn’t find an app that met her needs, she created her own.

Match Group Stock Falls Despite Tinder Revenue Growth

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Match Group stock fell 10% 2 weeks ago in response to falling short of analysts’ Q4 goals, which were released along with their third quarter earnings reports.

Match Group reported revenue of $444 million, topping analyst estimates of $437 million for quarter 3. This is an increase of 29% when compared to quarter 3 of 2017 ($343 million). Match said it expects revenue of $1.72 billion for the year. But despite the growth and positive news, it was the projections for the last quarter which caused the dip in confidence from Wall Street. Analysts projected $454.5 million in Q4, while Match Group estimates it will only reach between $440 and $450 million.

Match Group lowered its estimates because of its higher-than-anticipated spending for Tinder and its other dating apps. Marketing costs are expected to rise 20% for Tinder and other brands like Hinge.

Bumble Moves To Drop $400 Million Lawsuit Against Match Group

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Is the end in sight for the legal battle between Match Group and Bumble?

According to documents filed in Texas last month, Bumble is looking to drop its $400 million countersuit against Match Group, which alleged Match interfered with its business operations, fraudulently obtained trade secrets, and intentionally tried to make Bumble less appealing to other potential acquirers. The countersuit was filed in response to a lawsuit from Match that claims Bumble infringed on several patents related to Tinder.

Initial attempts to settle failed and the war appeared poised to rage on, but a statement released by Match Group in early November indicated that Bumble will drop its lawsuit. A notice of non-opposition filed by Match confirms the company’s intent to support Bumble dropping its claims, provided the court issues declaratory judgments validating Match’s patents and Bumble’s alleged infringement of them, and absolving Match from allegedly stealing Bumble’s trade secrets.