Christian Mingle

2015 Dating Sites Reviews Choice Awards - Christian

Christian Mingle
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Christian Mingle is the recipient of the 2015 Editor's Top Pick - Christian Award. This dating service is available via their website and dating apps for both the iPhone and Android devices. From our estimation using a number of online traffic tools we found that it is the leading dating service for Christian singles seeking like minded people.

This dating service has gone through a lot of changes this year. We have seen a number of updates for their dating app which brought in new features like new search criteria, complete layout redesign, and a updated registration process to improve access to the app. With the streamlined user experience which simplifies interactions between members we also saw the new Daily Matches feature which presents to the user when they sign in a collection of matches. Tablet and iPad users were not forgotten as the app layout takes advantage of the larger screen real estate that these devices offer.

Christian Mingle didn't forget about their website either. In December we saw a brand new interface as well which included a lot of new improvements along with a vastly updated layout which makes finding all the different features of this dating service easier. Interaction between members also have improved since now both the website and dating apps now share the same communication platform.

Christian Mingle’s also held onto their high rating at the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They are a BBB Accredited Business and have been a member since 1999 and continue to hold a A- rating. According to the BBB Spark Networks (which owns Christian Mingle) is "commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints".

Read our review of Christian Mingle for more information about this dating service or visit Christian Mingle directly.

This Year's Runner Up for this award is: Christian Cafe

JDate And ChristianMingle Are Getting Major Makeovers

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Christian Mingle

Usually makeovers come with the New Year and the soon-to-be-forgotten resolutions, but Spark Networks is starting early. The company has given its two most recognized brands, JDate and ChristianMingle, a head-to-toe refresh for the end of 2015.

Both brands have been redesigned inside and out. In addition to sleek new appearances, the sites have been updated with improved back-end platforms, new mobile-optimized features and easier-to-use functionality.

This is all part of Spark Networks' year-long strategic vision for boosting profits and subscriber engagement. Despite its strong legacy in the online dating business, Spark Networks had stalled while the rest of the industry modernized. With the relaunch of its two core brands, the company hopes to reposition itself once again as a leader in the niche dating world.

JDate

JDate is the first of the two legacy brands to debut the results of its makeover. Some of the updates and new product offerings include:

  • A cleaner, more streamlined user experience that simplifies interactions
  • A new “daily matches” feature that presents a curated collection of matches tailored to each member
  • An improved user experience for iPad/tablet users
  • An expanded mobile presence and improved mobile capabilities
  • A redesigned inbox to make interactions between users even easier

ChristianMingle has not yet debuted its renovation, but look for it in the coming weeks. Not only will it incorporate many of the features from the new JDate platform, it will also reposition the site as a more open, contemporary and diverse community based on the Christian faith and values.

After a year of ups and downs, this could be the breakthrough Spark Networks has been looking for. The company revealed a drop in year-on-year revenue and a net income loss of $822,000 for the quarter when it shared its Q3 2015 financial results. On the plus side, subscriber growth was on the uptick for the first time since Q1 2013 and Spark's mobile presence has expanded significantly this year.

“At the beginning of this year we set an aggressive plan to rebuild our two key brands – JDate and ChristianMingle – to become relevant again to our customers and drive fundamental change in business performance,” said Michael Egan, Chief Executive Officer of Spark Networks.

“It has been an exciting and successful year with tremendous growth and development momentum. The changes and upgrades we are debuting today are the first step to strengthening our portfolio to become more nimble and innovative, as we build valuable products and services for our members.”

For more information on these 2 dating services you can read our reviews of JDate and Christian Mingle.

Spark Networks Reports Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results

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Online dating provider Spark Networks has released its financial report for the third quarter of 2015, revealing a mix of highs and lows.

The company suffered a 22 percent drop in its year-on-year revenue, taking in a total of $11.7 million for the third quarter. Along with the dip in profit, Spark Networks also saw a net income loss of $822,000 for the quarter, compared to its $95,000 loss for Q2 of 2015.

But it's not all bad news. The report also highlights positive results that could mean things are looking up for next year:

  • Both Jewish and Christian Networks show simultaneous subscriber growth for first time since Q1 2013
  • Spark's mobile presence now exceeds over 200,000 monthly active users across five brands
  • The acquisition of JSwipe expands Spark's offering for the Jewish community
  • The re-launch of both JDate and ChristianMingle is on schedule for Q4 2015

CEO Michael Egan stated, "The last three months represent a true inflection point for Spark Networks and the clearest indication yet that we are on the right path towards turning this business around.” He notes four achievements in particular that he believes will be instrumental in getting Spark Networks back on track.

First, the subscriber base grew for the first time in two years. The growth was modest, but it came during what is traditionally a seasonally slow period. The momentum could carry into Q4 and Q1 2016, which are typically the strongest seasonal periods for Spark.

The second accomplishment is a record contribution margin on ChristianMingle. A new marketing strategy, and more sophisticated communications with members, has proved to be highly beneficial for the service.

Third is the launch of a handful of new mobile applications. Only a year ago, the company didn't have a single native mobile app. Today Spark Networks has nine apps across five different brands representing over 200,000 monthly active users. CrossPaths, targeted at millennial Christians seeking to meet others who share their faith, has been especially valuable.

Finally, in early October, Spark Networks closed the strategic acquistion of Smooch Labs. As the developer of popular Jewish millennial dating app JSwipe, Smooch Labs is a powerful new ally for Spark. With JSwipe added to JDate, which traditionally serves an older audience, Spark Networks now offers well-rounded romantic solutions to all singles of the Jewish faith.

Successes aside, Egan knows there is still work to be done. “We remain committed to driving revenue and EBITDA growth and continuing to execute against our product improvement roadmap,” he said. “Through both organic development and acquisitions we are proving that we can build and grow fantastic brands that serve important market niches. It is a very exciting time for Spark."

For more information on the popular Spark Networks dating sites and apps you can read our review of Christian Mingle and JDate.

New Spark Dating App Designed To Heat Up Your Love Life

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Spark Networks, owner of JDate and ChristianMingle, has launched a brand-new iPhone app. Named simply Spark, the new app turns the swipe into a way to make conscious, informed dating choices.

The world of dating apps isn't exactly sparse. Far from it. And users are used to seeing the same features over and over again. So what sets Spark apart?

Spark is both free and ad free. It also pulls user profiles directly from Facebook, making it exceptionally easy to use. Its most distinctive feature is that Spark, unlike other dating apps, offers ‘swiping with a choice.’ Instead of mindlessly swiping past single profiles at a time, Spark users compare multiple profiles simultaneously.

Spark App Screenshots

Spark presents two pictures, one on top of the other. Tap a picture to bring up more information on the person. Swipe up or double tap to select your favorite and, if it's a match, the two of you will be able to message each other within the app. If it's not a mutual match, communication isn't allowed.

If you're not interested in either profile, you can tap the “Skip” button to receive two new profiles. You can skip up to five times within a 24-hour period. If you run out of skips, you can either wait for them to be replenished or purchase points within the app, which can then be used towards additional skips.

“After matching on most other dating apps, many users realize the match is not a good fit and don’t pursue additional communication. The Spark dating app’s unique interface changes this behavior by encouraging each person to take a moment to learn a bit more about their matches,” said Michael Egan, Chief Executive Officer, Spark Networks. “This process helps members to be more selective, which ultimately leads to better matches and better dates!”

Spark is very new on the online dating scene, but it has potential. A minimal profile and simple swipe suffice if physical attraction is what you're looking for, but if you're on the hunt for a more serious relationship, Spark's dual profiles could be the answer. The process encourages users to pause, spend more time reading profiles, and get a deeper understanding of their potential dates.

The Spark dating app launched on August 27 and has so far been a success. It was featured as a “Best New App” on iTunes and registered over 10,000 users in the first five days. iTunes also continues to feature it in their list of the top 100 Free Social Networking apps.

Spark Networks Reports Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results

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Spark Networks, owner of a handful of niche dating sites like ChristianMingle.com, JDate.com, and BlackSingles.com, has released financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.

The company has good news to report, primarily centered around attempts to turnaround business after growth stalled for ChristainMingle and JDate. Highlights include:

  • Significant, double-digit improvement in win-back rates with key cohorts
  • Double-digit improvement on ChristianMingle TV spend efficiency
  • New communication platform driving increased user engagement
  • Subscriber base stabilized on both JDate and ChristianMingle in July versus June
  • Reiterating commitment to subscriber growth in Q4

Chief Executive Officer Michael Egan stated, "We are pleased to have made considerable progress toward transforming our business during the second quarter, and remain on track to return to sequential subscriber growth across both JDate and ChristianMingle by Q4.”

The expense reduction and improved efficiency program Spark Networks announced in 2014 is showing signs of success so far. Excluding direct marketing expenses, cost and expenses in the second quarter of 2015 were $7.1 million, a decrease of 20% compared to the year ago period. Direct marketing expenses in the second quarter of 2015 were $5.3 million, a decrease of 33% compared to the year ago period and a 12% decrease compared to the prior quarter.

On the downside, revenue in the second quarter of 2015 was $12.3 million, a decrease of 22% compared to the year ago period, and a 9% decrease from the prior quarter. The decreases were primarily driven by a loss in paying subscribers, particularly for the Christian and Jewish Networks segments.

Spark Networks plans to continue its “crawl, walk, run” strategy for the remainder of 2015. A re-design and re-architecture of the company's core websites is in the works. An updated JDate experience is expected in early Q4, followed by an updated ChristianMingle experience in the latter part of that quarter.

Other product improvements are in the works concurrently. An upgraded communication platform has dramatically increased users' interactions, and improved mobile offerings have also seen a positive response.

In addition to improving the product, Spark Networks is working hard to improve its marketing strategy. Changes have been made to the customer acquisition and retention programs with good results. The company has seen in excess of 10% efficiency gains with their ChristianMingle television marketing spend, and July 2015 generated more initial registrations on JDate than any month since the first quarter of 2014.

"It is important to note that this is just the start,” stated Michael Egan. “As we roll out new and refreshed products, and continue to enhance our operational capabilities, we expect to drive continued improvements in customer growth and retention.”

For more on Spark Networks 2 most popular dating services you can read our Christian Mingle review and our JDate review.

Spark Networks Announces Plans To Reinvigorate JDate & ChristianMingle

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Spark Networks operates two of the best-known niche dating sites in the biz – JDate and ChristianMingle – but lately both brands have taken a hit. JDate's userbase has slowly been declining, while ChristianMingle saw an abrupt drop following a cut in advertising spending.

Now Spark Networks is making plans to implement a broad turnaround strategy. The strategy is divided into two action items: upgrade technology for both websites and redeploy advertising funds for ChristianMingle in a more intelligent manner.

To fully understand the need for a technological upgrade, you first have to appreciate how far Spark Networks has come. Its sites have used the same basic technology and design for the last seven years, a feat practically unheard of in the Internet Age. An update is long overdue.

Mobile versions of the sites are either already available or will be launched soon, and a revamping of site architecture is in progress. The latter project means making future adjustments to keep up with the changing times will be a much simpler matter.

Where marketing is concerned, JDate has little to worry about. The site is so well known that it spreads primarily by word of mouth, and about 90% of its revenue remains after accounting for direct expenses. ChristianMingle, on the other hand, has struggled to achieve the same notoriety despite having more overall users.

The new marketing strategy for ChristianMingle has multiple components. First, the site will focus on select urban centers rather than large nationwide campaigns. The company plans to partner with mega churches and Christian organizations to deepen their ties within communities.

Second, Spark will make changes to its internal emailing efforts. Email blasts sent to all users will be nixed in favor of highly targeted messages sent to the right consumer, at the right time.

Finally, Spark is looking to attract new users who don't consider faith the most important thing in their lives. The company plans to bring more humor into its advertising in hopes of appealing to an audience who doesn't consider Christianity to be as central to who they are. Unlocking this larger portion of the market should give Spark a dramatically larger pool of potential subscribers to draw from.

Plans farther down the line involve expanding revenue opportunities by providing products throughout the life-cycle of a relationship and beginning a fremium website aimed at younger users. Both could be serious boons to ChristianMingle's turnaround strategy, but for now they're on hold until Spark Networks executes its current goals.