Christian Mingle

Spark Networks Reports First Quarter 2015 Financial Results

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Spark Networks – owner of ChristianMingle.com, JDate.com, BlackSingles.com, and more – has released financial results for the first quarter of 2015.

Revenue in the first quarter of 2015 was $13.5 million, a decrease of 19% compared to the year ago period and a 5% decrease from the prior quarter. The decrease was primarily driven by a 25% drop in average paying subscribers, particularly in the Christian Networks segment.

Direct marketing expenses in the first quarter of 2015 were $6.1 million, a decrease of 47% compared to the year ago period and an 18% increase compared to the prior quarter. Much of the decrease resulted from a new marketing strategy for Christian Networks.

2014 Dating Sites Reviews Choice Awards - Christian

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For 2014 Christian Mingle is the recipient of the Editor's Top Pick - Christian Award. This dating site is the largest Christian oriented dating service in the world. With the tag line “Find God’s Match for You” this service offers all the features you would expect of a dating site but with the focus on Christian religions.

Christian Mingle is very popular in the United States and Canada. You can access the service either via your internet browser (on your laptop or phone) or by their brand new redesigned Android app. The app offers all of the dating features found on their website including browsing member profiles, creating your profile and uploading photos, chatting with members, and viewing lists like your favorites and who has viewed you. In your profile you can also specify what Church denomination you grew up with and what type of Church you currently attend. You may also specify how often you attend Church. One nice search feature Christian Mingle has is the ability to search for new members or recently updated profiles, since your last time you logged in.

Christian Mingle’s reputation is important to them. They are a BBB Accredited Business and have been a member since 1999. Their current rating with the Better Business Bureau is an A minus. Christian Mingle also cares what their members think and have answered most reviews about their dating app at the Google Play Store with thoughtful responses and tips so that the members can get the most out of their online dating experiences.

The free version of Christian Mingle allows you to create a profile, view your lists and search for members. To make contact with members via email or instant messaging your will have to upgrade your membership by paying a small monthly fee.

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

Spark Networks Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results

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Spark Networks, owner of many special-interest online personals sites including ChristianMingle.com, JDate.com, and BlackSingles.com, has reported financial results for the third quarter ending on September 30, 2014.

It was a time of major transitions for the company. The majority of the Board was removed in July. The new Board was primarily focused on right-sizing the corporate cost structure and improving marketing efficiency, two goals which were, according to Executive Chairman Michael McConnell, largely accomplished. “Improved marketing efficiency at ChristianMingle drove subscriber acquisition costs ('SAC') in September that were less than subscriber lifetime value ('LTV') for the first time since January 2012,” he reports.

On the numbers front, Spark Networks presents the following highlights:

  • Contribution of $9.0 million, highest since Q1 2009
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $2.5 million, highest since Q1 2010
  • Average paying subscribers of 257,679, a sequential decline of 6%
  • Revenue of $15.0 million, a decrease of 14% compared to the year-ago period and a 5% decrease compared to the prior quarter

As you can see, it's a mixed bag. The drop in revenue was primarily driven by a 14% decrease in average paying subscribers, reflecting a year-over-year 15% and 9% decline in average paying subscribers for the Christian and Jewish Networks segments, respectively.

On the up side, direct marketing expenses in the third quarter of 2014 were down 52% compared to the year-ago period and 24% compared to the prior quarter. Contribution in the third quarter of 2014 was $9.0 million, an increase of 90% compared to the year-ago period and a 14% increase compared to the prior quarter. In both cases, Christian Networks was the primary driver (improved marketing efficiency and a better mix within the paying subscriber base, to be more specific).

Looking forward, McConnell says the company's primary objective is to improve product functions and features across all platforms. A JDate iPhone app was recently approved and a ChristianMingle app should be on its way soon. Spark Networks is also looking to leverage its presence in Israel and outsource some other development activities in order to speed up product development.

"In summary,” says McConnell, “much has been accomplished in the last several months, but much work remains. The team has embraced our future with a sense of urgency and focus. We look forward to driving changes that create a terrific experience for our customers and support the core communities we serve."

Spark Networks Is Breaking Up With Its Employees

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Breakups are never easy, especially when it means losing your job. Spark Networks, the company behind dating sites like ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com, has announced that it's cut its workforce and has made substantial progress in expense reduction initiatives. The measures are expected to save the company $4.5 million to $5 million a year.

Although Spark did not disclose exactly how many jobs were cut, the company had previously reported that it had 201 full-time equivalent employees as of December 31. The company expects to incur pre-tax cash charges of approximately $1.3mm for severance benefits and other related expenses.

The cuts come at an interesting time for Spark Networks. Lately, its sites have seen an increasing number of their customers turn to competing services. The company has also undergone a number of recent changes in its corporate structure. David Hughes, formerly chief executive at a digital marketing firm in West Los Angeles, resigned as a director after joining Spark Networks’ board just six months prior. He will be replaced by Jonathan R. Mather, a former Netgear chief financial officer.

Hughes’ exit comes only two months after a very public ousting of four of Spark's six directors (including Chief Executive Greg Liberman). The hope is that a fresh crop of directors will be better able to help the company rise above the competition in difficult times.

Free dating sites like OkCupid and mobile apps like Tinder are dominating the market and have made life difficult for services like Christian Mingle and JDate. Spark Networks experienced a 10% drop in revenue during the second quarter, to $15.8 million. The company reported a total of $29 million in net losses over the last three years.

Looking to future, Spark Networks plans to head back to basics. It's putting its focus on three things in hopes of boosting subscriber count and revenue:

  1. Upgrading its product offerings
  2. Improving its processes for subscriber acquisition, retention, and renewal
  3. Refining its marketing strategy

"Much has been accomplished over the last 30-days to refocus the business on its core properties and to drive operational efficiencies,” said Executive Chairman Michael McConnell in a statement.

“Moving forward, I believe the opportunity to profitably grow our business is significant and we are prepared to execute on strategic growth initiatives that meet our return on capital hurdles. Further, the team is operating with a sense of urgency and commitment to drive improvements in all areas of the business. Importantly, I am confident in the resilience and resonance of our brands within our targeted communities."

'Mean Girls' Lacey Chabert Stars In 'Christian Mingle' Movie

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We live in a crazy world. And at the moment, nothing is greater proof of that and the fact that there is a Christian Mingle movie.

Yes, that Christian Mingle. The dating website that promises devout singles it will "find God's match for you." Someone in Hollywood apparently thought that sounded like a rip-roaring good time of a rom-com, and here we are, wondering what led us to this strange and confusing place.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the lead role is played by Lacey Chabert, most notable for her turn as the ditzy Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls? It just gets better and better.

Allegedly there is also a plot. It follows Chabert’s character, a 30-something marketing executive named Gwyneth Hayden, whose life is perfect except for one thing: it's missing a man. In a moment of desperation, she joins the Christian Mingle dating site in hopes of changing her fortunes – even though she is not a Christian. Here’s a synopsis of the rest of the film:

“Gwyneth’s attempts at impressing her dream guy end in disaster when he calls her out on her ‘faux faith.’ In an honest realization, she sees her superficial life for what it really is, and she’s driven to create a personal relationship with God. In the end, He delivers on the true desires of her heart: ‘life-changing’ love.”

The director is Corbin Bernsen, an American actor known for a strange mix of television dramas, reality TV shows, and soap opera work. He began making religious films in 2010 and formed his own production company shortly afterwards. He also has one of the largest snow globe collections in the world because… well, why not?

Bernsen swears the film is not an advertisement or an endorsement of the Christian Mingle dating website, but…uh... I can't think of another reason for making this film, can you?

"You might ask why do include 'the movie' in the title?” Bernsen wrote on his Facebook page. “One of my first jobs is to let everyone know that this is a pure, straight up Romantic Comedy and NOT an ad or paid promotional piece for Christian Mingle.com – the popular dating website," Bernsen declared in a post on his Facebook page Friday.

 “They have been incredible partners and friends in allowing us to use their name and play an integral role in the film, but one of the first rumors I want you to help me dispel is that this is a commercial for them. Check out the trailer and you'll see...”

Well okay, Corbin… if that's what you say. You'll forgive me if I remain a little skeptical. Check out the trailer above and see for yourself.

Spark Networks Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

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It’s been a busy month for Spark Networks. The owner of ChristianMingle, JDate, BlackSingles. and more, has released its financial results for the second quarter of 2014, and will soon be getting a new CEO.

Revenue in Q2 2014 was $15.8 million, a decrease of 10% from the previous year’s $17.6 million. A 9% decrease in average paying subscribers – reflecting an 8% and 7% decline in average paying subscribers for the Christian and Jewish Networks segments, respectively – is the primary reason for the overall drop in revenue.

On the plus side, expenses were down. Direct marketing expenses in the second quarter of 2014 were $7.9 million, a decrease of 43% from Q2 2013. Total cost and expenses dropped 19% from the previous year, to $16.8 million this year. Net loss in the second quarter of 2014 was $1.1 million, or $0.05 per share, compared to a net loss of $3.3 million, or $0.15 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter of 2014 was a loss of $363,000, an improvement of 84% compared to the year-ago period.

Much of the good news comes from Christian Networks, which accounted for most of the decreased expenses thanks to improved marketing efficiency and growth in the winback and renewal subscriber bases. Christian Networks was also responsible for bumping contribution up in the second quarter of 2014 to $7.8 million, an increase of 109% from the year before. This is the first time Christian Networks has generated positive contribution in 15 quarters.

All this comes at a time of major change for Spark Networks. President & CEO Greg Liberman has left the company, leaving Michael McConnell – the company’s Chairman of the Board – to serve as Executive Chairman until Liberman’s successor is in place.

“It has been an incredible ten years, and I am honored to have spent more than half of my professional career at such a special company,” said Liberman. “Spark is a relationship business in every sense of the word. Through iconic brands like JDate and ChristianMingle, we create countless relationships for our members every day. But, behind the scenes, it’s the relationships we have in the communities we serve and the relationships within our team that drive everything.

Suffice it to say, I am extremely proud and grateful to have played a role in building and leading such an amazing team, and to have had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with them to transform this company and business. In their hands, Spark’s future is very bright.”

For more on these two dating sites you can read our reviews of ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com.