JDate

A Makeover for JDate.com

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JDate.com received a complete site makeover this month that includes both the front end of the site and the members area. The new look of the homepage (on the left) gives a more modern and professional feel than the previous version of the site (right). Other updates include redesigned profiles and searching. You now can now search by keywords or a phrase. This allows you more control over who is returned in search results since you can now search the entire profile, including any text inputted by the JDate member. Search results also have been updated to include a new mini search view which is available while you are viewing a potential matches profile. Enhanced search filtering of results is also available for the quick search tool.

Two other new features include a blog and video show. JBlog is a new web blog for members which JDaters can contribute too, discussing their lives and dates. A certified therapist will also blog her advice, analysis and answer any questions from the community. JDateTV is a weekly produced online video that follows "eight JDaters on their journeys to find their soul mates". The first season is now online in its entirety and available for viewing.

You can find the JBlog here and the new JDateTV here.

For more information on this dating site for Jewish singles, read our JDate.com review.

A Closer Look at JDate

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Minyanville took a look at Spark Networks latest financials (see Story) and decided to do an article on it. Spark Networks as a whole is not doing very well but JDate has been holding its own in the recent downturn of the economy, even with the advertising budget lowered by $150 thousand. JDate is really the only viable online dating solution for someone who wants to date someone within their own Jewish faith. One thing they mentioned which might get JDate members attention is that apparently they may be considering lowering subscription fees which were last raised back in April 2007 (see Story) to bring in more members.

One thing the article talks about, which I disagree with, is that the subscription model for online dating is not viable any more due to free dating sites. While their example of a free site like Plenty Of Fish has seen increase visitors of 69 percent according to Compete.com (not 100% like the article suggests) most other free dating sites have been either losing visitors or just holding their own. With the recession over the 6 month mark, I think a lot of the popular paid dating sites are doing remarkable well by keeping roughly their current visitor levels, while sales in other industries plummet. Subscription based dating is not going anywhere, and these sites have their place in the dating industry, just like the free dating sites.

For the full article, read Minyanville (Note: I experienced problems viewing this page in IE 8). For more on the dating site, read our Jdate.com review.

Spark Networks First Quarter 2009 Financials

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From the Spark Networks quarter 1, 2009 financial results, it shows the dating networks revenue has declined 20 percent to $12 million, with $300 thousand in net profit. In Q1, 2008 revenue was $15 million, with a net profit of $1.6 million. Quarter 4 in 2008 saw $13.2 in revenue. Adam Berger, Chief Executive Officer of Spark Networks, Inc. stated that revenue is down due to the turn in the economy and the lower than expected total average paying subscriber.

JDate has more than just Jews

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Surprisingly over 2 percent of users on JDate are not Jewish. This doesn't mean 2 percent of users have lied on JDate, they have just answered profile questions like Do you attend synagogue? or Do you keep kosher? with the options "I will tell you later" or "Never". They usually also select “Willing to convert” under religious background as well. Anonymous non-Jewish JDaters have noted a number of reasons for using a dating site designed just for Jews. Reasons include having a number of Jewish friends and knowing a lot of the religion, to hearing about other single's success on the dating service.

Some of the Jewish members have complained about allowing non-Jews on JDate. They use the site specifically to meet other single Jews, and do not want to deal with any members who are not. I understand were these members are coming from but I do not see the harm in allowing non-Jewish members from joining if they are serious about meeting someone. All members, who don't want to see non-Jewish profiles, have to do is update there search preferences and deselect "Willing to convert" and "Will tell you later" from the Religion preference. Once the preferences are saved these members will never come up in a search again.

I don't think JDate.com will ever not allow non-Jewish members from joining. The percentage who do join is small and if they ever did prevent them then, JDate may get slapped with a legal suit by a unhappy member like eHarmony was in a similar case were they did not allowing same-sex relationships (see Story).

For more details on this Jewish dating community, read our JDate review.

Spark Networks Fourth Quarter and Year 2008 Financials

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Spark Networks had a disappointing quarter 4 in 2008. From the press release:

2008 was a mixed year for us. We achieved moderate annual revenue increases in Jewish Networks and Other Affinity Networks, improved Contribution margins to 74%, cut Operating Expenses by 19%, drove annual Adjusted EBITDA to record levels at a 28% margin and returned capital to stockholders by using cash flow to repurchase 21% of the shares outstanding at the start of 2008 ... we are disappointed with second half trends and in particular the fourth quarter, as revenue and subscribers decreased sequentially in each online segment. 2008 revenue, excluding General Markets, was flat while fourth quarter revenue, excluding General Markets, declined 3% sequentially. Jewish Networks was flat in 2008 but saw its third consecutive quarter of declines.

General Markets was Spark Networks flag ship dating site once, Americansingles.com. For over the last year American Singles has lost a large number of members. Spark Networks current flag ship site is JDate, the online Jewish Network.

Spark Networks Third Quarter 2008 Financials

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Spark Networks released their 3rd quarter financial results this past week. It wasn't a very good quarter for the company when compared to 2007 Q3 and last quarter.

Revenue for the third quarter of 2008 was $14.0 million, an 11% decrease compared to $15.8 million in the third quarter of 2007, and a 6% decrease compared to $15.0 million in the prior quarter. Revenue for the nine months was $44.1 million, a 10% decrease compared to $49.2 million for the same period last year.

Subscribers are also down.