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Spark Networks A+ BBB Rating

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Spark Networks is one of the few dating companies to be a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited business. They have been one since 1999. Being a BBB accredit business means that the:

... BBB has determined that the business meets accreditation standards which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.

Why is belonging to the BBB important? The BBB is an international recognized independent organization that allows consumers to not only voice their own opinions about a company but it also allows them to file a complaint which will be monitored by the BBB on how the accredited business responds. If you check out Spark Networks BBB report you can see the number of complaints they have had in the last 36 months and the type of response which was given. The response of Spark Networks directly reflects their BBB rating. This doesn't mean Spark Networks has to comply with every consumer request but they do need to follow the contract they entered in with their customers or risk receiving a lower BBB rating.

Spark Networks Fourth Quarter 2009 Financials

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On March 4th, 2010 Spark Networks reported quarter 4 earnings for 2009 and their year end results (which was on Dec. 31, 2009). Revenue for the fourth quarter was $11.1 million which was a decrease of 16% from the same quarter last year. Spark Networks reported a lost for this quarter of $9.6 million and for the full year, a net loss of $6.4 million. Total revenue for 2009 was $45.4 million; in 2008 it was $53.7 million. CEO Adam Berger is quoted in the press release about this the losses:

It’s no surprise to anyone following us this past year that 2009 was extremely challenging for us as revenue declined by 21% with nearly half of the decline coming from our highly profitable Jewish Networks segment ... We accelerated our cost cutting program to offset the revenue decline but were unable to overcome the $8.9 million contribution1 decline and ended up suffering a $5.7 million decline in Adjusted EBITDA

Average paying subscribers for Spark Networks was 168,646 for quarter 4 2009 which is a 5 percent decrease when compared to quarter 4 in 2008. For the full year, average paying subscribers was 166,267. This is down 11 percent from 186,957 in 2008.

While Jewish Networks revenue fell 11 percent to $7.1 million, their subscribers grew by 4 percent to 90,567 in quarter 4. Average paying subscribers for General Market Networks (Spark.com and others) was 9,594. This is a decrease of 58 percent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The Other Affinity Networks (MingleMatch) had better subscriber news and posted a 4 percent increase in subscribers to 67,725 during quarter 4 2009.

While Spark Networks continues to struggle, their balance sheet shows as of December 31, 2009 cash and cash equivalents of $6.2 million with no outstanding debt.

For the full 2009 Q4 release visit Spark Networks News Room.

Related Story: Spark Networks Third Quarter 2009 Financials

Spark Networks Third Quarter 2009 Financials

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On November 5th, 2009 Spark Networks reported their third quarter results which ended on September 30, 2009. For Q3, 2009 Spark Networks revenue was $11.1 million. This is a 21 percent decrease from Q3, 2008 of $14 million and a 2 percent decrease from last quarter. For the first 9 months of this year total revenue is now at $34.3 million which is a 22 percent decrease from last year of $44.1 million.

The Jewish Networks saw revenue fall to $7.1 million for Q3. For the same quarter last year, revenue was 16 percent more at $8.4 million. Some good news is to be found though, for the first time in a few quarters, the Jewish Networks had an increase of subscribers to 86,051. This is a decrease of 6 percent from Q3, 2008 but a 4 percent increase from the prior quarter.

The Other Affinity Networks (MingleMatch) saw a decrease of 9% in revenue to $3.2 million when compared to last year. This is 3 percent less than the last quarter. Subscriber wise for the third quarter, there was 66,786. This is virtually identical to Q3 in 2008 and a 2 percent increase from last quarter.

Spark Networks Second Quarter 2009 Financials

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Unfortunately Spark Networks has continued their downward trend. Revenue for Q2, 2009 was $11.2 million, which is a 25 percent decrease when compared to $15 million from Q2, 2008. This is also a 7 percent decrease in revenue from Q1, 2009. Revenue dropped due to continued declines in subscriber numbers from JDate and the General Markets dating sites. Average paying subscribers for Spark Networks as a whole in quarter 2, 2009 is 163,217. This is a 3 percent decrease when compared to the last quarter and a 14 percent decrease when compared to the same quarter last year.

JDate saw revenue drop 18% to $7,1 million when compared to the same quarter in 2008. This is the result of subscribers falling 10 percent to 82,769. The Other Affinity Networks had revenues which totalled $3.3 million and 65,409 subscribers. Compared to the same quarter last year, revenue fell 3 percent while subscriber numbers increased 3 percent. General Market Networks saw the worse of it. Revenues dropped 68% to $701,000 and subscribers fell 58% to 14,022 when compared to quarter 2, 2008.

The planned decrease in revenue for General Market Networks is largely attributable to an 85% decrease in the marketing spend for this segment in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.

For the full 2009 Q2 release visit Spark Networks News Room.

Related Story: Spark Networks First Quarter 2009 Financials

Writing your best profile for JDate.com

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Every dating site has its own spin on the dating profile format. In this series, I'll take a look at some of the different profile formats and how you can write your best profile for that particular service. JDate.com, part of the Spark Networks family of dating sites, is focused on matching Jewish (and Jewish-friendly) singles.

JDate's profile is in four tabs: Basics, Lifestyle, Interests, and Relationship.

Basics

Here is where your About me paragraph goes. Only a paragraph (maybe two!) is necessary here to give people a taste of who you are and what you do. The purpose of this section is to intrigue people into contacting you, not to dish your life story. Be fascinating, but brief.

Lifestyle & Interests

No paragraphs to fill out here, just things to select or not select.

Be careful when selecting checkboxes for your personality. Your idea of "stubborn" may be that it takes you a little while to be convinced to eat at a new restaurant. Your potential match may read it as "will challenge me on everything and make my life miserable" because that's what their ex's flavor of "stubborn" happened to be. Tread carefully.

Relationship

There are four optional paragraphs in this section. There are some MAJOR traps in these, so read carefully so you know how to avoid them:

My ideal relationship:

Here's where you describe the style of relationship you want. Think in terms of the kind of activities you'd like to do with your future mate. "I'm looking for a man who likes a long walk after dinner so we can burn off dessert while we chat." or "She's the type of girl who always thinks of the little things that I'd forget - like keeping extra Lactaid pills in her purse so I don't have to skip out on Cold Stone!" Don't mention the scary "m" word - monogamy. Most people agree that it's a good idea, and are kinda put-off by seeing you flat-out request it.

My past relationships:

Don't fill out this question. Seriously, it invites too much negativity. If you really need to fill it out, mention the positive qualities of your past relationships. For example, "Each of my ex's has taught me something interesting. Thanks to Dave, I can follow a football game. Thanks to Daniel, I know how to rollerblade (and love it!). Thanks to Justin, I have an urge to go back to school and get my PhD!"

I'm looking for a:

Here's the section where you can list the qualities of the person you'd like to date. Be specific about character, but leave the details of looks, job, etc out. Focus on the type of person, not the specifics.

My perfect first date:

Up to you here. What I'd suggest is mentioning a place or activity you'd like to try but haven't yet. That gives your potential match a good idea of something to talk to you about in their first email. "This may sound crazy, but I really want to try that new burger place on Long Street. It's not really a fancy first date, but I really love a juicy burger!

Jdate.com allows you to have four pictures. One picture should be a close-up of your face, one full body shot, and two of your choosing (group shot, action shot, another close-up, etc).

Best of luck with your JDating! Next in the series... OkCupid profiles!

For more information on the dating site mentioned in this article, read our JDate.com review.

A JDater's Success Story in the New York Times

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Spark Networks Jewish dating site called JDate got a nice bit of publicity in The New York Times last week. The paper publish an article about a JDater's success story in their Fashion & Style section.

After a 13 year marriage, a 48 year old man named Ron James decided to get right back into dating. In the same month as his divorce he joined JDate.com. In the beginning months, every night for 2 or 3 hours he searched for woman between the ages of 30 and 50, and who lived within 50 miles of his apartment. He kept his profile full of energy but not head strong. In 18 months Ron emailed between 500 and 600 women, in which he dated almost 50 of them. This many dates was expense since, he had to pay for the date and usually commute an hour into New York City. This was all done on a modest salary. What Ron ended up doing to save money was stacking first meet dates. Every other Sunday he would have dates with as many as 3 women. He kept the date times spread apart and at different locations so he could "retain some sense of integrity".