Religion

Jdate, ChristianMingle, And Bumble Announce Expansions Abroad

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Singles in Europe and New Zealand just got a leg up in the romance game. Jdate, ChristianMingle, and Bumble - three of the biggest names in online dating - recently announced plans to expand their services abroad.

Spark Networks, parent company of Jdate and ChristianMingle, recently extended their services, languages, and local market support throughout Europe. Jdate is now available in German and Spanish, as well as English, Hebrew, and French. ChristianMingle is now available in French, Spanish, and German in addition to English. Both platforms will roll out Polish and Russian language support in the next few months.

Spark Networks attributes the expansions to user demand and says they are part of a broader initiative to further enable the global Jewish and Christian communities to try connect, communicate and find partners in their native language.

The US Dating Awards Honor The Best Of The Dating Industry In 2016

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US Dating Awards

Astute readers will note that there are still several months of 2016 left, nevertheless, the US Dating Awards have announced this year’s big winners.

Established in 2014 in the UK, the Dating Awards recognize both newcomers and established names in the field. This year marked the first US Awards show in New York City, where journalists, websites, events companies, and bloggers came together to celebrate 2016’s best achievements in Dating Technology, Marketing, Media, Customer Service, Expertise and Entrepreneurship.

The judging panel consisted of a variety of dating experts and industry professionals. Caroline Brealey, founding matchmaker of London dating agency Mutual Attraction, served as head judge. She was joined by Charly Lester, Founder and CEO of the UK Dating Awards, and Charreah Jackson, international coach and the Lifestyle and Relationships Editor for ESSENCE magazine, amongst others.

After Being Sued, Christian Mingle now Offering Same Sex Dating

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Gay Dating at Christian Mingle

Gay men and women are now allowed to search and meet through dating site Christian Mingle, one of the largest niche dating sites in the industry. The site opened its platform to gay users after settling a lawsuit that claimed that it violated California’s non-discrimination law on the basis of sexual orientation.

According to the conditions of the settlement, Spark Networks who own Christian Mingle among other dating sites, will change their homepages to allow users to specify if they are a man or a woman, and also if they are looking for men or women. While Spark also agreed to create a more comprehensive and tailored matching service for users seeking same sex relationships within the next two years, the dating site Christian Mingle as it exists for gay singles can be frustrating.

ChristianCafe.com Receives A Much-Needed Makeover

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Christian Café from 2010
Christian Café from 2010

After 17 years of connecting Christian singles, ChristianCafe.com has something of its own to be excited about. The site recently launched a brand new (and long overdue) look.

The makeover catapults ChristianCafe firmly into the 21st century. The site now works well on all devices, from the smallest mobile phone to the largest desktop screen. “It just became easier, faster, and super user-friendly to use ChristianCafe.com on a phone, mobile device, or tablets,” says the blog announcement. “And, because we are mobile responsive, when you’re on the move, ChristianCafe.com goes with you.”

Visitors, new users, and current users will all benefit from the redesign. A few highlights of the changes include:

Christian Café in 2016
Christian Café in 2016
  • Reorganized sign up pages that aim to make the registration process easier and faster
  • More dynamic pages that are easier to navigate and provide faster results
  • Mobile responsiveness that means the service can be used on the go
  • A better overall user experience for members

Another perk? ChristianCafe hopes for an influx of new users now that the service is mobile-friendly. Not only does that provide obvious benefits to the company, it’s also a plus for users - more new members means more choices for everyone on the site.

Although the facelift means ChristianCafe.com has undergone significant cosmetic changes, the core values that have made it successful remain the same. “Our goal is to help Christian singles to search and connect with their life partner/future spouse,” says the site, “and with our new look, it will change the way singles see Christian dating online.”

Looking forward, ChristianCafe says to expect new features and greater functionality to be implemented on an ongoing basis. Continuous efforts will be made to be the top-of-the-line dating destination for Christian singles.

If you’re ready to give it a shot, head over to the site and sign up for your free 10 day trial. The trial period allows prospective members full access to the site - from free searching, to free messaging, to free winks and IMs - making ChristianCafe.com the only Christian dating site to offer complete trial access.

ChristianCafe is one of the leading sites for connecting Christian singles online and the only major Christian dating service that’s actually Christian-owned. Founded in 1999, ChristianCafé has spawned thousands of success stories that can be found in its testimonials section. Read our review here.

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.

JDate and JSwipe and their Hot and Cold Relationship

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There’s no doubt about it: JDate is a big name in the world of online dating, and when it wants something, it will go to great lengths to get it. And recently, its parent company Spark Networks decided that it wanted popular dating app JSwipe, owned by Smooch Labs. The two companies struck a deal in late October, and now JSwipe is one of the dating properties of Spark Networks, along with dating sites Christian Mingle and Black Singles in addition to JDate.

JSwipe, which launched in April of 2014, has grown rapidly, with over 450,000 downloads worldwide and over 40 million messages between users. The dating app was definitely posing some competition to JDate, and attracting a younger user base who prefer apps to the traditional dating websites. This made the company an attractive target for Spark Networks, JDate’s owner.

In fact, JSwipe and JDate have had a tumultuous dating history, so to speak. Earlier this year, Forbes broke the story that JDate was suing JSwipe for copyright infringement because JSwipe was using the trademark “J” in the name of their app. In the lawsuit, JDate also claimed it owned the patent on software that “confidentially determines matches and notifies users of mutual matches in feelings and interests,” which would ultimately interfere with all dating apps using this technology (in other words, all dating apps).

JSwipe at first fought back, going to the press with the story of the lawsuit and calling out JDate for trying to shut the app down. JSwipe also started an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign to help them fight the lawsuit against JDate, assumingly because they didn’t have the funds to fight on their own. As it turns out, either the company ran out of money, or JDate put forth a really compelling offer, which Spark Networks said they would reveal later in the company’s 4th quarter financial statements.

The lawsuit has been dropped and Sparks Networks put out a press release, praising the new relationship between JDate and JSwipe. Michael Egan, Chief Executive Officer of Spark Networks, stated in the release, “We’re very excited to welcome the Smooch Labs team into Spark.  They’ve created a fantastic mobile application that helps young Jews meet and form meaningful relationships, and together with JDate, our leading Jewish focused dating platform, Spark is now able to significantly build on its mission to strengthen the Jewish community through dating and marriage.” David Yarus, founder of JSwipe had equally glowing statements about the union.

While JSwipe remains free to download right now, Sparks Networks has promised that new paid premium services will be rolled out in the near future. For more information on JDate you can read our review of JDate.