Spark Networks

Spark Networks First Quarter 2008 Financials

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I've been meaning to post this information for a while.

Spark Networks released their First Quarter 2008 Financial Results on May 1, 2008. Spark Networks revenue for this period is $15 million. This is $1.8 million less from the first quarter 2007 and a decrease of 6% over quarter 4, 2007. It is not all bad news though as operating expenses where cut 27% over quarter 1, 2007 which resulted in a $1.6 million net income. Spark Networks reported a net loss of $1.4 million last year in the first quarter.

As far as subscribers are concerned, Spark Networks in the first quarter of 2008 had 195,325 subscribers. This is a decrease of 16% from 231,313 from the first quarter in 2007 and a decrease of 3% from the fourth quarter of 2007.

JDate is an Official Honoree in this Years Webby Awards

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The online Jewish dating service JDate has been selected as an Official Honoree in the Social Networking category for this years Webby Awards. This is the 12th year for the awards. The Webby Awards recognize websites that are superior in quality and sets standards on the internet. To get your site nominated in the Webby Awards is very difficult, your website must stand out in all categories including functionality, usability and the over look of the site. According to the awards website:

Of the more than 10,000 entries submitted to the 12th Annual Webby Awards, fewer than 15% were distinguished as an Official Honoree.

The one thing I was surprised about was JDate was put in the Social Networking category. Since there is no Online Dating category listed at the Webby Awards I guess it was the closest match. A press release by JDate also calls their site an online community. While this is true, JDate's primary focus is still online dating. The community is a result of the dating. As social networking sites try to take away dating site members (just take a look at all the new dating applications available at MySpace and Facebook), dating sites are now including more social networking features to lure these members back and then some.

Read our review for more information on JDate, the online Jewish Community.

Jewish In-Faith Dating

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The Philadelphia Jewish Voice has an article about the Jewish dating service JDate. In it the author Gabrielle Loeb, talks about the problems of intermarriage in the Jewish community. Intermarried couples usually raise Jewish children but, by the next generation only 13 percent of the grandchildren identify themselves as Jews (according to the NJPS 2001 study). Also, a Jewish Population Survey reported that Jews who married between the years of 1996 and 2001, 47 percent of them did so outside the Jewish faith. As a comparison, in 1970 only 13 percent of Jews intermarried. It seems that intermarriage is resulting in a decrease of the over all growth rate of the Jewish population in North America.

Part of the reason the founders of JDate decided to create a dating service in 1997 was to combat this problem. They realized Jewish singles needed another way to meet someone of the same faith. Since then, this site has become very popular. Even Rabbi's have been promoting this service (see story Rabbis Helping Single Jews with Subscriptions to JDate). The media seems to love JDate as well. There are a ton of articles on this Jewish dating site and it has been mentioned in several TV shows over the last few years which also has helped it popularity.

Rabbis Helping Single Jews with Subscriptions to JDate

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Reuters has a piece regarding some U.S. Rabbis who are using Jewish online dating services like JDate to help their single congregants. They are offering subscriptions in the hopes of them meeting someone from the Jewish Faith. The US Jewish community are concerned over their dwindling numbers. Some people have estimated that half of the Jews who married in the United States have married someone from a different faith.

Currently Rabbi Donald Weber of Marlboro, New Jersey and his wife (a rabbi in the liberal Reform Movement) have setup a fund and offer JDate subscriptions to anyone over the age of 18 and who are single, in their congregation.

Spark Networks up for Sale

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The New York Times is reporting that Spark Networks is up for sale. Spark Networks owns a large number of dating services (probably close to 20) with their flagship dating sites being AmericanSingles.com, BBWPersonalsPlus.com, and JDate (in order of size). According to comScore Media, the Spark Networks of dating sites are the 4th largest with 2.45 million visitors in November, 2007. Yahoo! Personals had the most visitors on the metrix with 4.23 million people for that month. This comparison is slightly unfair to other dating services since, the Spark Network is made up of a group of different dating sites. Still AmericanSingles.com did have 1.20 million visitors for November which is still a very large number of people and sales.

With shares (LOV) closing at $4.90 yesterday this gives the company a value of $131.4 million. Some Analysts predict that it may go for as high as $185 million, especially since the share price has risen close to 20% in the last few weeks. Spark Networks are in talks with companies that own related sites like MySpace, Match.com, eHarmony and Yahoo! Personals too see if interest in a sale can be generated.

Recently there was another dating network sold for the tune of $300 million, see the story here.

Spark Networks 3rd Quarter Results

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Spark Networks just released their third quarter financial results. Spark Networks owns AmericanSingles.com (there flagship dating service), Date.ca (for Canadians), JDate.com (Jewish Dating) and a fair number other specific niche oriented dating services. With most of their dating services membership numbers holding steady, JDate.com saw an increase in paid members by 3% for a total of 74,078. This shows well for the service in this increasingly more competitive niche market. Overall Spark Networks have a healthy bottom line and will continue to be one of the driving forces in internet dating.

For more information on the dating services which Spark Networks owns, see our reviews of AmericanSingles.com, JDate.com, and Date.ca.