Speed Dating

New Dating App Spottle Matches Through Live Video Chats

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Live video chats might be the future of dating according to recent reports, and new Washington D.C.-based dating app Spottle is betting on it.

The way Spottle works is simple: you download the app, and then you can join live video chat sessions on Thursday and Saturday nights at 9:00pm eastern time. The way it works is like an online “spin the bottle” session according to DCist.com, and also acts much like a virtual speed dating event.

Your Favorite Teenage Party Game Is Now A Video Dating App

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There’s only so much you can learn from carefully curated photos and sparsely filled out profiles. Plenty stretch the truth, resulting in more disappointing first dates than we’d care to try to count. Spin the Bottle, a new video dating app, hopes to solve the problem by skipping straight to actual eye contact.

"With so many 'swipe left, swipe right' dating apps out there right now, we wanted a way to take people beyond the often misleading, perfectly manicured profile pictures and get them right to face time," said Matthew Cohen, CEO and co-founder of Spin Labs, the company behind Spin the Bottle. "Looking into someone's eyes and having a conversation... can be much more revealing than reading a list of interests and seeing a gallery of heavily edited, perfectly filtered selfies."

A new take on the classic party game, Spin the Bottle reimagines the online dating experience with 30 second live video speed dates. The premise is simple: a player gives the bottle their best spin with a swipe, and when it stops, they begin a 30 second video chat date with their match. If they're feeling a spark, they can tap an icon to give their date a kiss and wait for one in return. Two kisses and it's a match.

POF Shutters Speed Dating Company 'FastLife'

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After two years together, POF has ended its relationship with speed dating and singles event company FastLife.

POF CEO Marcus Frind saw a bright future for the union in 2013. "The direction of online dating is undeniably headed towards a merging of the online and offline worlds,” he said. “Currently our users host over 300 events worldwide each month. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of offering singles innovative, new ways of connecting face to face."

The plan was for POF to invest $30 million into live events over a period of 12 months. Competition in the arena was ramping up. Mega-companies like Match had introduced live events. Services like HowAboutWe were focused on getting online daters off their computers and into the real world. Location-based apps that linked nearby singles for insta-dates were becoming increasingly popular.

The time seemed right for POF to team up with FastLife, a company that held around 2,400 events a year in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. FastLife's exceptional service and venues generated annual revenue of ~$2.5 million. Could rounding out its offerings be what POF needed to take things to the next level?

The answer turned out to be 'no.' POF dropped FastLife in June 2015, 21 months after acquiring the company and 2 months after closing eVow. eVow had been launched to compete with dating sites focused on long-term relationships, but proved unsustainable after 5 years.

Now that POF has lightened its load, what's next for the dating site?

Like many of its competitors, POF is focused strongly on mobile. Frind told an interviewer at the 2015 Traction Conference in Vancouver that 90% of POF's business is now conducted on smartphones. POF is concentrating on keeping its brand strong, so mobile users will continue to choose it over other options in the app store.

POF is also concentrating on maximizing messaging. The more messages a user sends, the more likely they are to get a response. The more responses they get, the more likely they are to go on dates. The more dates they go on, the more likely they are to enter a relationship and have a successful online dating experience. Currently, around 30 million messages are sent each day on POF.

As far as revenue is concerned, POF has opted for a “freemium” model. Rather than a traditional subscription service, POF offers its basic features for free. Users can then choose to upgrade or add features for additional fees. With more than 100 million users and a rumoured $100+ million in annual revenue, it's hard to argue with the POF approach.

The Secrets Of Speed Dating

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You know how speed dating works. An equal number of men and women attend an event. Each person spends a set period of time chatting to a prospective date, before half the guests rotate and everyone is introduced to a new potential partner. At the end of the night, each person indicates who they are interested in seeing again, and if there's a match, the organizers arrange an exchange of details.

But there's plenty you probably don't know about speed dating. Like the story of its origin: did you know that speed dating was invented by a Rabbi? Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, a Los Angeles resident and director Aish HaTorah (a Jewish Orthodox organization with a network of branches around the world), originally founded speed dating as a way to help Jewish singles meet and marry. In fact, SpeedDating, written as a single word, is a registered trademark of Aish HaTorah.

The first speed dating event took place at Peet's Café in Beverly Hills in late 1998, but it didn't take long for the idea to spread beyond Southern California. Within a year or so, the speed dating idea had gone viral and imitations had popped up around the country. It was a revolutionary way for busy singles to meet each other without the stigma associated with other kinds of dating agencies.

Although online dating is on the forefront of everyone's minds these days, it doesn't mean speed dating isn't worth a try. Science has a few interesting facts to keep in mind if you're looking to take the leap into speed dating:

  1. First impressions really do count, and they happen fast. More than one study has concluded that most people make their choices within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone new.
  2. Deeper issues, like religion, previous marriages, and smoking habits, were found to play a much smaller role than expected.
  3. If you're looking to woo someone quickly, talk about your adventures abroad. Studies have found that dialogue concerning travel results in more matches than dialogue about films.
  4. Don' judge a book by its cover, if you can help it. As is the case with online dating, what people say they want in an ideal mate when asked about it frequently does not match up with their subconscious preferences in practice.
  5. Meeting in person has one serious leg-up on meeting online: your sense of smell. Scientific research has found that olfaction plays a major role in attraction, and that people wearing pheromones receive more matches. Try getting that through a computer screen.
  6. Studies of speed dating events have generally shown more selectivity among women than among men, but more recent studies suggest that selectivity is based on which gender is seated and which is rotating. It may be that whoever is seated is more selective, regardless of sex.

PlentyOfFish Acquires FastLife

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Talk about a power couple. PlentyOfFish, the world's largest online dating site, has acquired FastLife, the world's largest speed dating and singles event company. The combination of POF's massive influence in the online dating sphere with FastLife's global influence (the company currently operates in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK) is a recipe that could have a major impact on the future of the online dating industry.

"The direction of online dating is undeniably headed towards a merging of the online and offline worlds, so this is a major move towards changing the way single people meet and interact," said Markus Frind, founder and CEO of PlentyOfFish. He's right. Match.com hosts Stir events. HowAboutWe is founded on the idea of taking online dating offline. And location-based mobile apps that hook singles up for insta-dates with people nearby are more popular than ever.

"PlentyOfFish has always understood the importance of live events," Frind continued. "Currently our users host over 300 events worldwide each month. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of offering singles innovative, new ways of connecting face to face."

FastLife is the perfect partner for the next evolution of POF. FastLife was created by a husband and wife team, Justin and Annabelle Parfitt, in 2002. The site offers two different dating experiences. Evolved Speed Dating events are designed for everyone. Participants just need to register in order to view and book upcoming events that match their preferences. Prestige Speed Dating events are premium events for high income graduates who want to meet other successful professionals. These events are invitation only, and all participants are screened for ID, age, background, and status.

Current FastLife events cater to a wide range of interests, including Fit & Trim, Food and Wine Lovers, University Educated, Tall Men, and Travel Lovers. FastLife holds more than 2,400 events each year that draw a crowd of more than 60,000 urban professional singles and generate annual revenue of more than $2.5 million. Now, as a united front, PlentyOfFish and FastLife plan to roll out singles events across hundreds of untapped US cities over the course of the next year.

This is the first major acquisition for PlentyOfFish, but Frind swears it's far from the last. "PlentyOfFish will continue to grow our reach within the online dating industry," he said. "We want to invest over $30 million in the next 12 months."

The Origins of Speed Dating

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A recent article in The New York Times interviewed Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, whose name is not well-known in the dating world. But it should be.

Back in 1998, Rabbi Deyo was brainstorming with some friends in his L.A. living room about how he could best serve the local Jewish community. This group included many entertainment industry execs, including game show producers. When the subject of love and how to meet romantic partners came up, the concept for speed dating was born.

A few weeks later, the rabbi was at a local Coffee Bean blowing a whistle as couples table-hopped one to the next, spending ten minutes at a time talking to each person. Little did he know the impact it would have in the dating world.

Soon, speed dating started popping up everywhere. It was no longer just the rabbi's idea - others had taken hold of it and used it in their local towns and communities. Speed dating was even featured in an episode of Sex and the City, where it was exposed to millions of people who were interested in trying it.

Since then, speed dating companies have expanded around the world. While the popularity of speed dating has waned in recent years, it is still a concept that many people find intriguing, if fewer are willing to try.

As a former speed dating host, I saw my fair share of awkward first dates and conversations that were stilted. They informed me of how to be a more engaging date. I was also inspired by the many people who put themselves out there to find love.

Speed dating is an interesting way for single people to meet. Some think it works best to introduce people who come from a similar culture, background, profession, etc., who would find it otherwise hard to meet people of their same faith or occupation but who have something in common. It gets a little more complicated when an event is open to the public. There isn't much filtering that can be done at events, other than by age or location. So, you really don't have much control over the types of people you're meeting.

While this can be frustrating, it can also be liberating. You could meet someone that you'd never choose on an online dating site, but in person you hit it off. Also, it forces you to engage with people who aren't necessarily your type. Speed dating is a great way to get past all those hang-ups we have about who we "should" date. It shows you that there are many kinds of people in the dating world, and some of them may surprise you.