The U.S. Match.com home page
Type of site
|Online dating service|
|462 (April 2014[update])|
Match.com is an online dating service with web sites serving 25 countries in more than eight languages. Its headquarters are in Dallas, Texas. The company has offices in Dallas, West Hollywood, San Francisco, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Beijing. Match.com is owned by IAC.
Match.com was founded by Gary Kremen and Peng T. Ong in 1993. It was started as a proof-of-concept for Electric Classifieds which aimed to provide classified advertising systems for newspapers. Early on, Kremen was assisted by Peng T. Ong, who helped in the design of the initial system, and Simon Glinsky, who helped in the development of one of the first Internet business plans for Match.com and also provided management and marketing expertise. The initial business scope developed by this team included a subscription model, now common among personals services, and inclusion of diverse communities with high first trial and market leaders status, including women, technology professionals and the Gay and Lesbian community. Fran Maier joined in late 1994 to lead the Match.com business unit where she significantly bolstered the strategy to make Match.com friendly and accessible to women (the men would then follow).
The initial users of the service were given free lifetime charter memberships for signing up in an effort to build up the initial database of users for other paying customers to be able to match with.
David Landis, president of the San Francisco, California public relations firm, Landis Communications, Inc., helped promote the launch of Match.com during its early stages. Landis and Match.com's PR team retitled the service’s in-house director of communications, “Vice President of Romance,” which enabled him to secure bookings on the Today Show, Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, and 60 Minutes, and coverage in People magazine, the New York Times, and USA Today. Landis later observed that the strategy “opened the floodgates to media interest” and helped “grow the business from a $5 million valuation to a $55 million business.”
In 1998, Match.com was purchased by Cendant. A year later Match.com was purchased by IAC (then still operating under the name TicketMaster). In late 1999, Match.com was moved to Dallas, Texas, to merge with another matching site, One & Only networks, that IAC had purchased the same year.
In September 2001, Match.com merged with Love@AOL, partnering with AOL and MSN to bring online dating to the general public. Love@AOL was no longer free, after it became Match.com, but all the names were transferred, allowed a more diverse audience to gain access to Match.com. Cost of membership for one month was $24.95.
Between September 9, 2004, and April 24, 2007, Jim Safka was the Chief Executive Officer of Match.com. Thomas Enraght-Moony was the CEO from April, 2007 to February 19, 2009. Gregory R. Blatt served as the CEO of Match.com from February 2009 - December 2010.
In November 2004, Guinness World Records recognized Match.com as the largest online dating site in the world. At the time, more than 42 million singles globally had registered with Match.com since its launch in 1995, and worldwide there were over 15 million members using the service.
In late 2005, Match.com in the United States entered into a strategic partnership with Dr. Phil on a new US marketing campaign called "MindFindBind", a monthly subscription program that Match.com members can pay an extra fee to access.
In December 2006, the layout of the United States Match.com site was redesigned, to go in line with the newly launched series of black and white TV advertisements in the US featuring Match.com members.
It was announced in February 2009 that Match.com's European operations was sold to Meetic for 5 million Euros and a reported twenty-seven percent interest in the company. At the same time that this sale was announced, the current CEO Thomas Enraght-Mooney stepped down, while IAC's (Match.com's parent company) Executive VP and General Counsel, Greg Blatt, took his place.
On February 4, 2010, Match.com and Meetic announced a joint venture in the Latin American dating market. The two companies formed a partnership to combine ParPerfieto in Brazil with extended Match.com presence in Latin America.
SinglesNet was also acquired by Match.com in February 2010, adding to Match.com's collective portfolio of domestic and international online dating brands.
Match.com announced its mobile application for Android in March 2010, making Match.com apps available on all major smartphone platforms.
On May 24, 2010, Match.com became the exclusive provider of online dating service for Yahoo! via the formation of a co-branded site, "Match.com on Yahoo!".
In December 2010, Match.com’s CEO Greg Blatt was made CEO of parent company IAC.
It was announced in February 2011 that Match.com would acquire dating site OkCupid, diversifying its portfolio of dating sites with a non-subscription based site. OkCupid’s co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan remains CEO of the site.
In May 2011, Match.com announced a planned public tender offer for all outstanding shares of Meetic S.A.
In September 2011, Match.com invested a 20% interest in Zhenai Inc., a leading Chinese dating site.
In 2012, Match.com announced Stir, a service that brings Match.com members together in thousands of events across the country. Stir consists of hundreds of local events each month, ranging from large-scale happy hours to smaller, more intimate events such as cooking classes, wine and tequila tastings, bowling nights, rock climbing, and more. Match.com also introduced a proprietary collection of on-site, dual-player games designed to allow people to get to know each other online in a natural way.
In October 2012, Sam Yagan was named CEO of Match.
In November 2015, the UK site was awarded Best Marketing Campaign at the UK Dating Awards. The award was decided by public vote.
MatchLive, MatchTravel and Stir
In 2002 and early 2003, Match.com's then CEO, Tim Sullivan, tried to expand Match.com reach by expanding into the local dating scene with a service called MatchLive. Daters would meet in a public location sponsored by Match.com. People would be involved in social activities and a form of speed dating together. The idea was scrapped by the parent company. Shortly afterwards, IAC fired Tim Sullivan as acting CEO, and laid off 30 people in the Dallas office involved with the MatchLive brand. The company stated that it planned to refocus its operation moving forward on on-line dating instead of hosting singles and speed-dating events.
In May 2012, Match.com announced Stir, events by Match.com. The new service offers hundreds of local events each month for Match.com members to attend.
MatchTravel was an attempt about the same time as the MatchLive brand to offer discounts via the then sister company Expedia, Inc. to daters meeting on Match.com. The service was rescinded shortly afterward.
In April 2014, Match.com launched an updated mobile app called "Stream" which uses location to match people based upon photographs, using similar algorithms as the mobile dating app Tinder.
On November 10, 2005, a class action was filed by Matthew Evans against Match.com in federal court in Los Angeles alleging that Match.com "secretly employs people as 'date bait' to send bogus enticing E-mails and to go on as many as 100 dates a month - or three a day - to keep customers ponying up." The suit has been repudiated by IAC as baseless. The suit was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Central District of California on April 25, 2007.
A class action filed in June 2009 accuses Match.com of matching customers with people who are non-paying customers or who are not customers at all. Match.com has said that the suit is without merit. According to the complaint, filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, represented by attorney Norah Hart, "Match misleads paying subscribers by charging them for the ability to write e-mails to members who can't reply to their e-mails or even read them."
Another class-action lawsuit was filed in December 2010, alleging that the site maintains thousands of inactive, fake and fraudulent profiles on its dating site to mislead and lure consumers into subscribing. The judge in the case ruled on August 10, 2012 that Match.com did not breach its user agreements with consumers because the agreements "in no way requires Match.com to police, vet, update the website content" or guarantee the accuracy of profiles on the site.
A woman claiming she was raped by another person she met on Match.com sued the site in 2011. The woman and her lawyer wanted Match.com to start doing background checks on their users in order to prevent registered sex offenders from using the site. Match.com has responded that it would create many problems trying to get background information from all their users. Days after the lawsuit was filed, Match.com announced that the site would begin screening new members.
Match.com uses automatic subscription renewal. On Match.com UK, the British version of the site, a subscription cannot be cancelled online, it can only be cancelled by phoning a call centre. To cancel Match.com in the U.S., one must go to a page on the site that contains the information on how to do it.
Use by sexual predators
From 2011 to 2014 a man described by British police as a “sexual predator”, contacted thousands of women through the website. He raped five of them. In March 2016 Derby Crown Court heard that four of the victims complained about the man to Match.com; one of the women was told that administrators could not do anything because he had not sent abusive messages through the site.
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Match.com is the leading brand in the division of the IAC/Interactive Corp known as IAC Personals. Other brands in the IAC Personals sphere include:
- OkCupid.com - Acquired February 2011
- People Media, which includes sites BlackPeopleMeet.com, LoveandSeek.com, and OurTime.com (formerly SeniorPeopleMeet.com)
- Twoo - Acquired by Meetic in 2013
Brands retired by IAC Personals include:
- Stir.com & Downtoearth.com - Free Dating Experiments (Retired May 2010)
- One and Only (brand retired in Dec. 2005)
- AltMatch (brand retired in Dec. 2005)
- MatchLive - localized singles meeting event coordination division of Match.com (brand retired in May 2003)
- MatchTravel - a collaboration between then IAC sister company, Expedia (brand retired May 2003)
- Comparison of online dating websites
- Adult FriendFinder
- Ashley Madison
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