SAN FRANCISCO, September 6, 2012 — Dating is hard. That’s why I write a business column. Sure, eHarmony has 29 dimensions of compatibility but I’m more likely to be compatible with most, if not all, 31 flavors. I can’t tell Baskin Robbins “I love you” without it getting weird.
Zoosk, from the beginning, has found a way to make online dating easier. It taps into social networking, our most natural form of online interaction and allows people to communicate when and how they would like. Convenience and simplicity are key to technology and Zoosk is well positioned. Especially since they are ahead of the mobile curve.
Shayan Zadeh, co-founder and co-CEO of Zoosk, talks below about the future of online dating, how they are engaging with couples and whether or not darts is a real sport.
1. How do you stay competitive in an industry, online dating, with a multitude of competitors?
We initially launched Zoosk on the Facebook platform in 2007. In doing so, we created a truly “social” online dating service. As we’ve expanded to other channels (e.g., website, mobile), we’ve focused on bringing together the best aspects of social networking (like news feed, live chat and video conversations) to the world of online romance – a core differentiator for Zoosk.
As our Personal’s application continued to grow, we began to see a big hole in the online romance market. Every time an online dating service is successful, the company would lose two customers. This idea begged the question – how could we keep Zoosk members engaged with the site, even after they found love?
In April, we launched Couple Profiles, the first joint profile, which gives couples a dedicated place to celebrate their relationship online. Our Couple Profiles offering allows couples to share photos and relationship milestones, like anniversaries, vacations and special events, with family and friends. This feature is not limited to couples that meet on Zoosk, but is open to everyone.
2. What is the future of online dating? What are customers looking for?
For Zoosk, online dating is just one piece of the puzzle. Not surprisingly, the industry is becoming increasingly more social. To take online romance a step further, Zoosk has expanded its services to become a romantic social network – offering services beyond dating and that cater to couples in a relationship in order to keep users engaged at every stage of their romantic journey. We had noticed that couples lacked the space to exclusively document their relationship and when I asked around, it turned out to be a common problem.
We recently conducted a survey of our users and found that 77 percent of couples use technology to interact throughout the day, with a majority connecting three times or more per day.
That said, we really see social networking for couples as being the next evolution of modern romance.
3. How do you see this translating to mobile?
Mobile is an important feature for any social networking site and we see over half our traffic using the mobile web. Today, you need to offer products and services that accommodate all phone/service providers to ensure that you are not left out. Zoosk offers mobile services for our Personal’s application, as well as Couple Profiles. It is important for today’s consumer to feel connected and to always have access on-the-go.
4. What’s next for Zoosk?
Moving forward, we will continue to expand our services as a romantic social network. We are in the process of developing new features to enrich our Couple Profiles offering, which we will announce over the course of the next year.
5. Is darts a real sport?
I don’t know! Is that a real sponsor!
Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. Co-Founder of Status Creative, 2011 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and record holder for Most Strikeouts in Tee-Ball.
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