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Starting a dating website - Geronimo - 09-16-2011 10:16 AM

I have a unique idea about making a dating website. Have any of you started something similar? What about the laws? Is it legal to start something like this?


RE: Starting a dating website - PDX - 09-16-2011 10:33 AM

Have you looked at existing sites' disclaimers and user agreements? Probably a good place to start.


RE: Starting a dating website - Gmac - 09-16-2011 10:34 AM

You're asking questions that are far more complicated than any single sentence (or paragraphs) could answer.

It depends on where you live and what exactly you have in mind. My advice is to do quite a bit of research to make sure no one is out there already doing it. Find out who your potential competition is and make sure it's not a waste of your time. You would be essentially creating a complex online community, which in itself is extremely complicated in ways that I can't even begin to write about here.

Here are some resources you might look at regarding building a community:

http://mashable.com/2011/01/12/online-community-business/

This article gives a lot of good information and insight from the perspective of a guy who built his own dating site:

http://bakery.cakephp.org/articles/Mingle2/2007/04/01/how-i-built-a-web-2-0-dating-site-in-66-5-hours

As you can see, Mingle2 is still alive (though barely kicking) and he created it in 2007. I'll admit I've tried it in the past, not really my bag.

Quote: The Idea - Cooking up a brand with a name, identity, and purpose

Planning - Creating functional specifications, visual wireframes, and information architecture

Design - Creating mock-ups and defining aesthetics, typography, positioning, and color

Development - Writing the actual code

Testing - Ironing out the kinks

Launch - Going live



RE: Starting a dating website - Caligula - 09-16-2011 03:08 PM

There are all sorts of issues. The legal issues will be the least of your worries if you get a good lawyer to help you draft the Terms and Conditions, etc.

Some things to consider:

1. How will you gain traffic / get noticed?
2. How much will it cost you to acquire users? (this is usually expensive, my impression is that most dating sites have low margins due to the cost of acquiring traffic)
3. How will you make that money back? What is your customer's lifetime value likely to be?
4. How will you deal with churn? Good dating sites can become victims of their own success in that people get matched up and then stop being customers. This is why customer acquisition costs are such a big expenditure.
5. How unique is your angle in reality? Does it address any of these issues? Eg. OKCupid is successful because it's free (less churn, users keep their profiles even when they're not actively looking), it has spread via word of mouth because it's a well designed, easy to use and free site. They have focused on building community and engagement around relevant content and insights. There's also strong lock-in in that people have taken a lot of time to answer the questions and quizzes on there, so they may be reluctant to throw away all that 'work'.


RE: Starting a dating website - Dash Global - 09-16-2011 08:09 PM

to late in the game brutha.

there already got established pay sites and free sites.


RE: Starting a dating website - Geronimo - 09-17-2011 02:12 AM

But Im talking about a dating site in another language here. I'll look into the links u gave me, thx.


RE: Starting a dating website - babelfish669 - 09-17-2011 10:01 AM

I started a free dating site about 5 years ago. It didn't exactly fail, we got a few thousand members, but the project wasn't profitable so I moved on to better stuff.

You can make a dating site but it absolutely has to be niche. One interesting thing I've noticed is that every couple of years a new website for girls to meet rich guys seems to pop up and get all of the press. Years back it was wealthymen.com, now that seeking arrangement p4p site seems to be getting lots of news articles. You also have to design the initial ad campaigns around attracting female members rather than guys. Some dating site owners have chosen to start with fake profiles but I do not believe that is necessary (also not exactly legal.)

If you can't program, have little to no experience with online advertising or email, I would guess you need about $20,000-$40,000 and 12 to 24 months to get to the break even point. If you can do both well you should be able to get a free niche site growing at break even and make it profitable within 6 or 9 months. I had my system custom built by my inhouse developer. The out of the box systems I've seen in the past are pretty flawed but that may not be the case anymore.


RE: Starting a dating website - el mechanico - 09-17-2011 10:56 AM

(09-16-2011 08:09 PM)Dash Global Wrote:  to late in the game brutha.

there already got established pay sites and free sites.
This market has just begun. The sky is the limit. I remember when windows 95 came out and I had the idea of gathering up domains. I sat and thought of some names and decided I was too late.That was one of the stupidest decisions I have ever made.


RE: Starting a dating website - Caligula - 09-17-2011 01:30 PM

(09-16-2011 08:09 PM)Dash Global Wrote:  to late in the game brutha.

there already got established pay sites and free sites.

This is absolutely not the case. Sure there's been some consolidation in the market, but it's still growing and there's always space for new entrants who play their cards right.


RE: Starting a dating website - Smitty - 09-18-2011 09:15 PM

(09-16-2011 08:09 PM)Dash Global Wrote:  to late in the game brutha.

there already got established pay sites and free sites.


People are still getting used to the idea of online dating. I think there is plenty of room for growth in the market. It fits perfect into the American lifestyle - sit on your fat ass and post pictures that make you look better than you are from the comfort of your home. Plenty of room for growth.


RE: Starting a dating website - jcrew247 - 10-01-2019 07:45 PM

Does anyone think there should be dating sites
that encourage marriage instead of hookups?
It seems that the only site that specifically says it
is for marriage is Eharmony.
Then, there are the international marriage sites for
foreign brides.
I've been thinking it might be a good idea for a dating
app specifically for marriage. But at the same
time it might scare off women because then they would
feel too much pressure to get married, even though they
claim that they are looking for marriage. It
seems like women just want to marry the alpha-players
who cheat on them, but never want to marry the average-looking
men or they will wait to marry the beta-bux.
What other sites are good for marriage minded singles?


RE: Starting a dating website - joseph15 - 10-01-2019 10:53 PM

(10-01-2019 07:45 PM)jcrew247 Wrote:  Does anyone think there should be dating sites
that encourage marriage instead of hookups?
It seems that the only site that specifically says it
is for marriage is Eharmony.
Then, there are the international marriage sites for
foreign brides.
I've been thinking it might be a good idea for a dating
app specifically for marriage. But at the same
time it might scare off women because then they would
feel too much pressure to get married, even though they
claim that they are looking for marriage. It
seems like women just want to marry the alpha-players
who cheat on them, but never want to marry the average-looking
men or they will wait to marry the beta-bux.
What other sites are good for marriage minded singles?

It would probably never work as it would immediately be filled up with thirsty guys who are there for the hookups but pose as marriage material.

And like you said, eHarmony is the biggest player in the game and they're already doing the "marriage angle".

Then you have other sites like these guys - https://marriagemindedonly.com/ who are explicitly advertising themselves as a marriage dating site. There's a dating site out there for pretty much every niche out there; the idea doesn't matter. The execution is what matters.


RE: Starting a dating website - joost - 10-01-2019 11:27 PM

Just do like Ashley Madison (and practically all dating websites). Hire a bunch of Indians to create a bunch of fake profiles (women profiles of course). Then you need to program automated messages for every dude that enters.

Just register in any website and put a picture of a cartoon (or some very ugly bloke). You'll see how some pretty ladies send you messages but *wait for it*... you have to pay to read them! Then you keep your automated conversations.


RE: Starting a dating website - Mister Happy - 10-02-2019 12:01 AM

(09-16-2011 10:16 AM)Geronimo Wrote:  I have a unique idea about making a dating website. Have any of you started something similar? What about the laws? Is it legal to start something like this?
Just figure out how to get the cash from the members bro. As long as there is no involvement of people who have not reached legal age and no pay for play, there are no criminal legal worries. Once you make a fair amount of money, hire a lawyer to protect your money from civil suits. If there is no money, there is no risk from civil suits.


RE: Starting a dating website - 66Scorpio - 10-02-2019 09:33 AM

You generally need:

1) An established user base
2) A hook
3) Time

Pick two.

OKC had their Q&A matching system as a hook (apparently a bunch of math majors), launched it as a free site and then it took off over time.

Lavalife started as Telepersonals before re-branding and going online. They had an established user base around Toronto and a few other cities then expanded and people largely switched to online.

POF is sort of an exception in that it was early in and took lots of time. However, it has no hook and is dying because of executive meddling, a poor front end, and a not particularly attractive user base these days from what I have heard and seen.

I had a friend who was looking at launching a dating web site. She was already running a foodie blog and was working on a way to rope her fan base into online dating. Not sure how it worked out but that functions both as a hook and an established user base. The foodie angle is sort of related to dating when you think of restaurant reviews or home cooking options.

A non-English language site might work, but you have to look at the demographics. A Chinese site might work in Vancouver or Toronto, a Greek site might work in Melbourne, a Tagalog site might work in Guangzhou.

A site for marriage minded would need a lot of value added in the form of vetting and matching. Dating intentions online run fast and loose with the truth with both sexes avoiding saying that they want ONS/FBs etc for the opposite reasons and guys saying they want something serious when they obviously don't.

Any vetting exposes you to legal liability so to do that you need some sort of insurance and a good lawyer to develop the process. It also dictates what clientele you are targeting and the sort of fees - upfront and follow on - that you are charging. Career women are willing to put up money but they will be looking for a guy who earns even more than they do.

You can use a shotgun approach to matching because there are so many ways that it can be done: psychometrics, self-reporting, astrology, socio-economic research, or hand curation (the most time consuming, and therefore the most expensive either for you if you only get paid for results, or for the client if you don't have a stellar matching history but somehow get paid upfront).

The real challenge is to get paid in line with the effort you are putting in and the value actually conveyed to clients. Pricing and payment strategies are a lot simpler for generic meeting/dating sites.


RE: Starting a dating website - wwtl - 10-02-2019 10:56 AM

(10-02-2019 09:33 AM)66Scorpio Wrote:  The real challenge is to get paid in line with the effort you are putting in and the value actually conveyed to clients. Pricing and payment strategies are a lot simpler for generic meeting/dating sites.

My country has a law from the 19th century that says charges collected for "dating" are not enforceable, because back in saner times it was considered too close to prostitution morally. Essentially: Once you know/met the person, who don't have to pay anyone for it, even if they put in effort.

There were even a few court cases about this because the outdated law text only talks about hooking up people for marriage, so agents argued hooking them up for sex isn't meant by it. The fornication brokers lost all of them obviously.