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Interview: Match.com

It’s difficult to think about online dating without mentioning the name Match.com. As one of the first – and now one of the largest and most heralded – dating platforms in the market, Match has been able to cast itself into a league of its own by managing to do something many traditional brands cannot: keep pace with changing technologies while not neglecting its identity. Consumer-Rankings recently had a chance to chat with a Match representative to discuss the illustrious path of the company – past, present, and future.

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Thank you so much for taking out the time to answer a few questions with us. To start, why don’t you give us some basic company info? How long has your site been operating? What services do you offer? And what makes the experience of online dating with Match.com so unique?

Match started about 20 years ago in 1995. Our platform is the go-to option for singles because we dominate three key areas: scale, innovation/product, and success. Match is the world’s largest dating property, responsible for bringing people together in a way that truly affects their lives. No other company has facilitated more dates, more relationships and more marriages than Match.

With Match being one of the first online dating sites to hit mainstream, how do you guys manage to maintain that classic, dependable feel while also making sure you stay ahead of the curve with the latest online dating technologies?

New entrants come into the market frequently, but with our 20-year history, Match leans both on our depth and experience, while bringing innovation to our products consistently. We do not rest on tenure alone.

Mobile is key to the future of Match. Match was the first to introduce mobile offerings back in 2003; we launched a mobile application in 2007 and the iPhone app in 2009, well before our competitors. We’ve continued to iterate on our iPhone and Android apps, optimizing user-experience and functionality.

Mobile, mobile, mobile! As reported in IAC’s Q4 earnings report, Match’s mobile registrations are up over 100% year over year. Looking towards the future, we’ll continue to evolve the user experience on mobile while pursuing continued user growth and the ability to deliver more personalization on mobile.

Let’s talk a bit more about technology. Take us through how your search algorithm works and how it’s believed to best benefit your users.

1. We know what ‘rules’ (stated criteria on the profile of the member) are being broken as a community – what works, what hasn’t worked based on our years of experience. We look at about 1,500 parameters that go into the “love equation.” With things changing so frequently, it’s a constantly evolving equation.

2. We watch and see what rules individuals are breaking to customize for each person. There are subtle qualities about people that you can’t always catch in a questionnaire (sarcastic, humorous, etc.), and our algorithm can predict those sort of things.  It picks up on patterns, and therefore can find other similar people.

3. Triangulation – this is our secret sauce. We can quickly, mathematically deduce who you are similar to and who you might be interested in. This algorithm has a constant feedback mechanism – so we learn from your feedback so we can quickly learn and self-correct based on your feedback.  So the more you use the site, the better your results will get. The more you rate, the better you date.

What about the Match.com interface? What are some of the coolest features it presents that make online dating more of a fun, social experience?

In 2014, we launched our newest iOS app. In particular 2 features, Stream and Mixer, combine the richness of the Match members with the simplicity of new technologies.

“Stream” shows a series of photos using a custom algorithm to present other singles located nearby.  This feature pulls in photos that aren’t your primary photo to better show off more sides of your personality. “Mixer” is based off of a totally different algorithm showing people near them utilizing the simplicity of the swiping technologies to show interest

We also have launched several meaningful community badges that members of Match can select on their profile to show some things that they like; for example, their favorite Major League Baseball team, the American Heart Association, Mensa and Starbucks!

Additionally, we have some tools on the profile that identify if members have verified their social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to further promote social verification within the community.

Match.com seems like a very diverse matchmaking platform. Talk about some of the demographics it serves. Is it ideal for both young and older singles? What about gay and lesbian singles?

Match Members (U.S. data only – based on member profiles)

  • 20% are 30 and under; 49% are ages 30-49; 31% are age 50+ — our fastest growing demographic
  • 84% have some college or college degree
  • 44% of members are single parents
  • Match has always embraced singles regardless of their sexual orientation or preference to join and find the meaningful relationship they are looking for in our community.

Overall, whatever you are looking for, you can find it at Match. We have the largest and most vibrant community of singles than any other U.S. property.

Many singles have very specific interests, which may cause them to side with a more niche dating site. What would you say to someone like this to convince them that Match.com has what they’re looking for?

Match has 2.38M subscribers in North America and has sites/apps in 25 different countries, in eight different languages, and spanning five continents. Match is a technology company centered around creating the best user experience both online and on the go. People who join Match are three times more likely to find a relationship than people who don’t. Match Group also owns a variety of other properties, including Tinder, OkCupid, Match, Chemistry, etc.

Let’s talk a bit about pricing for a moment. Discuss some of the highlights in each of your package offerings, and talk about how Match balances a polished service with what seems to be pretty fair prices.

Match offers 1, 3, and 6 month subscriptions. The average cost is roughly $20/month – less than a coffee a week!

With mobile dating being such a pivotal offering these days, especially as people become busier and busier, walk us through your mobile app and some of its best capabilities.

Our iPhone app was last updated on 1/6/2015 and includes: new push notifications, functionality testing (Stream, Profile) and a few other bug fixes. Match was the first dating site in history to be nominated for and won the coveted Webby Award (we are nominated again this year for our iPad app.)

Our app for iPhone and Android apps are ranked higher than the 5 most popular dating sites. It combines the richness of Match with the ease-of-use that the swiping feature allows.  But the Mixer feature does combine swiping and location; so yes, there are elements of Tinder’s functionality that we have incorporated.

Safety is obviously something that’s important when searching for an online dating site to use. What type of security infrastructure does Match have in place to help ensure a safe experience for its users?

We take safety and fraud very seriously, and we diligently address it on the site – tracking, monitoring and preventing fraud at every step of the way. We have a comprehensive fraud team, and every day we block suspected scammers at every point in the process.

To wrap things up, what can new and existing Match users expect moving forward? Are there any new technologies and/or services in the works?

Mobile is key to the future of Match. With double digit growth in mobile and triple-digit growth in apps continuing as more members access Match through a mobile platform, it’s key to our future and growth.

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