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Part of Match’s strength lies in its paid membership model, which filters for users who are serious about finding companionship, he says.“The point of paying isn’t just the money—it’s the signal of intent,” he says.
“It’s important to me that Match still gets that signal from its user, so that we can provide that high-intent community.”Still, Yagan points out that the service has been updated under his watch, making the jump from desktop to mobile.“When I took over at Match, we didn’t have an i Phone app, and that was in 2012,” he says.
“For the most part, we were heterosexually focused, although we did have men seeking men and women seeking women.”At a time when computer magazines were advertising dial-up singles chat services with names like Sexy Modem and Fantasia Services Unlimited, Match promoted itself as safe, anonymous, and friendly.“has always tried to keep it clean,” says Anne Wayman, who worked for Match as an editor and copywriter.
“[Kremen] understood that—it had to be as clean as you could keep it, given the technology.”Match gave its members anonymous email addresses that forwarded to their real accounts—a big deal before throwaway webmail accounts were widespread—and emphasized that potential matches wouldn’t be alerted when you browsed their profiles.“I had a couple of bad experiences when I went through the personal ads in the newspaper, so for me, that was a real benefit to doing online dating, because I thought it would be safer,” recalls Simone Cox, a Bay Area technical writer who joined the service as a beta tester in its first year.
“In those three days, some of them started getting interested in other people.”The site also began to actively expand abroad, and found that just as The show didn’t mention Match, but Cohen believes it helped pave the way for American-style dating in the countries where it aired, making online coupling services more relatable.
Even in London, where he was based, Cohen said people were initially skeptical of the service when he first started at the company, though its popularity soon grew.“They literally said, that’s like prostitution,” he says.
Twenty years ago, in the San Francisco neighborhood then called Multimedia Gulch, a state-of-the-art server from Sun Microsystems began to run a program that would one day lead to more than a million newborn babies.
Today, Match is the largest operator in what market research firm IBISWorld estimates is a billion dating industry.“Overthrowing is our job,” he told the Harvard student newspaper in 2009, in a story published on Valentine’s Day.In 2011, IAC acquired OKCupid for about million, and in 2012, the company appointed Yagan to head the entire Match division.“You poke fun as competitors, of course, and you get in, and you realize there’s a lot more happening under the surface than you probably realized as an outsider,” Yagan now says of the erstwhile rivalry.The site also rejected a profile question Maier thought few women would want to answer.“I said, ‘No, we’re not going to ask people’s weight, forget it—we’re trying to attract women, that’s such a turnoff,’” she recalls.Instead, “we’re going to have body type.”From the site’s early days, Maier—who now advises and mentors women new in business and technology—also appeared frequently in the media discussing Match’s safety features and decrying the harassment women faced elsewhere online.“I think that changed the discourse about online dating to something positive, and that sort of scary belief that you were going to meet a creepy stalker-type person started to dissolve when you saw that the Meg Ryans of the world might be the people you’d be meeting,” she says.