Can Online Lovebirds Swipe Out of the Digital Nest with Facebook Dating?

Can online lovebirds swipe out of the digital nest with Facebook Dating? Match-making is a big business—and Facebook Dating‘s incremental rollout presents a threat to other sites seeking to make money by putting lovebirds together online.

In electronic love and dating, all are equal – or is it?  The battle for the hearts and minds of couples seeking their perfect match online has taken a new turn.

If you’re a flirty smartphone warrior from one tap to the next, Tindering on the verge of Bumbling, be mindful that there’s another game in town as Facebook muscles position their tanks on the lawn.

As online dating becomes the virtual norm — some experts suggest half of the British couples will meet that way until the end of the decade. Facebook‘s incremental presence on the dating scene, introduced gradually in the Americas and Southeast Asia — looks set to shake up the market.

Last month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he saw the company heading to the forefront of online dating, promising a service “for building real long-term relationships, not just hook-ups,” at the beginning.

Yet competitors are still not quaking in their boots, considering the scale of the global footprint of the social media giant of more than two billion active monthly users, some of whose data it might now use for romantic purposes.

Didier Rappaport, founder and managing director of the popular French dating app Happn, said: “Facebook (Dating) has been going on in certain countries for more than a year now, and at the moment we have seen nothing change in terms of market share.”

Contacted by AFP, Facebook was unable to say exactly when its dating variant would be introduced in Europe. The mooted target was early 2020, but this Friday, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, its rivals were still waiting with bated breath to see what impact a storied and free competitor could have.

“Julien Pillot, a researcher and lecturer at Inspec, the leading French business school, said: “From social networks to dating sites is just a move that does not require enormous technical investment.

Pillot said that Facebook “copied everything that worked on other apps well and added two or three features.” In the sharing of private information, what concerns them is getting users to connect.

Rappaport said whether social networks are a good match for dating is a fundamental question.

Are there social networks and matchmaking? No, in my opinion, because the exchange of information is what marks a social network, while dating moves into the intimate realm, he said.

Piplsay’s December opinion poll of 21,000 Americans found that only 23% of respondents would be willing to allow Facebook to safely store their data on its dating platform.

The co-founder of the French dating app Once, Clementine Lalande, who only allows a user to pick one profile a day, states that “the big problem with generalist apps is that you end up with a mass of users who do not share the same interest groups.”

Sure of its charms, Tinder

Suppose the Facebook challengers are still not professing too much anxiety about the arrival of the Californian colossus. In that case, the US internet firm has broken off from parent and controlling shareholder IAC and owns dating brands such as Hinge, OkCupid, Match.com, Meetic, and, not least, Tinder because they are too busy being wary of Match Party.

In a survey of a variety of non-game applications last year by specialist data provider AppAnnie, Tinder ranked top for consumer monetization, raking in $1.2 billion during the year in a global market estimated at some $2.2 billion.

“Tinder has redefined the entire user dating path,” Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois and Kevin Pasquier, strategic planners with We Are Social, a digital agency, told AFP.

In its fundamental nature, “it is a fairly cunning mechanism that limits the user after several swipes, frustrates him and generates fear of missing a rare pearl” that might be out there.

A way to grab the pearl or reduce one’s chances of losing out is to take out a subscription that provides wider features.

As they strive to portray themselves as being above the superficiality of merely chasing a picture, the model has found favor with most rivals.

Amanda W. Ginsberg, head of the Match Company, says her firm “will not underestimate” the ability of Facebook to corner the market, not least considering the numbers already on its platform and ease of access.

“We don’t see any consequences for any of our brands for now, though.”

A Tinder spokesperson, meanwhile, told AFP that it sees its competitors rather than dedicated dating apps as general apps popular with young web surfers such as Tik Tok, Snapchat, Netflix, and YouTube.

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