Match.com to Begin Hosting Offline Events for Online Daters
May 20, 2012 - Match.com recently announced a new service called "The Stir" in which they will host offline events that bring together members who are likely to be compatible with each other.
Over the next year, Match.com plans to host up to 3000 events in 40 different countries - an ambitious goal to say the least. According to Match.com President Mandy Ginsberg, the company expects to have a half million singles attend its events this year alone. "I think we’ll be the biggest global events company in the world, with the exception of maybe the Olympics," Ginsburg recently stated in an interview with Mashable.
The new service will work through invitations, which are only sent to a group of singles who are deemed to be compatible with each other according to a matching algorithm. We are curious to see exactly how strict the matching algorithm will be. If it is too selective, the events will not have enough participants. On the other hand, a liberal algorithm may lead to larger events, but will defeat the purpose of bringing together only those people who are likely to click with each other.
For the time being, planned events include drinking get-togethers as well as more specific activities like bowling or cooking classes.
The concept is definitely interesting, and we think it's in part a response to newer dating sites like HowAboutWe that center around proposed offline activities. Match.com definitely has a leg up in the sense that it already has one of the largest community of singles online. If the events hosted by Match.com prove successful, don't be surprised if other online dating giants like eHarmony or even Ashley Madison jump on the bandwagon.
We believe part of whether or not the events will be successful will depend on how much they cost to attend. For now, drinking events will be free, while other activities will cost some money. On the other hand, attending an event with a group of people is definitely less awkward than going on a single date with someone you met online, so participation may turn out to be quite robust.
We'll see if Match.com reaches its goal of 3000 events and 500,000 participants this year. Even if they fall short, we have a feeling "The Stir" will have a relatively high degree of success and may ironically start a trend in online dating where there is greater emphasis on not being online. Stay tuned.