"Online dating gives people a huge variety of options. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people coast from one relationship to another quicker than they did before online dating existed. If an online dating service truly does work, it will provide better matches for people, giving them a better shot at having a longer term relationship."
CEO Shayan Zadeh talks to Dating Experts about Zoosk, Wearables and the future of his industry.
Dating Experts: Which feature(s) make your product an outstanding dating experience and how do you drive growth in this competitive market place (e.g. new marketing channels)?
Shayan Zadeh: Zoosk learns as you click in order to pair you with singles with whom you’re likely to discover mutual attraction. Zoosk’s unique Behavioral Matchmaking technology is constantly learning from the actions of over 27 million visible members worldwide in order to deliver better matches in real time. Member clicks, including messages sent and responded to, determine which profiles Zoosk shows first, to pair singles with members with whom they are likely to discover mutual attraction. Rather than a one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter approach to dating, like filling out a lengthy questionnaire, Zoosk personalizes the experience of dating based on your actions. You won’t have to go through hundreds of profiles to find a connection because Zoosk is constantly updating matches to fit your romantic preferences.
Dating Experts: The Online Dating industry provides people with plenty of options. Do you think your industry changed how people think about relationships over the course of the last 10-15 years? Do you think people tend to move from one relationship to the next faster than they used to before online dating existed? Is this a good thing?
Shayan Zadeh: The Online Dating industry absolutely changed how people think about relationships. The only option before online dating was to meet someone in person, which is a difficult game to play, especially when you know nothing about that person before interacting with them. Zoosk’s technology works like Amazon or Netflix – the more you interact with the site and its features, the more it understands your preferences. Zoosk will only match you with people the algorithm determines are a good match for you, thus completely eliminating the frustrating experience of making the effort to meet people in real life before you know if you have anything in common with them. Online dating gives people a huge variety of options. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people coast from one relationship to another quicker than they did before online dating existed. If an online dating service truly does work, it will provide better matches for people, giving them a better shot at having a longer term relationship.
Dating Experts: Do you think that online dating has become more sexualized in recent years as it has increasingly switched to mobile? Have apps like Tinder made casual dating mainstream – even for women? And if so, do you think that this trend is likely to continue or will serious matchmaking stage a come-back?
Shayan Zadeh: Hookup sites and apps are part of the dating landscape now. Zoosk is purely relationship focused, and our Behavioral Matchmaking algorithm connects people in a way that no other site is doing currently. We read stories every day from members who our technology has successfully matched up. Casual dating apps have limited use, as most people are looking for a serious relationship. We don’t think serious matchmaking needs a “come-back”, as the main matchmaking dating sites (Match, eHarmony, Zoosk, etc.) are all relationship-focused.
Dating Experts: What do you think is the next big thing in data use for matchmaking? What will dating firms be able to do in 3-5 years from now that they don’t do today?
Shayan Zadeh: I can see dating apps being used in wearable technology in 3-5 years from now.
Dating Experts: In the last two years we have seen a rise of free dating apps, especially Tinder. Are you concerned that these free apps destroy value in the marketplace and re-define usual market prices?
Shayan Zadeh: Free dating apps pop up on a regular basis and don’t have much of an effect on our business. We give our paying members an experience you can not get on a free dating site, allowing them a better shot at getting matched with the right person.
Dating Experts: Do you envisage wearables changing the way people use online dating, the way smartphones did?
Shayan Zadeh: Absolutely.
Dating Experts: What do you feel are the most important success factors to ensure your dating service will still be a big player over the next 10 years?
Shayan Zadeh: We continue to refine our algorithm on a daily basis so we can give our members the best experience possible on our site. The better and smarter our technology is, the more successful we will be in matching up the right members.