Online Dating Platform Takes Dating World by Storm

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With close to 40 million users and with 40,000 new profiles created every single day, SNAP Interactive, the creators of the AreYouInterested.com brand, an online dating platform, certainly has a lot to look forward to in 2011.

AreYouInterested.com, designed to help single men and women connect and form lasting relationships, has expanded exponentially since its inception in 2007 and now boasts an iPhone and Facebook application and website, making it the premier destination for singles on social networks, according to company officials.

The platform is built on top of Facebook and allows users to transfer information from their Facebook profiles onto their AreYouInterested.com account seamlessly and quickly.

“It’s built on top of Facebook and that gives us several different advantages from a business perspective and several key elements for the users,” Cliff Lerner, co-founder and CEO of the platform, told TechZone360 in a recent interview. “On the business side, it’s been very cheap and easy for us to acquire users. Our first 20 million users were through viral growth which is pretty extraordinary for a dating site.”

“From a user perspective, the account creation process is a lot more fun, a lot simpler and a lot easier,” he added. “When you think of destination sites like eHarmony or Match.com, first they ask you for your e-mail, then you have to confirm that it’s a real e-mail, then you have to upload photos, then they ask you for information, then some more photos, then some more information, and this process is very tedious. For us, because we are built on Facebook, the entire account creation process takes a few seconds.”

Instead of uploading pictures and filling out your interests, location and religion on a site like eHarmony or Match.com, the AreYouInterested.com brand allows users to pick the parts of their Facebook profile that they want to share on their new dating account.

Accordingly, the profile that is created is much more comprehensive and real as it pulls directly from Facebook.

“When you look at someone’s Facebook – and their pictures and their profile – it paints a clear picture of who they are,” Lerner said. “Anybody who uses these destination dating sites, before they go out with someone the first thing that they do is they look up that person’s Facebook. You are going to see who their friends are, you are going to see a real picture of them and you are going to find out much more interesting stuff about them. We can skip that whole step because it is their Facebook identity on our product.”

Since AreYouInterested.com pulls from Facebook profiles, it facilitates the notion of having an advanced search feature in which users can search for someone based on their age, interests, geographic location, favorite movie or religion, among other things.

According to Lerner, very few dating sites are able to successfully get their users to fill in this advanced information so an advanced search tool often doesn’t produce very many results. By using the individuals’ Facebook information that they have provided for their account, the AreYouInterested.com brand can expand the search results, no matter how “obscure” the search is, according to Lerner.

Another differentiator that sets the brand apart from other dating sites is that the service is offered through a variety of platforms, such as Facebook, the Internet and the iPhone. Each platform offers different features. For example, with the iPhone app, users can see if any of their matches are at a nearby location to where they are as the app boasts a location feature.

SNAP has its eye on the mobile market, according to Lerner, and is eager to expand its mobile presence into the Android market as well.

“We are very excited about mobile and we are really focused on that in the upcoming year,” Lerner said. “We’ve grown our mobile team from one person to six in the last two months.”

Despite the impressive stats – 40 million users – and the fact that SNAP’s revenue trajectory has been “phenomenal” – the fourth quarter for 2010 came in at $2.8 million up from $1.7 million in quarter three – the creators have not lost sight of one of the biggest successes of the AreYouInterested.com brand, its ability to properly match people and create lasting relationships.

Every day, SNAP is inundated with e-mails of people talking about their recent engagements, weddings or babies.

“You work so hard on the product and sometimes you don’t realize what you are actually doing; people are meeting and people get married and babies are born out of it,” Lerner said.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TechZone360. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Web Editor

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