A funny thing happened on the way from Seedcamp, I had a really interesting conversation with Josh Russell, a fellow mentor. An interesting conversation that started when Josh said “all websites are dating websites” I found that hilarious. After I stopped laughing I thought about it a bit and declared that Josh was right!
Here’s the thing, all websites either sell something or match up parties. Dating websites sell their audiences but they differ in how wide or deep they want those audiences to be engaged. I think the spectrum goes from a site like plentyoffish.com at the low end, dead easy, low bells and whistles really simple and you get what the tin tells you plenty of fish. On the other end you have a site like okcupid which markets itself as a matchmaker asking deeper questions to help you find your match. I’m not in the market for dating websites (thankfully being married to the greatest wife ever means I don’t have to visit sites like these) but even I was interested in OK Cupid’s blog post on the real stuff white people like. I had come across this post just before my conversation with Josh so it helped me see the common line between dating websites and the rest of the web. The question is; are you a plenty of fish or an Ok Cupid? Or rather are you a for the masses or a for the value site.
Let’s look at social networks, Facebook is a for the masses, everyone’s on it and it’s connections are madness, Linkedin is a value where there’s deeper engagement. Question and answer sites, Yahoo! Answers is a for the masses, Quora is a value rich model. Other social networks like Twitter, and Q&A sites like Mahalo, fall inbetween.
Knowing which end of the spectrum you want to be can help you dictate content and marketing strategy. Questions like should you invest more in SEO or in Buzz and PR can be answered by know what kind of dating site you are.
It’s an interesting concept and I wonder what others think.