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Free Dating??? Match.com Buys OkCupid For $50 Million

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you can hear the 1978 classic song “Love Is In The Air” by John Paul Young playing all over and for Match.com, love means business, big business in fact. Match.com, owned by IAC, has bought rival OKCupid for a whopping $50 million in a cash transaction so the two online dating sites are finally tying the knot or if you prefer, getting hitched. Pun intended.

If you’ve ever done any online dating, you know Match.com is the McDonald’s of online dating sites. It has a ton of people, most of whom are total freaks, players, nerds and weirdos (oh, I forgot, and stalkers). The site is completely generic and recently it was hit with a class action lawsuit claiming many of their profiles are fake. OKCupid, is no different, except of course its free and attracts a much younger demographic. Even Julian Assange’s from WikiLeaks had a dating profile on OKCupid, so it attracts people of all kind.

Unlike Match.com which charges for membership, OKCupid is free, so revenues come from advertising. And according to IAC, OKCupid’s revenue has risen faster than that of any other dating site. Probably because people have been hit hard with the economy and have looked for free access to online dating.

IAC love sites, which include Match.com and Chemistry.com generated $108.3 million last year, a huge chuck for IAC, which also snatched up other sites such as Singlesnet and People Media. “OkCupid has been a real innovator in our space, and the dating environment they’ve created has struck a chord with a younger demographic,” said Greg Blatt, CEO of IAC, in a press release. “We know that many people who start out on advertising-based sites ultimately develop an appetite for the broader feature set and more committed community [on] subscription sites like Match.com.”

Quite likely Match needs OKCupid more than OKCupid needs Match, simply because their design and features are superior. But OKCupid needs Match’s resources for big advertising and marketing dollars, to fuel growth, specially internationally. According to Wikipedia, OKCupid claims 3.5 million active users as of September 2010 versus more than 20 million members for Match.

Even though the two sites are now in a love affair for the same group of singles, it’ll be business as usual. OKCupid’s office will remain in Midtown New York and the site will remain free. However it is quite likely that Match.com will run its on ads on its new acquisition and make it easy for users to jump over.

Photo Courtesy of ladybugbkt
Photo Courtesy of Indy Charlie