And last year, with the acquisition of JSwipe, it branched out into the Tinder-like market of users who swipe left or right to find love.“Every Jew knows someone who knows someone who met on JDate,” said Aaron Young, Spark’s former vice president for business development and strategic partnerships.But, as can sometimes be the case with online daters themselves, all is not what it seems.Artificial intelligence, by pulling from a variety of places — say, a user’s Goodreads list or Instagram or list of charity donations — could more effectively match people than relying simply on a person’s own profile or questionnaire, he said.Spark Networks, of course, already offers niche products, but Lisa Mc Lafferty, Spark’s new chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer at Peak6, says its aim is now to “refresh the brand.”“Over the last few rounds of management, the brand got a little lost,” she said.Spark Networks (which trades under the ticker symbol LOV) eventually grew to about 30 dating sites, but the crown jewel has always been JDate. Goldberg estimates that 70 percent of the Jews of dating age in the United States have had some contact with JDate or JSwipe, with about one million registered users.“We’re unambiguously touching a greater percentage of the Jewish population than ever before,” he said.That may be the case, but according to Spark Networks’ 2015 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the number of paid subscribers to its Jewish networks declined to around 65,000 last year from a little over 85,000 in 2012.Since 2011, Spark Networks has been led by a rotating array of chief executives — four over five years.
But Brad Goldberg, president of Peak6 and Spark’s new board director as of August, said that through modernizing the company’s technology and focusing on how to effectively market its two best known sites — JDate and Christian Mingle — the company will adapt and “take advantage of the changing industry landscape.”JDate was created in 1997 in a West Los Angeles condominium; Christian Mingle was added in 2001.
Rather, he said, online dating will expand to encompass more and more categories of people.
The wave of the future for online and mobile dating, he predicts, is the growing use of artificial intelligence and better data science.
Not many people have heard of Spark Networks, but far more are familiar with what it owns: JDate, Christian Mingle and a host of other sites like Silver and Black
JDate, especially, would seem to be one of the success stories of online dating. Stories about happily married couples who met on the site.