Internet conglomerate IAC — the company that Barry Diller stepped down from in December, presumably to spend more time on extracurriculars — announced that it purchased the popular dating site OkCupid. The IAC-owned Match.com acquired its rival site for $50 million in cash, plus “potential future payments contingent upon performance,” according to IAC’s quarterly earnings report. When Diller demoted himself from CEO to chairman, Greg Blatt, Match.com’s young executive, took Diller’s place. This move seems to signal IAC’s continued commitment to growth through acquisition and emphasis on online dating, Blatt’s specialty. The benefits to Match.com, which was launched sixteen years ago, are obvious — and nubile: OkCupid’s younger members. But the deal, which marries a pay site like Match.com, which grew revenues 38 percent last quarter, and a free-to-use, advertising-based site like OkCupid, with its addictive trends reports, is already rubbing some the wrong way. The Atlantic questions whether Match.com was behind OkCupid’s decision to take down an old post called “Why You Should Never Pay for Online Dating,” which took some harsh jabs at its new owner.
Sam Yagan, OkCupid’s young CEO and co-founder, who will stay on to run the site from his offices in New York, e-mailed responses to questions from Intel to set the record straight. Yagan said of the post, “We were never asked to take it down. I made the call to take it down of my own volition.” Of course, observers would rather OkCupid retain its outspoken take on the industry, and a site like his, which is big on data transparency, might have guessed that taking something down would draw more attention to it. But “don’t bite the hand that gives you $50 million” doesn’t seem like an egregious approach to day one.
“Marrying the best subscription site with the best advertising-based site is a perfect match,” added Yagan. “We’re excited to continue running the business just as we always have while having the benefit of all of Match’s resources and expertise to grow even faster.” When we asked if that meant OkCupid would stay free for users, Yagan said, “Yes, we aren’t changing anything.” If that stays the case, that’s good news. Without OkCupid in its current form, how would we know that if girls can’t look hot, they should just go with the profile pic that makes their nose look big/lips look thin/arms look fat?
Why Match.com Shouldn’t Have Purchased Dating Site OkCupid [Altantic]
IAC Buys OkCupid For $50 Million Plus Earnout [Business Insider]