OkCupid, the online dating site famous for, among other things, Julian Assange’s dating profile, being self-professedly “always free,” and doing rather amazing in-depth analyses of user dating information, is now $50 million richer (in cash!) by way of an acquisition from Match.com. As daters, occasionally online, occasionally not, we were interested in what this might mean for our future. Will OkCupid become like Match? More worrisomely, will OkCupid now cost money? We caught up with Sam Yagan, co-founder and CEO of OkCupid, to find out.
“I’m very happy,” Yagan said by phone. “It’s one of those things…it’s part of every project’s life cycle that it finds a permanent home.” As for any changes to his site, he says the two online dating sites will remain totally separate. In fact, almost nothing will change. “It was very important that the same team of 17 people will continue to run the business, and that our brand will stay the same; we won’t charge. We’ll just keep running the business, and make OkCupid awesome. If this were happening pre-blogs and social media, no one would ever know!” Yagan told us. “It’s my job as the guy who runs the company for it to have no effect on our users or our coworkers.”
As for what might change: “There are a lot of things they know how to do,” said Yagan. “Someday maybe we’ll run TV commercials for OkCupid. But there will be nothing on the site that says Match.com. Maybe, if we have an unsold ad, we would run an ad for Match.”
OkCupid averages 7 million users a month; Yagan calls them “younger, hipper, more web-savvy and urban,” although he admits that with that many users, there’s probably a little bit of everyone in the mix.
What’s up next? Yagan promised three new dater analysis posts upcoming for Valentine’s Day, and, most definitely, continued free service. “Give us the chance to prove that nothing has changed. It’s the same team running the same site; we will just have more resources,” Yagan told us.
Also, “We’ll be launching a new location-aware mobile app. You’ll be basically able to get dates based on proximity to you. If you’re at a bar on the Lower East Side, for example, you’ll see who’s near you,” he said.
As for why OkCupid took down a post they’d written long ago about why you should never pay for online dating just as they were being acquired…
“[Match] didn’t ask us to take it down,” said Yagan. “We did it as a courtesy. Honestly, the post was getting no traffic. I think there are a lot of advantages to being a free site. There are also people who want to pay for it. I think both camps are right, and I think that’s why Match bought us. If you want to be the biggest and best online dating site, you need them both.”