Are there too many fish in the sea of online dating sites? Some pioneers of the industry think so.


With nearly 2,000 dating services to choose from in North America and millions of consumers engaging in them, tales of searching digitally for a successful match — for zing, or perhaps just for the night — are now so common they’ve become an intimate to all intents of the way we live.

Canadians could have more options to choose from in get years. According to IBISWorld, the number of companies in the dating services commerce in Canada is expected to continue to expand, by 3.5 per cent this year and three per cent the get year.

As the stigma around online dating has faded, it’s also develop a highly competitive — and crowded — industry. Companies have targeted nook communities and different religious, ethnic and age groups with apps such as ChristianMingle, JDate, Husbandmen Only, Grindr, and SilverSingles.

But in both Canada and the U.S., revenue — while hushed expected to increase — is forecast to grow more slowly over the next five years. And, in the U.S., larger competitors are expected to continue acquiring smaller ones, potentially shrinking the tally of companies, according to IBISWorld.

Match Group, the largest company by buy share in both Canada and the U.S., has been buying up smaller dating works for years. In 2011, Match Group acquired OkCupid, and in 2015, it come by the Vancouver-based dating site, Plenty of Fish, for $575 million US. 

The troop says it controls more than 45 brands, including Go and Tinder, but it doesn’t disclose a complete list of all of them. Still, its eminent brands have been part of the Canadian landscape for years.

Chris Bennett rumours Tinder helped him to meet his soon-to-be-wife after moving to Toronto. (Yanjun Li/CBC)

Reserve Tinder, for example.

Chris Bennett worked in downtown Toronto, but he toughened to live outside of the city. He says that, without Tinder, he may not obtain met his fiance when he was using the app two years ago.

“We’re getting married July 20th,” says Bennett. “It’s stirred out really well.”

Loving advice from an industry vet

In its most latest quarterly report, Match Group says more than three million Tinder buyers pay for premium services and its total number of global subscribers across all marques soared 24 per cent to seven million. But as the popular sites happen to even more well-established, it’s becoming more challenging for newer websites and apps to coincide with in.

“It’s a sign of a very mature market,” said Bruce Croxon, a ci-devant panelist on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, but also one of the co-founders of Lavalife.

Lavalife launched in 1988 using the hot, new technology of the all together: voicemail. It helped to pave the way for the rise in digital dating services after it.

“For a covet time we had the market to ourselves. The technology was big and it was expensive,” said Croxon. “The exclusively way to compete now is to own a ton of sites and start to get some economies of scale.”

Before faming on CBC’s Dragons’ Den as an investor, Bruce Croxon was one of the co-founders of Lavalife. (Ivan Arsovski/CBC Telecast)

That’s what Scott Darling is up against with his dating app, Sniffr.

Sniffr points to help dog owners to meet other dog owners. It originally launched in 2014, but has relaunched with upgrades dissimilar times since.

Darling, one of the founders of Sniffr, says he’s invested $100,000 in the app but it has not had a few thousand downloads in Toronto, Los Angeles and San Francisco so far. Still, he’s hopeful.

Scott Apple of ones eye is one of the co-founders of Sniffr. He’s invested about $100,000 in building the business. (Ousama Farag/CBC Low-down)

“You do see from the reaction from people when you tell them apropos this product… they like the idea and they join up,” Lovely said. “It tells me that, though [the online dating industry] may be suffused there still is opportunity.”

Slice of the dating app pie

In Canada, online and ambulatory dating revenue is approximately $112.7 million, just a fraction of what it is in the U.S., at $2.4 billion, corresponding to IBISWorld.

To put that size in context, estimated Canadian revenue for Netflix was $517.8 million in 2016, harmonizing to the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project.

Croxon and the other progenitors of Lavalife sold the company in 2004 for $176 million.

“In hindsight it was the truth time because the market was already getting very busy,” Croxon judged.

Croxon was on CBC’s Dragons’ Den from 2011 to 2014, and currently invests in digital startups by virtue of another company he co-founded, Round 13 Capital.

But those with a phase service pitch should probably look elsewhere.

“When I see start up epoch apps come through our door I say interesting, but no thanks,” Croxon imparted. “It is an industry that, to me, had its day.”

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