Guardian Soulmates, the online dating offering from the popular British newspaper, has today announced that it will be shutting down at the end of June.
The premium dating service was first launched in July 2004, but has now decided to close its doors due to the number of free websites and apps that are available.
In a statement posted on the official Guardian Soulmates blog page, a spokesperson explained: “Whilst Soulmates has always been a premium offering, focused on creating a safe and fun space for like-minded people to meet and hopefully find love, we find ourselves as very little fish in a very big pool.
“To keep up with the changing times we’d need to invest heavily in new technology and develop a new way of operating, and it’s just not viable.”
The service will now be completely free to use, meaning members can send as many messages as they’d like, until the site is closed at the end of next month. All existing subscriptions will also be refunded for days paid beyond and including 14th May.
The same blog post said it wanted to ensure all users could get the most out of the site and make the first moves that they might have been putting off.
It has thanked every person who has used the platform over the past 16 years and said it is “very proud” of the thousands of people that it has introduced.
The Guardian is looking to publish an article to tell the stories of some of the people who started a family with help from the service. People can submit their stories and photos, and will be contacted by a journalist before publication.
CEO of WhiteLabelDating Ross Williams told GDI: “It’s a real shame to see the end of Guardian Soulmates. Over the years, Soulmates has been a popular choice for an intelligent, educated online dater.
“I believe their challenge has always been balancing profitable commercial success with the wider sociopolitical goals and beliefs of Guardian Media Group.
“When GMG decided to in-house their dating platform rather than use an outsourced white label dating platform, I believe that the costs involved would considerably reduce the profitability of the business and as a result it is no doubt the right choice to close an in-housed operation like this – particularly when the wider media industry is experiencing so many challenges”
Read more here.