The New York Times Looks ‘Inside’ the Dating Sector

The New York Times has published a collection of interviews with executives and professionals from the online dating sector.

The publication spoke to Meredith Davis, Head of Communications at The League, Helen Fisher, Chief Science Adviser at Match.com, Jerry Miller, Founder of FarmersOnly.com, and Gourav Rakshit, Chief Executive of Shaadi.com.

Davis spoke about her experience working at the original ‘concierge’ at The League – encouraging users to stay online while they developed a user base.

She would need to convince them to date outside of their comfort zone, while at the same time encouraging them to be specific – something which presented a challenge.

One in four users would write to the concierge, she noted, often worried about their conversation progressing too quickly or too slowly.

Jerry Miller says his site for rural connections has grown to over 6 million users.

Most dating apps cater to those living busy, cosmopolitan lives in densely populated areas, he says.

Rural dating is difficult when matches expect to be able to meet up at short notice, or on a weeknight. A site which takes the nuances of rural living into account performs well with those who find this problematic.

He laments the rise of the swipe-based interfaces: “The whole movement has been these swipe sites. You look at a picture for a few seconds.

“That really got to me. There’s more to a person than a one-second look. People who don’t look like Hollywood fashion models don’t get swiped right on as often.”

Helen Fisher discussed findings from the Singles in America Survey.

She says: “We’ve extended the period of getting to know someone. In past generations, a girl was married at 20. Now it’s 27. For men, it’s 22 and 29.

“That gives you almost a decade to experiment with sex and love.”

Fisher was surprised to find that the vast majority of men were happy to be approached by women, but that only a tiny minority of women were happy to approach men.

She recently featured as a panellist on the Intelligence Squared dating apps debate.

Gourav Rakshit says his favourite part of working in the dating industry is seeing unlikely couples meet one another.

His platform once saw a 72-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman settle down together. “All they wanted was someone who would be a companion”, he said.

One in three Shaadi matches in India meet face-to-face. The site is signing up around 15,000 users per day.

The US has emerged as the platform’s second biggest market, Rakshit notes.

Read more here.