Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg and IAC CEO Joey Levin have each given their takes on Facebook Dating in the last 48 hours, both referencing Facebook’s security concerns in their statements.
Tinder CEO Elie Seidman has now added his thoughts in an extended answer given to interviewer JP Mangalindan.
Seidman said to Yahoo Finance in an on-stage interview: “It’s a really interesting and big question. I think starting at the top, we’re actually not competitively focused. If you think about the genesis of Tinder, Tinder actually enters the space broadly of connecting people to meet in real life.
“There have have been things like Match.com and OKCupid which I ran before, but Tinder with a revolution and interesting combination of product and innovation – the swipe obviously incredibly recognisable, and double opt-in – and a lot of important decisions around brand blew open the category that’s defined.
“So you have, before Tinder, people under 25 don’t use a dating app at all – it was like ‘not done’ – to the extent that it was is was a little bit on OKCupid. Fast forward five years and now it’s like the new norm. So that’s an interesting backdrop of ‘how do you get there?’.
“You get there by innovating. You don’t get there by copying a competitor – there was nothing to copy. That, for us, is the highest level thing – we need to innovate and not copy competitors. That’s the challenge – the team has to be laser focused.
“We only think about one thing every day. Facebook has to think of lots and lots of things. We have the benefit of focusing all day every day. At some level, competition is galvanising, it makes you bring your best game. That’s the backdrop.
“More specifically, dating, hooking up, connecting, it’s a really interesting category. It’s not a utility – we’re not like ‘Expedia for people’. I think that’s a really important idea. If we were a pure utility then Match.com with its billions of dollars of advertising would have won.
“That of course didn’t happen. Tinder is ten times bigger than its next closest competitor, so there’s something else in there and that’s really critical, and what I would call that is ‘ambience’.
“The ambience of the environment of one of these experiences. I have the unique benefit of having stewarded two – Tinder for a short while and OKCupid for a bit of a longer while – and OKCupid at a really important and pivotal and complicated moment in its history where it was really on the downslide.
“Ambience is going to be tricky. I saw Colbert last night – he’s picking on Facebook, and the core theme was when you use Facebook there’s a lot of context and a lot of ambience. That ambience is really specific – it could be kids’ pictures that you’re seeing, it could be knowing about Cambridge Analytica, it could be all of the other stuff they do, so they have an interesting set of baggage.”
Find more reactions from around the online dating industry here.