Fresh from unveiling its brand new redesigned platform, GDI recently spoke with the CTO of Person.com to speak about its joint romantic and platonic focus, the technological hurdles the site had to overcome, and where the dating industry is headed.
Can you tell us a little about Person.com and how it works?
Person.com is a global community of over 5m members. The site allows members to connect to each other using features like Discover, Impressions and Chat. Members can also specify who they are looking to connect with and what type of relationship they want.
How was the site founded, and when did it launch? How has the industry changed since then?
The site was founded 16 years ago, but became part of Emerge Media in 2013. Since then, the biggest change we have seen is in the number of users looking to use online sites like Person.com as their primary method of connecting and building relationships with other people.
What is your personal background in?
Person.com is much more than one person. It’s a team of highly talented individuals who excel in every aspect, designing, developing and operating the perfect platform to bring people together.
You recently launched a redesigned version of the site. Can you give us some detail about the rebrand and the new features that were added? What were the main things you wanted to change with your redesign?
Person.com was redesigned from the ground up. We interviewed many members of our community and conducted extensive user research to discover how people truly connect online. We combined that with opportunities we saw in the industry and created the platform you see today. Impressions allows you to quickly connect with like-minded members. Discover allows you to search for specific people with similar interests. The Chat section is our most popular feature; it’s where we allow members to instant message and video chat 1-on-1 from one easy to use place.
What were the biggest technological changes that needed to happen? What were the biggest challenges?
This was developing the Chat section by far. It took a lot of custom development to allow us to have a feature such as video chat available on any computer, tablet or mobile phone. The technology did not natively exist so we had to develop it from the ground up.
Where do you think Person.com sits in the online dating market? What niche/demand are you fulfilling?
Since Person.com has been around for 16 years, we have gained a large, and very loyal, user base. We provide them a platform to easily connect and communicate with other members all over the globe.
With the industry becoming increasingly competitive, and increasingly mobile, how do you think brands can stay relevant?
By giving users the ability to connect wherever they are – if that is on a desktop at home, or on a cell phone on the go – members should have a great experience and be able to easily use all the features on the site.
What are some of the technological advancements in online dating that you are particularly excited about?
Using machine learning and neural networking to better match members is something we are starting to experiment with. As more and more members use the site to connect, our algorithm gets more and more accurate.
What do you think will be the big trends in the next few years?
Improving the mobile experience and advanced social media integration will be at the forefront of our industry over the next few years. Research shows us that we will pass over 50% of users using Person.com on their mobile devices in just a few years, and we are constantly making our mobile experience better because of it.
Do you think the subscription model will continue to last, or be replaced by a new form of monetisation – especially with regards to mobile services?
We believe the subscription model is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. We are finding that people are growing increasingly annoyed with the amount of ads online and are willing to pay a small monthly fee for an ad-free platform.
How is Person.com doing? How many users do you have and what markets are they in?
We are thrilled with the growth of the site. We have over 5m members in over 190 countries.
What is the split between people looking for love and friendship on the site?
It’s about 50/50.
Can you tell us a little about the Person.com app, and how it works?
We relaunched a beta version of our iOS and Android apps with the new site. Everything that can be accessed on the website can be easily accessed from the apps as well. We are working on even better versions of the apps as we speak, that take advantage of the technical capabilities of newer mobile devices.
How is Person.com currently monetised?
We offer a VIP membership that gives the user the ability to connect with more members and the ability to buy credits to promote their profile to all members logged into the site at the time.
What are your plans for the site over the next year?
Our plans are going to revolve around constant iteration based on member feedback. Now that we re-developed the site from scratch, we are going to work to perfect it and give our members the best experience possible.
Find out more about Person.com’s relaunch here, and visit its official site here.