Spring may be when a young man’s fancy turns to love, but this summer has been when they used their cell phones to do something about it.
The mobile intelligence firm Ground Truth reports today that the number of unique visitors to mobile dating websites rose 92 percent between the first week of June and the last week of July. The mobile-optimized site Flirtomatic saw 65 percent of mobile daters for the week that ended August 8–a much bigger audience than those for online dating stalwarts eHarmony and Match.com, which ranked 17 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
While it also has a PC version of its site, Flirtomatic seems especially able to tap into the go-go-go mindset of a mobile consumer. Users can send instant messages and images to fellow networkers, in keeping with the immediate gratification afforded by the mobile platform. Meanwhile, part of its $9 million third-round funding will reportedly be used to develop a GPS feature, allowing users to “flirt” with people immediately nearby.
I’ll admit I was skeptical a couple of years ago at Under The Radar: Mobility when the startup Skout made its pitch as a service in which those on the prowl would use LBS to make overtures to people in the same room as themselves. While I still think making first contact this way is creepy, I can see how mobile dating sites can offer LBS as a feature for, say, finding someone at a crowded bar after having exchanged photos and notes online and having made plans to meet up.
Ways to leverage the mobile dating space still needs to be sorted out. “The mobile dating experience is clearly differentiated from that of the wired Web,” Evan Neufeld, vice president, marketing, Ground Truth, said in a release. “What we see is short spurts of time spent per session, presenting mobile dating publishers an opportunity to engage and advertise to them in an entirely new way.”