Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

With OkCupid Bought, Zoosk Brags About Momentum

Dating site Zoosk says that based on its January revenue, it will have a run rate of $90 million this year. Of course, recent growth could be a side effect of New Year’s resolutions and winter holiday loneliness, but the company says revenue is up 250 percent from this time last year.

Zoosk makes its money from premium subscriptions, which users must purchase for all but the most basic interactions on its site. It declines to disclose total user numbers, but says it is making money from them in more than 60 countries. The company has 80 employees working out of its headquarters in San Francisco. It is “cash-flow neutral,” according to co-CEO Alex Mehr.

Mehr admitted that Zoosk traditionally gets a 10 percent lift in revenue each January, but said that expected user growth should ensure revenue will not trail off later in the year.

Free dating site OkCupid was acquired last week by market leader, which often buys smaller competitors. Match, which itself is owned by IAC, had $108.3 million in revenue for the most recent quarter.

Zoosk, which was founded in 2007, bills itself as a younger and more social alternative to the standard dating sites. Sixty percent of Zoosk’s users are under 30 years old. The service originally grew in the viral (i.e., spammy!) early days of the Facebook platform, but now has a Web site, mobile apps and even a desktop client.

Mehr said to expect the company to introduce additional features in 2011 to make it more of a “social network built for dating” than a plain old dating site.

Zoosk’s last funding was a Series D round of $30 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners in November 2009.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald