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Furthermore, he worried that Ok Cupid risked being seen as just another widget maker in a crowded marketplace.As various promotional options were exhausted, Yagan found his thoughts turning back to a wacky idea he and Coyne had once tossed around: a dating site with "a blind-date button." What had been little more than a running joke suddenly seemed like a way to stand out from the crowd.
In New York, "Goumba Johnny" Sialiano and "Hollywood" Sean Hamilton, hosts of the afternoon rush-hour show on dance station WKTU, repeatedly praised the site, claiming that even their "loser" producer had wrangled a week's worth of blind dates.At best, the novelty of instantaneous, face-to-face blind dates might catch on among users inundated with e-mails, phone calls, and IMs; at worst, it might at least generate buzz for Ok Cupid.The Decision Yagan and Coyne decided that the potential rewards of press coverage and increased Web traffic from a blind-dating site outweighed the benefits of buying advertisements or developing more features for Ok Cupid.Yagan figured he could inflict serious damage on Match, the industry giant with 2007 revenue of 9 million, and other big subscription sites such as e Harmony and JDate by using the same strategy he employed with Spark Notes."Take an existing business," he explains, "reduce the revenue that industry produces by offering a free product, and then claim the remaining revenue for yourself."He had spent three years building his dating site, Ok Cupid, with partner Chris Coyne and had raised nearly million. The company needed a massive audience to make money.