IAC Makes OkCupid Co-Founder Boss of its Entire Online Dating Segment

10/23/12Follow @jpruth

Internet and media company IAC (Nasdaq: IACI) in New York is shaking up the management in its online dating segment. The company says that Sam Yagan, CEO and co-founder of OkCupid, has been appointed CEO of Match Inc. overseeing all of IAC’s online dating operations, which includes Match.com, the largest dating site on the planet, and Chemistry.com.

Though IAC has not proved further comment, the move might indicate new strategies in the making for its online dating business. IAC, through Match.com, acquired upstart OkCupid in February 2011 for some $50 million. OkCupid is an ad-driven, freemium site that allows users to connect with each other for free while charging a monthly fee for additional services. Match.com, in contrast, requires members to pay subscription fees in order to communicate with each other.

Beyond the revenue models, these popular sites function very differently as well. OkCupid is known for matching its members based on responses to an ever-growing number of questions; members can create new questions to add to the list. Match, on the other hand, largely pairs potential dates based on criteria each member chooses such as preferred height, education level, income, and interests.

Some changes have already been under way at Match. This year, the site began offering a new service for in-person events in select cities that allow paying members to meet in groups. This move into face-to-face events makes Match.com more of a rival to smaller dating companies such as OneStop Singles that specialize in bringing singles together for happy hour, speed dating, and other events.

As competition in the online dating world intensifies, Yagan now has more tools at his disposal. For example, IAC acquired European online dating service Meetic in September 2011, which also falls under his authority.

Also in today’s announcement, Match.com’s president Mandy Ginsberg was named CEO of the segment’s core businesses. This includes the Match.com domestic U.S. business, Chemistry.com, and niche dating business People Media, which operates sites for target groups such as single parents and seniors. Josh Meyers, CEO of People Media, will move on to other segments within IAC, primarily fitness business DailyBurn.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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