Meetcha: A New Dating Site for the 40-Plus Set, from Monster/Eons Founder Jeff Taylor
[Updated 12/8/09 2:30 p.m. with comments from Taylor, see below] Jeff Taylor, the founder of Monster Worldwide and the founder/CEO of the boomer-focused online community Eons, is up to something new. Xconomy has learned that Taylor is about to launch a dating site, Meetcha.com, designed for people 40 and over.
In an e-mail obtained by Xconomy, Taylor says he is in search of singles to try out the site during its alpha testing phase, and that Meetcha “will offer a less pressured, more fun way to meet new people.” The Meetcha website calls Meetcha “a new dating experience for grown-ups.”
At the moment, the site consists mainly of a sign-up form for those who would like to receive information about the service. Visitors who supply their addresses then see a notice saying the company will be in touch in mid-December with an official invitation to join the site.
We reached Taylor about the new site this afternoon just as he was about to board a flight. He says Meetcha is “an Eons product.” He noted that although Eons has never an area explicitly dedicated to matchmaking, many people have used the site for that purpose. “We’ve basically been an undating dating site for almost our entire existence,” Taylor says. “We have never hung a dating shingle out, but some of our most popular groups are for singles, and if you look at the people who spend the most time on the site, they have tended to be singles.”
Meetcha will capitalize on that interest, Taylor says. A small alpha test of the service, limited to over-40 singles in the Boston area, will run through January, Taylor says. “The idea is to run a control group through our innovative profile builder,” he says. “We have a number other product offerings that are really targeted toward this age group, and we’re excited about it.”
Eons itself has been in transition over the last couple of years. The company attracted venture capital from big-name firms like Charles River Ventures, General Catalyst, Intel Capital, and Sequoia Capital, but went through a big round of layoffs in September of 2007. In early 2008, the site—which had originally been marketed to people over 50—removed its age limit in an attempt to attract more users. Around the same time, the company spun off the obituary section of the Eons community in the form of a new company called Tributes.com. Tributes has since raised at least $5.4 million from Boston-area tech investors and funeral companies.
“Eons didn’t start out as an incubator exactly, but it did start out with the idea that there would be a number of different products, and that we would see what stuck in the marketplace,” Taylor says. “One of my hypotheses was around the idea of an obituary product and life celebrations, and that became Tributes.com, which is going great. So now we have, really, four products: the original Eons, which is a gathering place for the boomer generation; Eons Boomer Media, an advertising network which is complete dedicated to boomers, with over 4 million uniques [impressions per month]; Tributes.com; and now Meetcha, which is really responding to what we see as a clear need on the Eons site.”
Taylor said Eons has been surveying over-40 singles around the country to find out what dating-site features they’d like—but he had to get on his plane before he could describe them. It’s clear that to succeed, Meetcha will need to distinguish itself both from the dozens of existing dating sites that specifically cater to people in middle age or older, such as SeniorFriendFinder and MatureSinglesOnly, and from general dating services such as Match.com and eHarmony that have strong over-40 followings.
I didn’t get a chance to ask Taylor how Meetcha will earn revenues, or whether it might become a separate, venture-funded spinoff like Tributes.com. But both Eons and Tributes.com are both advertising-supported, and a section of the Meetcha privacy page on third-party ads suggests that Meetcha will be as well, with ads supplied by major online ad networks such as Collective Media and Google’s DoubleClick.
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