Find! A! Date! On! Yahoo! UK! France! Germany!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match

Yahoo! today launches a dating agency for its UK and Ireland, French and German properties. Called Yahoo! Personals, subscription will cost between €15 and €25 per month. But the service is free for the first few months.

Yahoo's! move into the European dating scene makes sense. In the US, it claims 16.3 million users (as of 2002 end) for its dating service, launched in 1997. Yahoo! has huge traffic just about everywhere and its entry will make the going tougher for standalone online dating ops.

This sector is one of the few proven dotcom money spinners, albeit from a comparatively small base. According to Jupiter Research stats quoted by Yahoo!, the Western European online dating market is worth €40m this year, rising ot €117m by to 2007. The UK bit of this is worth around £3m (€4.5m) a year, rising to £14m by 2007.

Some more number crunching: there are 10 million single people in the UK. Yahoo! is targeting ABC1 "young professionals" between 18 and 45, which constitutes the majority of its 15 million users a month in the UK and Ireland. Hold on a mo. Since when was 45 young. And since when was there 7.5 million+1 (at a minimum) young professionals in the UK and Ireland, hanging out in Yahoo! Isn't it far better and cheaper to check out the daters' stalkers' nostalgiafest that is friendsreunited.com?

In December 2002, USA Interactive announced the acquisition (pdf) of uDate, the UK-based market leader in Internet dating, for $150m in stock. USA Interactive's appetite for the market was whetted by its ownership of Match.com, bought way back in 1999. ®


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