Archive for June 20th, 2007

How to destroy competitors’ business model. Web 2.0 style. Questions

1. What did they do to drive large quantum leaps in user growth? Did they do any sort of joint venturing, partnering, or anything else that allowed them to grab blocks of users? This was easier than expected as investors and partners are monitoring this space closely, so every day there are serious inquiries from around the world. They can roll -out “white box” branded sites just like has done for AOL etc. Theirs will be free, using a fast follower model.

2. What about business fundamentals like customer segmentation? Did they set out to find a particular subsegment? Did that work? Very much so, the demographic analysis indicated an under-served market segment of between 18- 35 yrs old females. That was the first target market and it drove all the site attributes. The over 50 yr old female market is the next one being addressed. Since the Chinese market is so vibrant the first international push is the Chinese language site.

3. What about business fundamentals?

  • Did they have a business plan up front? Not documented
  • Or a go-to-market strategy? Very much so
  • Were they building it from the front as a disruptor to an established player and hoping to be acquired?
    • Not so much as this was the way they felt a community of like minded people needed to be built.

4. How much were they willing to “get eyeballs first” before worrying about revenues? They are already funded for three years of no revenue, but six months in, the ad engine is built and will be switched on shortly.

5. How much of this is transferable to a non-dating type of social network? Dating has the benefit of being driven by a low-level sex and partnering drive in humans. So you have a high TUODF

  • Target audience: MASSIVE
  • Utility to them: HIGH
  • Ongoing Duration: LONG TIME Even once they’re partnered they often stay on; Daily duration: driven by the above noted drives, dating sites can get up to one hour of time per day from a user
  • Frequency: Usually have high frequency use;

How much of this is transferable? The partners have identified several projects were they see parallels to their present market. Dating was one aspect of social networking to prove the concept with a well defined revenue market and entrenched competition.

6. Metrics: What are they using for metrics? They are well versed in Google Analytics and use that as the major tracking device. Check out Avinash Kaushiks blog for lots more.

7. Adaptation/mutation: Are they doing any sort of manual or automated A/B testing of modules, content, headlines, buttons, or any other design elements? Yes, new mods etc are tested in separate live sections of the website to measure the member response. Not so much an A/B system since the cost to roll-out is so low and its quick. They use eye mapping and page tracking to create appealing and high utility websites. There was a lot of very recent research applied to the website design elements. Now the site is a live laboratory.
Are they tracking any sort of attention data (where users mouses track generally vs. specific button clicks) Yes.

8. So who are they? I can tell you in a few months.