While online dating grows in popularity and many industry websites report healthy profits, UK Cupid.com has had a very bad year.
The site, which is based in Edinburgh, has just seen it’s shares fall by around 15%. They are currently valued at under 60p (approximately US$1 at today’s rate), down from a high in 2011 of £2.49.
Claims that Cupid.com had misled members by creating masses of fake profiles caused membership figures to suffer and triggered an independent review by the accounting firm KPMG. Even though the review found that the claims were fabricated and completely untrue, it seems the damage was done and shareholders reacted.
The negative publicity, although unfounded, caused the site’s new membership rate to slump in the second half of 2013, leading to further grief for shareholders.
The parent company Cupid Plc sold of some of it’s other assets in 2013 – including flirty.com and benaughty.com – in order to raise funds.
The new CEO, Mr Philip Gripton, said that he has great confidence in the long term future of the company due to the major changes that are being implemented. It plans to develop it’s other sites like uniformdating.com, and further expand it’s overseas market.
Cupid.com is one of the bigger players in the industry, and part of it’s problem may be the increase in popularity of smaller, niche-based dating sites that seek to cater to only a specific part of the population.
While joining the site is free, there are charges to be paid in order to actually use it. The growth in popularity of free dating sites, and those you can still use effectively with paying for optional premium features is another likely factor in the company’s difficulties.
You can read more about this story here.