Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dallas Morning News article: 50+ fastest growing segment on Match.com

Dallas Morning News article: 50+ fastest growing segment on Match.com

On Life and Love After 50 newsletter

January 15, 2016

by Tom P. Blake

50+ fastest growing segment on Match.com

I’ve got to thank my brother Bill, who lives in Dallas, for today’s newsletter. He suggested I look online at an article in the January 8, 2016, issue of The Dallas Morning News, written by staff writer Sheryl Jean.

The title of Sheryl Jean’s article: “Dallas-based Match says its fastest-growing dating group is the over-50 crowd.”

Sheryl Jean did a nice job on the article. And since the subject matter is a topic our Champs often discuss, I decided to make  a few comments about it. The article began talking about a couple who met on Match.com in 2012. She was 52; he was 60. The article stated that this couple meeting was “evidence that you’re never too old to date—or to fall in love.”

Well, that’s true. But, when you think about the majority of our group--10 to 20 years older—and when couples form, now that’s true evidence that you’re never too old to fall in love. Champs Chris, 81, and Tina, 70s, who have a 4,500 mile long-distance relationship, are prime examples of that.

The article alluded to the range of companies that Match.com owns, referring to Match as the Match Group. Did you know that Match owns Our Time, which used to be called SeniorPeopleMeet, Tinder, OkCupid, Chemistry.com, and in July shelled out $575 million for Plenty of Fish? My guess is that the Match Group, with 2.6 million members, is pretty much focused on just plain old making dinero. As some of you have experienced, when you have an issue with them, is there any wonder why getting to a real live person is so difficult?

The article quoted Match Group’s chief operating officer, Navin Ramachandran: “’People over 50 are now more trusting of going on dating sites…The stigma has gone down tremendously.’” 

I have to challenge that statement. Are singles in our age range--50 to 90--more trusting now about online dating sites?

I don’t think so. Look at all of the romance scams and horror stories we’ve heard about lately, including the one from last week about a couple who met on OurTime and now the woman has disappeared?  Sheryl Jean’s article did not mention even once that seniors, widows, and widowers often have to deal with and dodge romance scammers on sites focused on the senior demographic.

I think the article should have mentioned that seniors have to be extra careful on dating sites, that the sites have lots of evil people lurking that want to take advantage of lonely senior singles. Match.com does not conduct background checks on new members.

The article also stated that Match’s “…fastest-growing dating group is the over-50 crowd.” What does that mean? By sheer numbers, or percentage-wise?  If they went from 1,000 over-50 folks, to 2,000, that’s only adding 1,000 people. But in percentages, that’s a 100 percent gain. That wasn’t explained in the article.
One thing I liked about the article was the explanation of what a Stanford University economics professor, Paul Oyer, explained as a “thick” dating market, “…where there are a lot of people seeking a match and results are better.”

College campuses are an example of “thick” places to meet potential mates. Seniors don’t have access to “thick” dating sites, so online dating sites step in and attempt to provide that for older singles. That made sense to me.

The article mentioned that eHarmony has about 800,000 subscribers, of which 80,000, 10 percent or so, are over the age of 80. That’s astounding to me. Apparently eHarmony’s over 50 subscribers are growing by more than 10 percent as well, whatever that means.

I got a chuckle over the article’s comments about marketing of the online dating sites. To get older singles moving again, they show advertising of older couples riding roller coasters and camping. My partner Greta has made it very clear to me regarding our camping outings: Days in the wilderness, nights in a motel. “There are no bears, mosquitoes, or snakes in Motel 6,” she says.

The article quoted Paul Oyer again: “…older customers are more profitable (to dating sites) because they tend to have more disposable income and spend more money.”

He must be kidding. Hey, lots of us are retired and/or on limited incomes. We don’t like plopping a lot of dinero down on dating sites or dinners out. So, I think he’s off base with that comment. At the 50+ Meet and Greet events at Tutor and Spunky’s, my former deli, seniors didn’t spend much at all.

At the end of the article, this was stated: “Singles 70 and up are the least likely to want to get married (5 percent), Followed by singles in their 60s (8 percent) and those in their 50s (20 percent). I agree with those stats; most seniors tell me they do not want to remarry. Of course, there are exceptions.

The end of the article also stated: “…The desire for sexual intimacy seems to increase or remain consistent over time.” Right on brother! It added, “87 percent of singles ages 50 to 70 said physical attraction between a partner is a must.” Double right on brother!

The article concluded with, “Older singles are happier with their family, friendships and sex lives than any other age group.” Now you’re talking!
Overall, I thin Sheryl Jean’s article was thought-provoking and positive. But, I think people in our age, 50-90, have a lot more to say about the subject.
The link to Sheryl Jean’s article:

By the way, in case you are wondering, my brother Bill is a couple of years older than I and is not available. He’s been married for several years. But, he’s a heck of a good guy. 

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