How to Invest in the Top 5 Social Networking Sites for Online Dating

- November 30th, 2015

As these five companies illustrate, online dating is a growing part of the social media industry and has significant investment opportunities.

Online dating is a booming industry. The market is rapidly expanding as more and more people turn to the internet in their search for love. Social media companies have identified this growth and are working to provide online dating experiences that appeal to virtually every consumer.
Here, the Investing News Network profiles the top 5 social networking sites in online dating. From major websites that dominate the online dating scene to small-cap companies that specialize in specific niches, these five companies are all making important contributions to the social media scene, and may be options for social media investors. 

1. The market giant: Match.com (NASDAQ:MTCH)

One of the top 5 social networking sites for online dating is Match.com. Match.com was one of the first companies to enter this market in 1995, and today has grown to serve millions of singles in 24 countries. The website is popular for its wide breadth and active user base. However, it also caters to niche interests, like Christian dating, Jewish dating, senior dating and Asian dating. The website is a foundational part of Match Group’s portfolio, which now spans 45 brands. Match Group has a market cap of $3.57 billion and shares are currently trading at $14.29.

2. The niche focus: JDate.com and ChristianMingle.com (NYSEMKT:LOV)

If Match.com doesn’t offer enough of a specialized experience, JDate.com and ChristianMingle.com can step into the void. These two niche online dating website belong to the same parent company: Spark Networks. Spark Networks is made up of four main segments: Jewish networks, of which JDate.com is a part; Christian networks, which encompasses Christian Mingle.com; other networks, including Spark.com; and offline and other businesses. The company has a market cap of 99.94 million, and shares are currently trading for $3.90.

3. The one for everyone: PlentyofFish.com

PlentyofFish is a more broad online dating experience, and its strength lies in numbers. With over 3 million active daily users, the website bills itself as the largest dating site. PlentyofFish.com is also popular because it is entirely free. Unlike other websites that charge an upfront fee or require an ongoing subscription, this website is entirely open to anybody who might like to join. The website was in the news this summer, as it was acquired by the Match Group for $575 million, and interested investors can gain a stake in PlentyofFish.com via that company.

4. The hookup app: Tinder

Tinder has made a name for itself as the hookup app for online dating. Its unique swiping interface (users swipe right to convey interest and left to convey disinterest) and geographical features (it is possible to see which other online users are in close proximity) have made it a favorite for young singles. It will come as no surprise that this app is owned by the online dating monolith Match Group, and again, interested investors can gain a stake in Tinder via that company.

5. The wildcard: Jiayuan.com (NASDAQ:DATE)

While the online dating industry is dominated by these immediately recognizable brands, there are numerous small-cap companies worth looking into. While they don’t have the name brand status of Match.com or ChristianMingle.com, these companies might still provide a big payoff. Jiayuan.com International is one such example. This Chinese online dating platform functions in three segments: online services, personalized matchmaking services and events and other services. The company has a market cap of $231.01 million and is currently trading at $6.90.
 
Securities Disclosure: I, Morag McGreevey, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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