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The world’s largest and most successful Jewish matchmaking website JDate is up for sale. This according to a report in The New York Post. The Internet service for Jewish singles is currently owned by Spark Networks, which also owns ChristianMingle.com, SilverSingles and CatholicMingle.
Spark delayed its annual shareholder meeting last week as its largest investor, Osmium, is attempting to increase its representation on the company’s board. Osmium, which holds 14.2% of Spark’s stock, is unhappy with Spark’s spending of $120 million on a marketing campaign for JDate’s sister site ChristianMingle, while neglecting the more profitable Jewish web site.
Sparks wanted to delay the meeting until August, but Osmium demurred and so Sparks settled for only a ten day deferment.
In a statement Sparks said “We are currently in discussions with the interested parties regarding the Company’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and intend to make a statement following the resolution of these discussions.”
JDate’s revenues for the first quarter declined to their lowest level since 2006 as its subscribers also declined to 2006 levels. All dating web sites are suffering from competition of new dating apps which can be more easily used on mobile devices.
Spark’s stock has plummeted 14.5% so far this year and a total of 35% over the last 12 months.
At the end of May, JDate tried to spice things up on its mobile website by offering a secret admirer feature as part of its overhaul of the site. Its new 2.0 version also includes enhanced search capabilities and a new design.
Secret Admirer is a game where users can secretly find out if the person that they like also likes them. As members search for a mate they are given recommendations for people who might interest them. If they like someone then a user can send this person an anonymous e mail, which includes a number of profiles in addition to the one of the sender. If the recipient also “likes” the sender then JDate will introduce the two.
Greg Liberman, the CEO of Spark Networks, said at the time, “The new JDate mobile site enables JDaters to connect with one another and the community like never before. Our goal has always been to provide JDate members with the tools to meet others who share their culture, values and interests, and our new, easy-to-navigate mobile site puts best-in-class tools, quite literally, right at our members’ fingertips.”
JDate has more than 750, 000 members worldwide and takes credit for having arranged more Jewish marriages than all other websites combined. It was established in a West Los Angeles condominium in 1997.
The website declares that its mission is to strengthen the Jewish community and ensure that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come. To accomplish this it provides a global network where Jewish singles find friendship, romance and life-long partners within their faith.
While basic membership is free, premium memberships are sold which allow users to contact more people through the site.
Spark Networks owns and operates more than 30 niche-focused online properties, including more than 20 personals sites such as JDate.com, ChristianMingle.com, SilverSingles.com and BlackSingles.com.
The company says its mission is to create iconic, niche-focused brands that build and strengthen the communities they serve.