16 April, 2013

Insights from the Commercial team: WooWise

We’re quickly approaching our first anniversary since purchasing WooWise, the umbrella company behind dating brand Smooch.com, and what a year it’s been!

Over the past year, Global Personals and WooWise have worked closely to further build upon Smooch.com’s sturdy foundation as one of the UK’s largest free dating sites. Global Personals now looks after the entire acquisition strategy, email marketing and product development for Smooch.com and ManCentral.com - WooWise’ two key brands.

Having spent so long working with dating sites that operate on a paid subscription model, collaborating with the team at Smooch.com has been a real eye opener. Myself and the rest of the team have developed a real understanding of what goes into making a great ‘freemium’ dating site.

Smooch.com is a freemium site. That means that the dating site is free, but offers a premium service which members can pay for; additional ‘paid for’ services include an advert free version of the site and access to VIP Listings.

Smooch.com has a stand alone customer care team who moderate photos, profiles and messages, as well as supporting members with any other queries they may have, in much the same way as the Global Personals customer care team - to ensure that members have a safe and fun experience. Smooch.com and associated sites operate from their own servers and web services, separate to the Global Personals network.

The Smooch.com team have worked really hard to develop a number of different revenue channels and are always looking for new and inventive ways to further expand the business. Over the past year, the Global Personals WooWise team have focused on enhancing Smooch.com revenues with the following strategies:

Cross Registration

Launching additional branded sites on a premium platform enabled us to offer Smooch.com members a new and different experience.  Creating alternative niche sites, catering better to members’ personal tastes, allowed us to segment our main database and market the alternative sites to the right people. The latest of these sites is SeniorSmooch.com, targeting a more mature audience; the site has seen a strong start since its March launch.

Advertising

Using our existing knowledge of online advertising, the Global Personals team were able to improve Smooch.com advertising revenue by leveraging our current relationships to increase the freemium brand’s eCPMs, whilst implementing new ad placements.

Lead Generation

We’ve introduced new Smooch.com products including Psychics, Bingo and Voice Profiles. These are continually being developed and are fast becoming key contributors to the Smooch.com success story.

The next big milestone for Smooch will be the redevelopment of the entire platform. This will make it easier to introduce new user-focused features in order to help members find each other even more easily. This redevelopment not only touches the functionality of the site, but also sees an updated design for the brand.

Work is well under way on this project which is on schedule to launch this summer, so watch this space!

Ben Hitchens, Head of Innovation

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