Dating sites launch sweepstakes to gain members before Valentine's Day

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Dating sites Date.com, Matchmaker.com and Amor.com have launched a pre-Valentine's Day campaign, partnering with Internet celebrity and philologist Marina Orlova to give registrants the chance to win a date with the Web celebrity.

Meir Strahlberg, CEO of Avalanche LLC, the holding company that operates the three sites, said the campaign's main objective is to attract new consumers. However, he added that it also aims to show current members that the sites aren't static and “that there are still interesting things you can participate in whether you're a member or not.”

The company is promoting the sweepstakes on Avalanche's home pages, Orlova's site, www.hotforwords.com, e-mails to Avalanche's and Orlova's databases, YouTube videos and Twitter. It is also placing banner ads on a number of networks, utilizing SEO and featuring different landing pages for members and non-members.

Orlova's YouTube channel has more than 295,000 subscribers worldwide. “She was a good fit for the campaign because she has so many followers, she's attractive and single — a good tie in for what our brand is about,” Strahlberg said.

The target audience is US men ages 30 to 40, but women are also allowed to enter the sweepstakes. Strahlberg said he believes the contest will garner more than 10,000 entries.

To enter the contest, users must register on one of the three sites. Registration requirements include e-mail, birth date, location and other qualities, including religion, ethnicity, income, height and weight.

Once on the site, users can browse other members by location, age and keyword. They also can choose to subscribe if another member shows interest in them.

Whether consumers become paid members or not, the site will send them two to three e-mails per week showing potential matches to look over. “It's more of a soft sell than a hard sell,” Strahlberg noted. “We give them suggestions and wait for them to make the first move.”

In addition to helping users in their quest for love, the company also uses the data points to attract advertisers to the site.

“If an advertiser or brand wants to reach men in a certain geographic area or of a certain age, they can,” he explained.

Strahlberg added that Avalanche also shares user data with other sites for cross-promotion and lead generation. He gave the example of a person identifying himself as a Christian.

“We're working with a Christian dating site so that with a click, the user could join both sites simultaneously,” he said. “We hope to eventually have a reciprocal buying and selling of leads.”

The three dating sites add over 100,000 combined members each month, according to Strahlberg. Their biggest audience is in the US, but they also have membership in the UK, Canada, Germany and Brazil. The sites are available in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and German.

Launched January 4, the contest will run until February 7, when the winner is chosen. That person will be flown to Las Vegas, NV for a date with Orlova on Valentines Day.

All campaign elements were developed in-house.

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