Here are 3 people profiting from the business of love

Feb 13, 2015

Three guests on this week’s Fortune Live — a weekly show about business hosted by Fortune's Leigh Gallagher — explained how Valentine's Day is an opportunity to turn a big profit.

Appearing on the "Business of Love" panel were:

Michelle Chin, VP of Marketing for Godiva in North America.

Clifford Lerner, CEO of SNAP Interactive, which recently unveiled The Grade dating app.

—Matchmaker-turned-app creator Samantha Daniels, who recently launched The Dating Lounge for high-end customers looking to find love.

Valentine's Day is, of course, is a make-or-break period for all three — a time that sees shoppers craving chocolate and singles hoping to find a partner.

For Daniels, creating an app was a no-brainer, given her 15 years in the love business. She's the first traditional matchmaker to make one, too.

"During that time I have accumulated a lot of dating intel," she said on the panel. "More recently, I've been hearing a lot of disappointment for the apps that are on the market. I thought to myself, I'm perfectly positioned to tailor make an app that works for high-end, busy, successful professionals like my clients."

That's how The Dating Lounge began.

Lerner, meanwhile, has an app of his own: The Grade. He describes it as a "pretty provocative concept" geared toward empowering women to date, while clamping down on the men (or women) who act naughty.

After talking to users over the last few months, Lerner (like Daniels) said many singles are dissatisfied with the available offering dating app offerings.

"You have to be responsible for your behavior," he said. If users are inarticulate, hostile to each other, ask for nude photos or are unresponsive on The Grade, they get booted, he added. At this point, about 10% of users have an F, according to Lerner. Those users are given tips on how to improve their behavior. If they don't, they're ousted.

"We're the first app that truly holds users accountable for their behavior," he said.

More dating apps mean higher chocolate sales, according to Chin from Godiva. The week leading to Valentine's Day is huge for Godiva's business, she said. It's like the company's "Super Bowl.”

And as the business of dating apps continues to gain in popularity, Lerner offered his views on an important trend he's seeing.

"In dating, women kind of run the show. If you build a product and feature set that makes women happy, the men will follow," he explained.

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