Mindy Ginsberg has had an interesting first year as CEO of Match Group, the $11 billion dating empire which owns Tinder, OkCupid, and Match.com, and a handful of other sites.
In March, her second month as CEO, the company filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a district court in Texas, alleging that competitor Bumble infringed on two Tinder patents, one of which involves the “swipe” technology that Tinder has made famous. Bumble counter-sued, triggering a very public battle between the two companies.
Then, in May, Facebook announced that it was entering the dating marketplace, triggering a 20% one-day drop in Match Group’s share price.
“Are you suggesting that drama follows me?” she asked, drawing guffaws at Fortune’s Brain Storm TECH conference in Aspen, Colo.
Ginsberg recalled the moment she learned that a new competitor had entered the dating arena. She had just finished preparing remarks for an earnings call, when her phone began blowing up with the news. “The stock started dropping a dollar a minute,” she recalled. “I just threw all [my prepared remarks] away and started over.”
Despite the market’s response, Ginsberg remains sanguine about the development.
Ginsberg feels confident that the mostly young love-seekers, who use the now five-year-old Tinder, don’t want to be dating on the same platform where their parents hang out. Until last year, Tinder users signed up through Facebook Connect. But in 2017, the company launched an option to sign up via text. “Seventy five percent of people used the text option, opting to separate their Facebook life from their dating life,” she says.
Also, Ginsberg says, serious daters know this is a volume game. “When you really want to get out there and meet someone, you’re usually on more than one [app], usually three,” she says. Facebook has always been an implicit dating site, re-connecting old sweethearts and allowing friends of friends to meet. “While I’d never underestimate Facebook, we focus on just one thing.”
And that one thing means deeply studying the behaviors of people who use the sites, and responding to whom they actually respond to, not necessarily who they say they’re looking for. Some 20 years ago, she says, she went looking for love online. “When I was online dating I thought I wanted to meet a tall Jewish guy, but I ended up marrying a short Indian guy,” she says. “You just never know.”