People Media is a niche online dating service. As ranked by comScore Media Metrix People Media operates 6 of the top 50 ranked personals websites including BlackPeopleMeet.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com, SingleParentMeet.com, and BBPeopleMeet.com. With $11.6 million of EBITDA in 2008 and 255,000 paying members, People Media is atop the niche or targeted segment of the online dating industry.
People Media is owned by Match.com, an operating company of IAC. Match.com announced on July 7, 2009, the acquisition of People Media from American Capital Ltd for $80 million in cash. This coupled the leading company in the targeted dating space, People Media, with the leading company in the general dating space, Match.com.
Prior to Match.com’s acquisition, PeopleMedia was the top performing company in American Capital’s portfolio. The investment firm purchased People Media from the company’s entrepreneurial founders in May 2007. Attracted by a highly scalable business model, a diversified group of targeted dating sites and strong performance relative to its peers, American Capital invested $56 million in People Media during May 2007. Concurrently, the American Capital Technology Group worked closely with People Media, improving infrastructure and controls, building a senior management team, including former Yahoo! executive Joshua Meyers as CEO, and launching strong partnerships such as the one with AOL Personals and Radio Date with the Steve Harvey Morning Show.
In the beginning People Media, formerly known as Zencon Technologies LLC, was formed by two entrepreneurs based in Chandler, Arizona. In 2002 BlackPeopleMeet.com was launched, marking the first of several targeted dating sites. The entrepreneurs behind Zencon Technologies LLC created additional sites when they realized they were attracting members to sign up without doing any marketing.
PeopleMedia powers AOL Personals boutique dating verticals. Participating sites are: BlackPeopleMeet.com, CatholicPeopleMeet.com, JPeopleMeet.com, LoveAndSeek.com (Christian Personals), SeniorPeopleMeet.com, and SingleParentmeet.com.
The Steve Harvey Morning Show and BlackPeopleMeet.com began Radio Date in January 2009. Radio Date offers black singles a chance to be featured on The Steve Harvey Morning Show and win a date with a potential match from BlackPeopleMeet.com. As of August 12, 2009, 14 dates occurred with 9 dates producing successful matches.
People Media completed the redesign of all niche online dating properties they operate in June 2009.
Over two million unique visitors went to People Media sites in June 2009 (comScore June 2009).
Originally filed in October 2007, People Media stood accused of patent infringement by Data Match Enterprises. According to the complaint the infringed patent, titled “System for regulating access to data base for purposes of data base management” relates to how database management systems make it possible to access databases and expand them on an ongoing basis. For online dating this can relate to how a user’s search queries based on certain criteria such as location, occupation, relationship preference, are then compiled to provide the user with matches to their search critiera. Ultimately People Media was dismissed from this suit.
Consumers have levied criticism regarding People Media’s policy of automatic membership renewal via automatic credit card and e-check billing. Per the Terms and Conditions of the sites the customer must specifically cancel the service.
Known as a Romance scam, someone posing as a potential love match contacts members on a dating site and employs various methods to defraud members. Members who are targets of romance scams have organized online and often attribute blame to the site. To rebut fraud People Media sites reserve the right to “block current members, former members, or certain IP addresses from accessing the website or the services.”