Tinder adds sexual orientation and gender identity to its profiles

Tinder is adding information about sexual orientation and gender identity to its profiles.

The company worked with the LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD on changes to its dating app to make it more inclusive.

Users who want to edit or add more information about their sexual orientation can now simply edit their profile. When a Tinder user taps on the “orientation” selection they can choose up to three terms that describe their sexual orientation. Those descriptions can either be private or public, but will likely be used to inform matches on the app.

Tinder has also updated the onboarding experience for new users so that they can include their sexual orientation as soon as they sign up for the dating app.

Tinder is also giving users more control over how they order matches. In the “Discovery Preferences” field Tinderers can choose to see people of the same orientation first.

The company said this is a first step in its efforts to be more inclusive. The company will continue to work with GLAAD to refine its products and is making the new features available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Ireland, India, Australia and New Zealand throughout June.

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Match Group restructures exec team with focus on Asia

Tinder parent company Match Group, also the owner of a suite of dating apps including OkCupid, Meetic, Match, PlentyofFish and others, announced this morning plans to restructure its leadership team in order to better focus on the market opportunities for dating apps in Asia. Specifically, the company has appointed three new general managers in Asia to focus on areas like Japan, Taiwan, India, South Korea and other parts of Southeast Asia.

The company explains its decision has to do with the potential it sees for growth outside the U.S. and Europe, where there are more than 400 million singles, two-thirds who have not yet tried a dating app.

One of the new GMs is Tokyo-based Junya Ishibashi, who has been CEO of Match Group’s Eureka business in Japan. He now becomes the general manager of Match Group for Japan and Taiwan.

Taru Kapoor, who’s based in Delhi, will be GM of Match Group India. And Seoul-based Lyla Seo, who previously served as regional director of East Asia for Tinder, is now GM of Match Group for South Korea and Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Alexandre Lubot, who has served as both CEO of Meetic and CEO of Match Group EMEA & APAC since 2016, will remain CEO of Match Group EMEA & APAC. He will oversee the brands across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with the three general managers reporting directly to him.

Meetic, which is Match Group’s European dating app, will now be overseen by Matthieu Jacquier, who has worked as a CPO with the company for a year. Alongside Jacquier, Elisabeth Peyraube will now take on a new role of COO & CFO of Match Group EMEA & APAC.

While Match Group plans for growth across Asia, India has been of particular importance, especially as rival dating app Bumble entered the country last year, where it tapped actress, celebrity and Bumble investor Priyanka Chopra to advise its expansion.

Tinder has also tried to cater to its Indian users with the more recent launches of expanded gender options in its app, and the Bumble-like “My Move” feature, which allows the women to chat first.

However, Tinder’s strategy in India needs to differ from here in the U.S. where it’s now promoting the young, carefree and often less relationship-focused “single lifestyle.” In India (as well as in China and other markets), dating apps today still face challenges due to cultural norms. That’s led to an unbalanced ratio between men and women using the apps in India, a report from The Wall Street Journal found. And when women join, they’re overwhelmed by the attention they receive, as a result.

These issues will require Tinder to adapt everything from its marketing and advertising messages to even its product features in order to better cater to its Indian users. And it requires someone who fully understands the market to lead.

“Taru was originally hired to grow Tinder in India, but a little more than a year ago we increased her responsibilities to oversee the growth of other Match Group products in the country,” said Mandy Ginsberg, Match Group CEO, in a statement about the leadership restructuring. “During that time Tinder has become a big brand in India, but Taru also has meaningfully grown OkCupid’s user base in India over the last six months due to her keen understanding of the market and culture. Her success is a template for how we can approach these emerging Asian markets, particularly when we have stellar talent on the ground that understands the cultural, regulatory and market dynamics at play,” she added.

In Korea, Match Group credits Seo with executing Tinder’s first-ever TV ad campaign, which helped increase downloads in Korea 2.5x from 2016 to 2018.

The company also says Ishibashi more than doubled Pairs’ revenue in Japan since its acquisition in 2015.

Both executives will oversee other Match Group brands in their respective markets as part of their new responsibilities.

Match Group has been growing its footprint in the Asian market for some time. On its Q4 2018 earnings call in February, the company noted it already had teams in around half a dozen key countries throughout Asia focused on its marketing programs and developing the cultural insight it needed to succeed in those regions.

Ginsberg now says she would like to see a quarter of Match Group’s revenue coming from Asia within five years.

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Vimeo has acquired short-form video creation platform Magisto

Vimeo, the IAC-owned platform for hosting, sharing and monetizing streamed video, has made an acquisition to expand into providing more creation and editing tools. The company has acquired Magisto, a startup founded in Israel that currently has over 100 million users that focuses on providing tools to create and edit short-form videos, providing not just editing but sourcing of music, stock photos and other elements as part of the mix.

Vimeo — which itself has 90 million members in over 150 countries — says that the two will work together “to develop entirely new short-form video creation capabilities for the Vimeo platform, with the goal of helping any individual or business tell their stories with professionalism and ease.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed — but we are trying to find out. Magisto had raised around $23 million since 2010 from a mix of financial and strategic investors. The list includes Magma Venture Parnters, Horizons Ventures, Kreos Capital, Qualcomm, SanDisk and the Mail.Ru Group. Notably, it hadn’t raised any funding since 2014, according to Pitchbook data. The deal is set to close in Q2 of this year.

Magisto has around 75 employees in California and Israel, all of which are coming over with the deal.

The deal underscore’s Vimeo’s strategy to position itself as a one-stop shop for companies or individuals that publish videos online — either as part of publicity campaigns or as the basis of a bigger project. The idea is that this will help Vimeo get bigger margins per customer by providing more services.

In an age some of the most popular services online are streaming media sites like YouTube, broadband connectivity is ubiquitous, and people are always on the go, video has become one of the primary ways that people express themselves, and get the word out.

“Social media has sparked an insatiable demand for video – audiences today expect high-quality video content from every business, regardless of size or budget. But we’ve found that most small businesses don’t have the tools, resources or expertise to meet this increased demand,” said Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo, in a statement. “Magisto’s proprietary technology enables cutting edge mobile apps and AI-powered editing tools which, combined with Vimeo’s scale and unmatched creator community, will empower more people to tell compelling stories through video.”

In addition to developing new tools, Vimeo said that Magisto will be getting a Vimeo integration in order to publish and monetize videos that they create on Magisto currently. 

The two already have a lot of synergy as they both tap the same customer base: smaller customers that are turning to video and online tools to create it to get the word out about themselves, without the big budgets and other pricey resources that larger businesses might have.

“Magisto guides entrepreneurs and small business owners through the video storytelling process, helping them use video effectively to grow their business and engage with audiences,” said Oren Boiman, founder and CEO of Magisto. “We level the playing field so that any business can move fast and compete in today’s video-first world. We’re thrilled to join Vimeo’s industry-leading platform, and to power their vision to make professional quality video creation accessible to all.”

This is Vimeo’s fifth acquisition, according to Crunchbase, and it’s the first in nearly two years, after Vimeo acquired Livestream in September 2017.

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Users complain of account hacks, but OkCupid denies a data breach

It’s bad enough that dating sites are a pit of exaggerations and inevitable disappointment, they’re also a hot target for hackers.

Dating sites aren’t considered the goldmine of personal information like banks or hospitals, but they’re still an intimate part of millions of people’s lives and have long been in the sights of hackers. If the hackers aren’t hitting the back-end database like with the AdultFriendFinder, Ashley Madison, and Zoosk breaches, the hackers are trying break in through the front door with leaked or guessed passwords.

That’s what appears to be happening with some OkCupid accounts.

A reader contacted TechCrunch after his account was hacked. The reader, who did not want to be named, said the hacker broke in and changed his password, locking him out of his account. Worse, they changed his email address on file, preventing him from resetting his password.

OkCupid didn’t send an email to confirm the address change — it just blindly accepted the change.

“Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide any details about accounts not connected to your email address,” said OkCupid’s customer service in response to his complaint, which he forwarded to TechCrunch. Then, the hacker started harassing him strange text messages from his phone number that was lifted from one of his private messages.

It wasn’t an isolated case. We found several cases of people saying their OkCupid account had been hacked.

Another user we spoke to eventually got his account back. “It was quite the battle,” he said. “It was two days of constant damage control until [OkCupid] finally reset the password for me.”

Other users we spoke to had better luck than others in getting their accounts back. One person didn’t bother, he said. Even disabled accounts can be re-enabled if a hacker logs in, some users found.

But several users couldn’t explain how their passwords — unique to OkCupid and not used on any other app or site — were inexplicably obtained.

“There has been no security breach at OkCupid,” said Natalie Sawyer, a spokesperson for OkCupid. “All websites constantly experience account takeover attempts. There has been no increase in account takeovers on OkCupid.”

Even on OkCupid’s own support pages, the company says that account takeovers often happen because someone has an account owner’s login information. “If you use the same password on several different sites or services, then your accounts on all of them have the potential to be taken over if one site has a security breach,” says the support page.

That’s describes credential stuffing, a technique of running a vast lists of usernames and passwords against a website to see if a combination lets the hacker in. The easiest, most effective way against credential stuffing is for the user to use a unique password on each site. For companies like OkCupid, the other effective blocker is by allowing users to switch on two-factor authentication.

When asked how OkCupid plans to prevent account hacks in the future, the spokesperson said the company had “no further comment.”

In fact, when we checked, OkCupid was just one of many major dating sites — like Match, PlentyOfFish, Zoosk, Badoo, JDate, and eHarmony — that didn’t use two-factor authentication at all.

As if dating wasn’t tough enough at the best of times, now you have to defend yourself from hackers, too.

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IAC-owned publishing company Dotdash grew revenue by 44 percent last year

Holding company IAC just released its fourth quarter earnings report, which includes positive numbers for Dotdash, the rebranded company formerly known as About.com — revenue increased 32 percent in the quarter (to $40.2 million), and it was up 44 percent (to $131 million) for the fiscal year.

This comes after big layoff announcements from BuzzFeed, Vice and Verizon Media Group (which owns TechCrunch).

Unlike those companies — and unlike The New York Times, which actually seems to be doing well — Dotdash isn’t really a news publisher. Instead, it focuses on the same kinds of evergreen, informational and how-to content that you used to find on About.com, now divided up across more vertically focused brands like Verywell (health and wellness) and The Spruce (home improvement).

Still, it’s worth highlighting a media business model that seems to be working. IAC attributes the improved financials (adjusted EBITDA was $21.4 million for the year, compared to a loss of $2.8 million in 2017) to “strong advertising growth across several verticals,” as well as affiliate commerce revenue.

Dotdash has a disarmingly simple approach centered on quality content, site speed, and respectful monetization,” said IAC CEO Joey Levin in the letter to shareholders. “The company doesn’t buy traffic nor rely heavily on social networks. Dotdash’s brands simply help people to answer questions, solve problems and find inspiration when they’re searching for answers. Our readers come with specific intent, enabling us to connect advertisers to consumers based on stated interests using high-performing ads in a safe online environment.”

Levin added that Dotdash properties saw a total of 87 million unique visitors in December, compared to 51 million for About.com before the rebrand and new strategy.

Dotdash is also providing guidance for 2019, predicting revenue growth of 10 percent for the first quarter and 20 percent for the whole year, with adjusted EBITDA of $30 million to $40 million for the year.

Turning to other IAC properties, ANGI Home services (which owns Angie’s List) saw Q4 revenue increase 25 percent to $279 million, while Vimeo’s revenue increased 28 percent to $44.2 million.

In total, IAC brought in $1.10 billion in revenue for the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 16 percent, and beating analyst estimates of $1.07 billion. Adjusted EBITDA increased 40 percent, to $268 million.

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