Jilted in the U.S., a Site Finds Love in India
"IN 2008, three young guys in Manhattan started Ignighter.com, a dating Web site focused on twentysomethings. They sought to set themselves apart by enabling members to set up group dates: One member, serving as a point person, could arrange a date — a movie, say, or a picnic in Central Park — with a group of other people and thereby take some of the awkward edge off of typical dates."
“In January 2010, we made the decision that we are an Indian dating site,” Mr. Sachs says. And now, with almost two million users — and 7,000 more signing up daily — Ignighter is considered India’s fastest-growing dating Web site.
"To put it another way, it gets as many users in a week in India as it did in a year in the United States. Next month, Ignighter will open an office in India and hire a dozen local employees. The company has stopped developing its American site, though it remains online.
"Ignighter, unlike the matrimonial sites, puts socializing and dating directly into the hands of young people. On most of the matrimonial sites, there’s a drop-down menu for “profile created for” — which includes son, daughter, brother, sister, relative or self. When it comes to Ignighter, “as far as we know, there are not a lot of parents on our site,” Mr. Sachs said.
Matrimonial sites thrive in India. Shaadi.com and others like Jeevansathi.com and Bharat Matrimony all have millions of users. The online matrimonial industry in India is estimated to generate $63 million a year in revenue and has tens of millions of registrants, according to EmPower Research, a market research firm.
“Dating sites have not succeeded in India,” says Gaurav Mishra of the MSL Group, a division of the marketing company Publicis Groupe. “It’s either been social networking sites or matrimonial sites.” Traditional dating sites, like Match.com, haven’t taken off in India. "