PALO ALTO, Calif. – April 3, 2007
Business 2.0, the Time Inc. publication that covers entrepreneurs and new business trends, has published an extensive profile of Various, Inc. and its founder, Andrew Conru that promises to be one of the best-read articles in the April issue which is on sale now.
Charting the career path of Mr. Conru, writer Joel Stein reports that he now "owns 27 sites under an umbrella company called Various, controlling twice as much online dating traffic as better-known rivals Match.com and Yahoo Personals. But his clients tend to be much more fun. That's because most of them post pictures in which they're having sex. When you’ve already seen your date naked, it's a lot easier to focus on what she’s saying."
Business 2.0 explains how the popular Various, Inc. site AdultFriendFinder.com got started and notes that "with more than 35 million visits in 2006 and 75,000 new users registering each day, AFF ranks among the 100 most popular sites in the United States...so mainstream that a joke about it appeared in the Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore romantic comedy 'Because I said So.'"
The article also charts the friendship and eventual partnership between Mr. Conru and "Legendary Lars" Mapstead, noting that "Mapstead also generates many of the ideas for new ventures. 'Every time he comes up with something, I start thinking, 'How much work is this going to be?' Conru says. 'There are times I tell Lars not to come up with any more. It's like he's beating me up with ideas.'" A caption under a photo of Legendary Lars wearing a long zebra-patterned cloak and a ski mask reads: "Eccentric No. 2: Conru first hired 'Legendary Lars' Mapstead as an $11-an-hour coder. Now he’s a co-owner who drives new ventures."
Not surprisingly, Business 2.0 focuses on the metrics of the business, but notes that "the 24 million users from 195 countries (116,000 members in China thus far) are real people, not actresses or models, and many are 40 or older."
One reason for the success of the Various, Inc. sites is that Mr. Conru "found he could build a community through exclusion. Most other social-networking sites, from Match.com and eHarmony to MySpace and YouTube, are based on the assumption that the site that amasses the most users wins. Conru, on the other hand, believed that people would pay more to be part of a small group of like-minded souls." Also, Stein points out, Various has avoided the need for extensive start up capital by relying on affiliate marketing to build traffic and the company "now has more than 500,000 affiliates."
About Various, Inc.
Palo Alto-based Various, Inc. is the trend-setter in the online personals sector, distinguished by its creative marketing programs and technological innovation. The company’s staff of more than 200 has developed dozens of owned and operated sites as well as popular co-branded partner sites. Its holdings include Friendfinder California Inc., a group of multicultural and multilingual dating, social networking and personals websites; AdultFriendFinder.com and similar venues for more intimate social networking such as Passion.com, alt.com and outpersonals.com; and Streamray. Inc., with its popular video chat site Cams.com. For more information visit www.friendfinderinc.com.