The sexiest business in the world is not the music business, despite EMI’s $400,000 coke and hookers budget. It’s not Google or Goldman Sachs, though those are probably No. 2 and No. 3. It might be Craigslist, but Craigslist doesn’t publish its bottom line. (By the way, here’s why Craigslist sucks)
In business, sexy = productive, so the sexiest business in the world would seem to be dating site Plenty of Fish.
The key stats? Per today’s New York Times update, two employees, one of which claims to only work 10 hours a week, and $10 million in profit. That’s a $5 million contribution per employee to the bottom line.
(There are plenty of service businesses in which key rainmakers pull in more than this, but they usually have a big support staff. OK, screw it, there are no doubt hedge funds where the per-employee contribution is probably in the $100s of millions. So let’s limit the superlative to “Sexiest Internet Business”).
Plenty of Fish’s secrets to success?
- Free site in a business dominated by subscription sites
- User-generated content (personals)
- User-generated editing (users scan 50,000 photos a day to eliminate nudity, bestiality, etc.)
- Almost no attention to design or other expensive but largely irrelevant details (founder Marcus Frind deems such things “trivial” details that don’t bother users)
- Purge 30% of users per month for being inactive (this is critical: other free dating sites–and even some subscription sites–suffer because they are littered with garbage listings)
- Delete spam and scams (also critical)
Put all that together, and you get 600,000 registered users and 1.2 billion pageviews in December (and a 20% increase above that in the two weeks since).
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