With the arrival of the Internet, everything changed with it. In the Internet era, meeting becomes easy and users are rapidly gathered. Ai Media Consulting data shows that by 2020, the number of users of stranger social networking on the Internet in China is expected to reach 648 million.
Everything about the marriageable age group is changing all the time. From the post-80s and post-90s who were worried about marriage and hated it, to today, the Z generation has taken the “stage” of the dating market; from the first generation of dating platforms, such as Jiayuan and Baihe, to Stranger, Tan Tan and other platforms that focus on the social value of the face, to Soul and Uki, which avoid showing their faces and focus more on the inner social aspects of the three views, personality and hobbies, generations of Marriage matching and dating “products” have changed greatly, echoing the changing view of young people on marriage, but the underlying logic has never changed – socializing is still the “medicine” for young people to relieve loneliness. “But the underlying logic has never changed – social interaction is still a good medicine for young people to relieve loneliness.
Not only the startups, but also the giants of Tencent and Ali, are not willing to let go of this stable and huge “flow pool”.
When the social dating has become a business, and has even derived a subdivision track, those young people who hope to find “soul mates” have become a part of the vast flow army in the flood of Internet business.
Soul, the so-called “soul” social networking, recently filed a prospectus on Nasdaq. In its nearly 10 million average daily active users, more than 70% are post-90s and Generation Z. You are looking for your soulmate (soul mate) in Soul, but it takes the rolling traffic to the capital market to find money. Love, do not distinguish between real and fake, so “cash”.
A. The new position of “social fear” of the Z generation
Hang Hang (a pseudonym)’s WeChat group was just built less than two weeks ago and already has more than 400 people. This WeChat group is a dating group that bases in Beijing colleges and universities and radiates to college students in North China, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The group is built up, a few people pull their sisters, a radiation out, soon the group is almost full.
The Daily Economic News reporter added the group, browsed the notes of the group members, found that the members of the birth year concentrated in 1993 to 1997.
“Our group also has a few friends who work, the largest is 91 years.” Hang Hang told reporters. The reporter randomly added a number of members of the group WeChat, communication after understanding that the post-90s, especially the Z generation of young people, the “single” thing is more concerned about the “love dating” focus is actually “dating The focus of “dating” is actually on “making friends”, and only after that is “falling in love”. Most of the interviewees said that they chose to join the group mainly because of the advantages of “information security”, “no embarrassment” and “high matchability”.
Hang Hang established this WeChat group originally to expand her dating range and find herself a date. Now, one of her active group atmosphere trick is that every night at 8:00, the administrator will “catch” the guest of the day’s self-introduction sent to the group, interested group of friends can private poke the administrator, exchanging photos and self-introduction, if you think it is appropriate, the administrator will push the girl’s WeChat to the boy, romance, may start here.
A month later, Hang Hang’s dating group 1 was full, and group 2 was already over 100 people.
According to Bida Consulting, in 2020, 67% of dating users are single because they “haven’t met the right person”, while many users are single because they “lack friends of the opposite sex in a small social circle” and “lack of social activities at home”.
Generation Z is more or less “socially afraid”, so they have different ways of making friends. As Internet natives, they are more used to making new friends and expanding their social circle through online communication. A 98-year-old male group member, Xiao Zhang, told reporters that he was pulled into the group by a friend. His own social circle is very limited, online dating solved his “and nerdy and not very good at social” problem, “we first online to establish contact, and then meet again will not be awkward, ‘social fear’ symptoms will be better. ” He said.
In response to the current social situation of contemporary young people, Peng Xiaohui, a professor at the College of Life Sciences of Central China Normal University, analyzed from a psychological point of view to the Daily Economic News: “When communicating with strangers online, it can stimulate fantasy, while meeting their own spiritual needs to a greater extent. At the same time, the process of communicating with strangers can make people more willing to reveal their hearts, which will also make the communication smoother.” This is perhaps the fundamental reason why strangers online social can fire.
Peng Xiaohui believes that after the development of the Internet and communication technology, time and space has “shrunk”. “The development of technical conditions has made socializing no longer constrained by time and space, and socializing with strangers has become more convenient. For Internet natives Generation Z, online socializing is already a necessity in their lives.” Peng Xiaohui said.
The surging demand has long been perceived by the market. Many social networking platforms have smelled the changing demand for relationship socialization led by Generation Z. Online relationship social platforms have replaced the initial generation of dating sites and started to capture the market. Compared with the traditional dating platform, this kind of social group established by the young people now, the perspective of the needs of young people, weakened the purpose of “dating”, amplify the social attributes, “flow plate” is rapidly growing.
New forces are emerging. Recently, the topic of online dating for young people has been pushed to the forefront by Soul, which is called “soul” social, and has filed a prospectus on Nasdaq. The prospectus shows that as of November 2020, 74.5% of Soul’s average daily users are post-90s.
In the first nine months of 2020, Soul’s average daily activity was 5.3 million, up 65.6% from an average of 3.2 million in the first nine months of 2019, according to the prospectus. in January 2021, Soul’s average daily activity reached 8.1 million and its monthly activity was 30.8 million.
“The new social platform that brings young people together out of interest firstly solves the problem of how to build trust between strangers online, and in the process, people show more of their ‘selves’, communicate more openly and are more willing to express their true selves, which is one of the reasons why young people love online social This is one of the reasons why young people love online social platforms. At the same time, this also lays a certain foundation for the ‘Ben present’ afterwards.” Peng Xiaohui said.
Second, the first generation of dating sites waned, the rise of new social platforms
In 2010, Shanghai’s post-70s Zhang Lu (a pseudonym) met his wife, who lives in Yantai, Shandong Province, on a dating site, and 10 years later, the two still love each other as before.
“When I first went on the dating site, I went with the intention of getting married. I selected the ‘object of my choice’ on the site, but also very seriously to understand, will not talk about several people at the same time.” Zhang Lu told the Daily Economic News. He believes that it was easier to find a partner on dating sites 10 years ago, when men and women were more serious in their attitudes and the online dating method continued the tradition.
Zhang Lu recalled that he spent a total of less than 200 yuan on the dating platform back then, “when you need to spend money when looking at the woman’s profile, after formally establishing contact, you don’t need the platform, so you don’t need to spend much money.”
In his opinion, from the process and wording, the dating site at that time, indeed, is to reach marriage for the purpose; now the dating app has spawned a new way of dating, but “not very down-to-earth, it feels more for the flow.”
In Zhang Lu’s dating days, it was the heyday of old dating platforms like CenturyLink and Baihe.com. They have had their moment of glory, but after several years of fighting in the capital market, they left the field in disgrace.
In 2011, Century Jiyuan, established 8 years ago, rang the bell on NASDAQ, creating the first storm of domestic dating platforms in the capital market; in November 2015, Lily.com was listed on the New Third Board, becoming the “first share of domestic dating”; on December 8 of the same year, Century Jiyuan announced a merger agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Lily.com. On December 8 of the same year, CenturyLink announced a merger agreement with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lily.com. After the completion of the transaction, Century Jiyuan was privatized and officially delisted from Nasdaq; in 2018, Lily Jiyuan’s net loss exceeded 80 million yuan; at the end of October 2019, Lily Jiyuan applied for delisting; in 2019, Lily Jiyuan also failed to turn around its losses.
What led to the fading halo of the scenic primitive dating site?
In addition to the changing needs of young people’s dating, Internet analyst Zhang Shule analyzed the difference between stranger social software and the first generation of dating sites to the Daily Economic News, “In the era without mobile Internet, the PC side only has a simple positioning, and can only carry out pan-regional social, Century Jiayuan is a community-level pan-regional dating, positioning in Beijing as well, but may be one or two hours away. CenturyLink is a community-level pan-regional dating, which is also located in Beijing, but may be an hour or two away.”
According to Zhang Shule, the arrival of the mobile Internet has changed all this, with real-time docking, matching nearby, and the ability to respond online at the same time, shortening the time gap.
Technology has changed the way of communication, and spiritual needs are still surging. Pang says that no matter what generation, “revealing your heart to a stranger is a relaxation.”
Although based on the same kind of demand, CenturyLink, Baihe.com and Soul show obvious differences.
Jiang Han, a senior researcher at Pangu Intelligence, told the Daily Economic News that, strictly speaking, Soul is not the same species as CenturyLink, “The purpose of Lily.com and CenturyLink is very obvious, which is a complete marriage website, while Soul is more focused on stranger social, or interest social, marriage is not necessarily its purpose. The way to get traffic is also very different.”
The emerging social platform for “three views” fit, “have feelings” and other young people care more about the needs of the point, which can be in the context of enhancing the social function, leading to more marriage.
“Soul is not a tool product, today’s society, everyone gets to talk is a social need, which is why its users are more viscous.” Jiang Han said.
Similar platforms are popping up all the time. On the market today, there are “Strange Flower HIMMR”, which strictly screens education, occupation, age and other dimensions and provides dating opportunities for people from universities such as 985 and 211; there are also dating platforms that focus on the “authenticity” of dating and mainly focus on online videos. There are also online video dating platforms such as “Yi Pair” and “Light Sweet” that focus on the “real” nature of dating.
These platforms based on the Z generation love, social needs and the emergence of a huge potential, the impact of the Internet dating market trend.
Third, the big factory stupid capital to raise the bet, stranger social ushered in the wind?
Capital has long been moved by the wind, frequently betting on new dating platforms.
Soul Shareholder Information
Image source: Soul prospectus
The company’s prospectus shows that Tencent has the highest shareholding among Soul’s investor shareholders. 33.2% of Soul’s management held shares before the IPO, while ImageFrameInvestment (HK), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent, was the largest external shareholder, with 49.9% of shares.
In December 2020, Tencent launched a new social product “Go Chat”, which is another social product released in more than a year, following Light Chat, You Ji, Huan Yu, Friends, Cat Hoo, Echo, Light Edge, Light Encounter and Hood.
In March of the same year, Taobao launched a new version of “matchmaking business cards”, adding love declarations and chance encounters to test the waters of stranger social networking.
Since November 2020, Internet majors such as Byte Jump and Baidu have been laying out their dating business.
Traditional matchmaking platforms are also sitting still. The matchmaking platform Century Goodwill, a member of the Lily Goodwill Group, fully laid out video matchmaking in 2020, introducing video matchmaking and live streaming of red maids one after another; at the end of 2019, Zhenai.com launched “National Tide Matchmaking” to cater to the preferences of Generation Z, creating a new dating game.
Other new platforms have also received “capital gifts” one after another. The video dating platform “Yi pair” for the sinking market has 40 million daily activities in two years, and completed its B round of financing in June 2020, with People’s Network Cultural Industry Fund, Xiaomi and other institutions in the list. Previously, in the A+ round of ten million yuan financing, the director of the investor, Lanchi Ventures, Yu Gengliang, has publicly said that the sinking dating market is a fertile ground for abundant traffic. Information shows that at present, I pair of registered users amounted to 100 million, more than 40,000 active red maids, about 10 million dating and matchmaking activities summarized each month, and annual revenue of more than 2 billion.
Soul revenue and net profit figures
Image source: Soul prospectus
With Soul starting its IPO journey, it seems that the long-laid out track of stranger social networking is on the eve of an explosion. However, a closer look at Soul’s prospectus reveals that it is far from reaching profitability. The prospectus shows that in 2019~2020, Soul’s operating income will be 70.7 million yuan and 498 million yuan; however, in the same period, Soul’s net loss will be 300 million yuan and 488 million yuan, and by the first quarter of 2021, the net loss will be 383 million yuan. To date, Soul’s cumulative losses exceed $1 billion.
In terms of cash, Soul said it is in the “early stages” of cash, but its revenue growth is strong. Among them, a large part of the revenue is contributed by membership fees and other value-added services. Its average monthly paid users will grow from 268,900 in 2019 to 929,300 in 2020, and its average monthly user payment rate will grow from 2.3% in 2019 to 4.5% in 2020. In addition, the average monthly revenue per paid user also grows from $21.9 in 2019 to $43.5 in 2020, reaching $48.6 in the first quarter of this year.
According to Jiang Han, the profitability of social platforms needs to win by scale, and there are certain problems with profitability when the scale of the business is not large enough.
“Social is a long term business, and is clearly different from the early days of such tool-like platforms as Baihe.com, which can charge very high membership fees, but for social platforms, the core logic should be how to make themselves do well in long-term sustainable development, so that more and more users, only then, it is possible for quantitative changes to trigger qualitative changes. ” Jiang Chao said.
Fourth, the “new bottle of old wine”, the platform for the flow of urgent “run now”
Everything can be social, and there is even a saying circulating in the circle, “the end of the Internet is a blind date”. Although they are in different industries and have different angles of entering the social track, regardless of the old and new, regardless of the size, Internet companies are rushing to them.
Bida Consulting data show that the market size of China’s Internet dating industry in 2020 is 5.13 billion yuan, is expected to reach 6.84 billion yuan in 2021. From the market scale, the Internet dating market is not large, why in the mobile Internet era, love social has become the “meat and potatoes”?
Cui Lili, executive director of the Institute of E-Commerce Industry at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said in an interview with the Daily Economic News, “As long as we can gather traffic and people, the business model is still largely the same: advertising, e-commerce, value-added services. These are the easiest to cash in on, and the road that has been proven successful countless times. Likewise, these are even more built on the basis of information and data accumulation, the most able to implement the business.”
As Soul’s prospectus shows, Soul’s revenue sources mainly include three parts: value-added services; advertising revenue; and issuance of virtual currency. In addition, Soul also launched a shopping section “Giftmoji” in 2021, starting to enter the “social e-commerce”.
Whether it’s the traditional dating platform that goes for “matchmaking” or the new force that focuses on the concept of social love, getting rid of its own growth dilemma is still a must-answer question. From the perspective of the Internet giants, no matter from which angle to enter the social “gold mine”, the purpose is not just to help users “make friends”.
Soul relies on the high viscosity of users to develop social products for love, which is a way to attract traffic.
“In addition to the universal social platform like WeChat, new social platforms often try to enter from a variety of segments, such as fashion and dressing, dating, soul mate search, etc.. To some extent, in order to more accurately access specific types of users. And no matter what direction they enter from, they are basically targeting the young user group, which is, after all, one of the most valuable user groups in terms of current consumption trends.” Cui Lili added.
Zhang Shule believes that the giant’s prying eyes for social traffic never stop, but there are few successes because the pattern has stabilized. “In social traffic, even Tencent is not easy to grasp, at present, acquaintances social WeChat, QQ, strangers social strangers, Tan Tan, etc., if not to disrupt it, can only go such as Netease cloud music a vertical track.”
Once the industry enters the stage of fierce competition, chaos will be difficult to contain.
Shortly after Soul filed its prospectus, Uki, a stranger social platform, sued Soul for unfair competition, resulting in Soul being frozen 26.93 million yuan. The cause was that Soul “set up” a malicious report on Uki, which led to its being taken down and interviewed by the authorities.
Soul disclosed in its prospectus that “in December 2020, two former employees of our company, including a former director, were convicted of maliciously and falsely posting illegal content on another social content platform without authorization while they were employed by our company. The third-party app was reportedly taken down as a result. We are not liable for negligence in this matter.”
Regardless of how the product format has changed, the problems encountered by Internet social networking have remained the same, and the emerging social power has been equally criticized. In order to attract traffic, the main love social concept of the platform can not escape its predecessors “soft pornography” “false propaganda” and other problems.
According to the reporter’s observation, because of the dating, dating platform is often not strict on the identity of the user audit, coupled with the complexity of social attributes, in the virtual network environment, overbearing terms, induced to pay, forced consumption, untrue services and other phenomena are ubiquitous.
Love and lies are intertwined on the platform.
At the end of June 2019, the State Internet Information Office launched a special rectification action for online audio chaos, with audio platforms spreading historical nihilism and obscene pornographic content, and 26 audio platforms, such as Fun About, Zhenya, Language Play, Accompany Me, Love Cafe and Soul, were punished in accordance with the law and regulations by interviewing, shelving, shutting down services and other step penalties. The reporter noted that the 26 audio platforms punished, the main love social concept is not a few.
Jiang Han believes that all social platforms may be involved in related problems, and in his opinion, the key to the problem is how to make the existence of the platform not to become a contributor to related vicious incidents.
For the Internet giants, the simple diversion has not been able to meet the “appetite”, the competition for user data and the ability to match push through big data may be the key to wrestling.
Some observers have pointed out that both traditional dating sites and new concept platforms that are popular in the capital market, relying on the opacity of information, or even false information, to extract service fees to support their business returns have become very common. Some platforms have changed their business model from the original form of service to finance, lending and other forms, accumulating heavy into a disease.
In response to this, Beijing Yunjia Law Firm deputy director Zhao occupation to the “Daily Economic News” reporter said that the core problem is still the user real name authentication. The dating platform needs to do exactly the real name verification, as for the verification of other information about the user, including property information, work experience information, education information, criminal records, etc. need to be its information interchange with the relevant government departments, the two sides together to build a more comprehensive user identity authentication system. And in the relatively perfect information authentication system, through the sharing, interoperability, and then let the dating platform to view and verify whether the user information is true.
Reporter’s Note: I’ll give you my whole soul
40 years ago, Wang Xiaobo wrote to Li Yinhe.
I’ll give you my whole soul, along with its eccentricities, little tantrums, bright and dark, 1,800 kinds of bad things. It is really annoying, only a little good, love you.
Zhang Lu recalls that in his youth, the exchange of letters was still mainstream, and when opening letters from lovers, his hands would tremble uncontrollably. Today, there is no need for handwritten letters and no place for Email, so I’m afraid there will be no more long and heartfelt words like Wang Xiaobo’s.
Social platforms are changing day by day, and the caliber of publicity is full of curiosity, soft pornography and dreamy colors, behind which there are pairs of eyes eager for traffic and numbers, but they forget to iron out the cold hearts.
People are contradictory, eager to be understood, but also afraid of being seen through. Nowadays, people chat day and night while distrusting each other. The Internet has brought the distance between people infinitely closer, and to some extent, completely distanced them.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/hundreds-of-millions-of-capital-pouring-into-the-z-generation-matchmaking-corner-traffic-lies-and-love/
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