November 18, 2003 5:38 PM PST
AOL gets personal with Love.com
The online giant's AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service has begun plastering advertisements for a new online personals service called Love.com. Details remain murky, but an AOL spokesman said Love.com will use the AIM community as a way for subscribers to get to know each other.
"Love.com will marry the benefits of real-time communications together with AIM's active user base to deliver a casual, fun and comfortable place to meet and get to know new people online," AOL representative Derrick Mains said in an e-mail, adding that the site will preview the service in the "next few weeks."
Mains declined to elaborate on how AIM will be used to connect online daters. The Love.com Web site offers scant information, only asking visitors to register their personal information to receive future notices.
One source familiar with the project said online personals service Spring Street Networks will build the service's infrastructure while AIM collects profiles created by users. Mains declined to comment on the partnership. Spring Street CEO Louis Kanganis declined to confirm or deny any partnership with AOL.
Online personals have become popular among consumers and a burgeoning business for Internet companies. InterActiveCorp subsidiary Match.com, considered the online personals leader, reported $48.3 million in revenue last quarter, up 44 percent from the same quarter in 2002. Yahoo, also considered one of the personals giants, does not break out revenue but highlights personals as a growth area for its subscription-based income.
Free services such as start-up Friendster have amassed millions of users based on linking online social circles together. InterActiveCorp's Evite last week launched a competitive product as part of its online event planning service.
This is not the first time AOL has entered the online personals market. The online giant used to run an online personals service called Love@AOL, but it now uses listings from and shares revenues with Match.com.