One of the largest online dating sites in Asia has added VoIP (voice chat) and video support for their members. According to Vivox, "Vivox will provide the platform for WFN's half-million English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean online daters to interact using their own voice. By implementing Vivox's technology, WFN becomes the world's first online dating service provider to give its users an integrated Web-voice-video-IM communications platform."
I've actually been wondering why the popular U.S.-based Match.com or Matchmaker.com haven't added VoIP & video support already. Seems like an obvious feature to have and a competitive advantage considering how competitive online dating has become. Heck, Match.com is even accused of sham dates on the company payroll to keep the membership renewals rolling and Yahoo's personals is accused of posting ficticious personal ads.
Check out the announcement:
Vivox, a pioneer in context-specific communications services, today announced that it will power WorldFriends Networks' (WFN) new WorldFriends Phone service, which will allow WFN's half-million global users to communicate with each other via live text, voice or video chat. In doing so, WFN becomes the industry's first online dating service to provide its user community with an integrated Web-voice-video-Instant Messenger communications platform.
Owned and operated by Meta4 Group Limited, WFN is one of Asia's largest online dating sites. WFN caters to an international constituency by operating in 20 different countries and in four different languages - English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. With more than 150 partner websites, WFN registers more than 1,000 new members every day making it the world's premier provider of private label multi-lingual online personals.
The popularity of online dating across Asia is on the rise, spurred by the rapid growth of broadband Internet connections. Recent research suggests that this growth shows no signs of slowing. The number of homes with broadband Internet services in the region -- already higher than the United States market -- is predicted to rise to 176 million by 2010 from 61 million today.
By embedding Vivox's IP communications technology, WFN can meet market demand and drive greater communication among users by adding voice, video and Instant Messaging to its service. For the WFN user, this means greater and more meaningful interactions. They will be able to view personal hot lists, identify members online and escalate inter-personal interactions from IM to voice to video with just one click.
"Almost half of the emails exchanged by our members are between people living in different countries, so we know there's strong interest in long distance communications," said Dominic Penaloza, CEO, WorldFriends Networks. "Vivox's technology enables us to elevate the level of service we deliver to our customers by allowing them to interact using the most powerful means of communication available their own voice."
In addition, serving as the platform for WorldFriends Phone, Vivox's technology will allow users to conveniently communicate with each other via instant messenger programs, regardless of the branded IM service they may currently use. As a result, WFN community members will no longer be hindered by disparate IM applications. They will be able to interact with each other among the most popular IM networks including AOL's AIM, Yahoo!, MSN and ICQ.
"By deploying context specific communications services, WorldFriends Networks is at the forefront of the online dating marketplace," said Rob Seaver, CEO of Vivox. "By satisfying its users' desire for cutting edge services that enable better interaction, WFN will drive customer enrollment and retention, enabling the Company to maintain a leading position in the market."