As we find ourselves out the other side of the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown the events industry is back in full swing. This month Execs from all over the world landed in San Francisco for the Global Dating Insights 2022 San Fran Conference. So different now is the world versus 2020 - so different that I am grateful to be able to consider such an audacious trip.
I landed in San Francisco from London on Wednesday 19th at 2pm. The following day was a busy one - I presented, spoke with the admirable attendees, before heading back to SFO for a flight back to London at 5pm on Thursday 20th! Thankfully still with time for one (or two) last San Fran Hazy IPAs whilst reflecting on the event.
Trust, privacy, protection, safety and well-being
There were five words spoken at GDISF-22 more so than any others - “trust, privacy, protection, safety and well-being”. Five words which encapsulated the very unofficial theme of the event - a theme we all in the industry have a duty to deliver on.
Venntro exists to give all people the freedom to belong, to connect with others, to share their passions and be accepted in a safe, trusted environment. This demonstrates our alignment with the most pertinent matters influencing our industry today. However, like most others within the space, we’ve all got improvements to make when it comes to these five key topics.
Scammers in our industry aren’t a new thing. Event speaker and City Dating App founder, Ben Mussi, calculated that consumer cash lost through online dating scams equates to more than £1B annually - a figure which has been increasing year over year.
Responsibility of what allows such a ridiculous figure to exist lies with all those in the conversion funnel, from dating app and website founders, up through the app marketplaces. This compounds with the ad networks who are generating the most amount of revenue from this remarkably worrying funnel of scammer function.
Privacy versus protection is a debate that ensues across everyday life as we accelerate to an ever more digital world - a topic that is discussed at length in our own industry. With the increase in organisations offering “background checks” on end users within dating apps and websites, the questions inevitably are raised surrounding legislation, enforcement, responsibility of institutions to enforce, reliance on innovators to… well, innovate, and responsibility of consumers to ensure their own approach is self-aware.
I wouldn’t dream of commenting on what one should do, but after listening to Dr Hannah Shimko from the ODA, Kathryn Kosmides from Garbo and others, I can say that we all need to consider how, as service providers in the online dating space, we can strike the right balance between privacy and protection. A balance which will often be unbalanced, depending on who you talk to.
Where should the industry's focus be?
To run a successful dating platform, website or app there are a few fundamental elements that will either make or break a business. Consumer satisfaction, happiness, safety, engagement and finally monetisation and revenue generation. Looking through the list of sponsors at GDISF-22 it’s clear where the industry is planting its focus. This focus is on customer satisfaction, happiness and safety.
The presence of payment processing providers and companies providing member to member engagement tools was minimal. Instead there were over 5 sponsors who positioned themselves firmly in the bracket of consumer satisfaction, happiness or safety. This cements the fact that trust in our industry is something we need to work towards - both from a consumer's perspective and legislator's perspective. Only this will ensure everyone in the industry is putting the well-being of our consumers at the forefront of our actions.
My time in San Fran was, as expected, exceptionally well spent speaking to inspirational business leaders from the UK and internationally. The key take-aways will help to guide our plans as we begin a huge international push later this year for brands and partners of our award-winning platform, WhiteLabelDating.com - plans with trust, privacy, protection, safety and well-being at the forefront.
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