Facebook’s secret crush? Maybe it’s Match Group

A day after Facebook announced the launch of its dating service in the United States, investors are showing less love for Match Group, the parent company behind some of the world’s most popular dating platforms, including Tinder, Match.com, Hinge, and OKCupid.

Shares of Match Group dipped as much as 7.2% yesterday as social media lit up with discussions about the possibility (and the obvious downside) of meeting that special someone on Facebook. At the opening bell this morning, Match was down another 1%.

The announcement of Facebook Dating, billed as a Tinder-like service for people who want a serious relationship, has been met with its share of skepticism, and the service could prove especially thorny for a social-networking giant prone to data lapses and privacy scandals. A feature called Secret Crush—which matches users with Facebook friends who indicate a respective interest in one another—is raising more than a few eyebrows. (Seriously, what could go wrong?)

But all kidding aside, Facebook and its vast war chest of user data stand to make a huge dent in the online dating market, and that’s not good for Match Group, a company already struggling to revitalize the image of its Match.com brand (although, as a spokesperson pointed out to me, the company as a whole is doing quite well, thanks in no small part to Tinder).

Not everyone is convinced that Match has much to worry about in the long run. Robinson Humphrey, an analyst for SunTrust, told Bloomberg yesterday that Facebook Dating is “likely not material” to Match, while another analyst cited Facebook’s “negative reputational overhang” as a potential barrier for the company as it tries to scale its matchmaking ambitions.

Either way, the online dating wars are surely going to heat up. We never doubted you for a second, Pat Benatar.

This post has been updated with input from Match Group.

 

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