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LoveHappens Becomes the Darling of the Online Dating Industry; Yahoo! Personals Still Winning the Competition for Customers, Keynote Reports


WEBWIRE

• LoveHappens, a New Entrant to the Online Dating Market, Wins the Hearts of Customers

• Yahoo! Personals is Still the Most Attractive Site to Prospective Customers

• Online Dating Industry Reputation Takes Hit: Customers Are Concerned That Other Members Misrepresent Themselves
SAN MATEO, Calif., — November 3, 2005 — New competitive intelligence from Keynote Systems (Nasdaq: KEYN), The Internet Performance Authority®, shows LoveHappens and AmericanSingles.com receiving the highest customer satisfaction rankings from online customers, but being edged out by Yahoo! Personals in terms of success in online customer acquisition. Keynote also reports that the online dating industry could be suffering fall-out from a general lack of customer confidence and trust in the statements and profiles of some online dating site members.

According to the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Online Dating Web Site Customers, LoveHappens, which was launched by Tickle earlier this year, and AmericanSingles.com are the top sites in the online dating industry in terms of delivering a positive online customer experience. Keynote’s second annual study of customer experience at online dating sites is based on research with 1,150 customers as they interacted with leading online dating web sites. A companion study, based on research with 2,000 prospective customers, found Yahoo! Personals to be leading in the competition for new online dating customers.

For the studies, Keynote evaluated the Web sites of the following companies: AmericanSingles.com, eHarmony, Happy Marriage (a service of Tickle), Lavalife, LoveHappens (a service of Tickle), Match.com, True and Yahoo! Personals. In addition, the FriendFinder and Friendster sites were included for the prospective customer study.

“The big news out of these studies is the bold entrance of LoveHappens into the market,” said Dr. Bonny Brown, director of research at Keynote. “It is quite impressive and unique for a site to enter a market with such a strong showing in terms of the online customer experience. Tickle clearly made the right strategic decision.”

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Keynote Customer Experience Rankings —
Customers, Online Dating Web Sites

1 - LoveHappens

2 - AmericanSingles.com

3 - Yahoo! Personals
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LoveHappens, AmericanSingles.com and Yahoo! Personals were ranked as the leading sites in the online dating industry based on the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings, an overall measure of online customer experience based on evaluation of more than 250 metrics for each site. In fact, LoveHappens ranked atop all Keynote indices including those measuring customer satisfaction, brand perceptions and customer loyalty.

However, in the competition for new customers, Yahoo! Personals continues to set the pace for the industry, leading the Keynote rankings in a study among prospective customers for the second consecutive year.

______________________________________________________
Keynote Customer Experience Rankings —
Prospective Customers, Online Dating Web Sites

1 - Yahoo! Personals

2 - True

3 - LoveHappens
______________________________________________________

The leading drivers of success in a site’s ability to attract new customers are the appeal of its home page, the availability of people of interest, and subscription value clarity. Yahoo! Personals excelled in these areas, and was also considered the most “friendly” site by prospective customers, with close to 60% of visitors choosing that descriptor for the site. LoveHappens also had a strong showing among prospective customers driven in large part by its clear subscription value proposition and ease of registration. True’s success was driven in part by the view that the site is “safe,” “ethical” and “trustworthy”, characteristics that counter prospective customer concerns about online dating sites. Nearly twice as many prospective True customers described the site as “safe” and “trustworthy” as those prospective customers visiting other sites.

“Trust is shaping up to be a central issue in the online dating industry,” said Dr. Brown. “Customers of online dating sites have increasingly expressed concern about the truthfulness and character of some of the members of online dating sites. Although this may be a natural and somewhat unavoidable issue in a dating industry, the industry is not responding to or addressing the issue properly in the customer’s view, with the exception of a few sites such as True.”

Many major online dating sites showed an overall drop in their ability to generate interest in their members, which can be partially traced to trust issues. In fact, the top overall frustrations with online dating sites stem from suspicion about how other members present themselves and uncertainty about whether or not a site hosts compatible members for the prospective customer. More than one in three (38%) of online dating site customers felt that people tend to misrepresent themselves on online dating sites. On some sites more than 50% of customers expressed such feelings and frustrations. Sites such as True and eHarmony have effectively combated this issue, with almost twice as many customers describing these sites as safe or high quality as compared to the industry average.

The reward for providing a positive online experience for the customer is the ability to extend and up-sell memberships, with LoveHappens and Yahoo! Personals ranked tops in price satisfaction among customers. The Keynote studies also tested for tolerance of price increases and interest in expanded services, examining interest in more than a dozen different price levels, cross-referenced by customer income level and other demographic data.

The Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Online Dating Web Sites, provide in-depth competitive analysis of the online dating industry and contain hundreds of additional data points, as well as a detailed analysis of study findings.

For an abstract reviewing the studies: http://www.keynote.com/downloads/cem/Keynote_OnlineDatingCE.pdf

Customer Experience Management

Keynote’s customer experience management (CEM) services offer both competitive intelligence studies and custom engagement services examining consumer attitudes and behavior on the Web. To learn more about Keynote’s CEM solutions, visit: http://www.keynote.com/solutions/customer_experience_management.html

About Keynote

Founded in 1995, Keynote Systems (Nasdaq “KEYN”), The Internet Performance Authority®, is the worldwide leader in services that improve online business performance and communications technologies. Approximately 2,300 corporate IT and marketing departments and 13,000 individual subscribers rely on Keynote’s growing range of measurement and monitoring, service level and customer experience management services to improve e-business performance by reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction and increasing profitability.

Keynote is viewed as The Internet Performance Authority due to the company’s global infrastructure of over 1,600 measurement computers in more than 50 cities worldwide that capture and store on a daily basis over 60 million Internet performance measurements, frequent media citations quoting Keynote’s Web performance data and analysis, the company’s market-leading Web performance indices for vertical markets and leading customer research that provides critical business insight into online customer experiences, industry trends and competitive Web strategies.

Keynote Systems, Inc. is headquartered in San Mateo, California and can be reached at www.keynote.com or by phone in the U.S. at 650-403-2400.

Keynote, The Internet Performance Authority and Perspective are registered trademarks of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2005 Keynote Systems, Inc.



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