Last night I received an e-mail from the Frumster Team that effective April 23rd, the popular Jewish dating service will become a pay service.
To their credit, Frumster provides a list of reasons for the switch. For one, Frumster will be adding new features, such as an advice column and live tech support over AIM.
Of particular interest is the second reason given, “A Charge Will Actually Attract Many New and Sincere Members”
- Considerable research conducted by Frumster has revealed that a ‘lack of a membership fee’ causes many sincere Orthodox singles to hesitate in using the service. These individuals are unanimous in their critique that a free service is an indication of both an insincere service and potentially insincere members.
This is a tough call. Assuming insincere people will be scared off by the new pay system, many of the existent members only signed up because it was a free service – which is how Frumster became as popular as it is. My sense is that web communities such as this succeed when there is a large and diverse population. When the site is free, it encourages many different types of individuals to sign up – even for the simple “why not” factor. This new financial effort will probably dissuade some of these people from signing up.
Furthermore, if Frumster hasn’t worked for existing members until now, what incentive would they have to pay for the service – especially when the odds of finding someone appropriate will diminish? I’m curious as to how many existing members would be willing to pay for a service which hasn’t worked for them.
I’m not even sure how effective the new scheme will be as a filter. Some of you may remember my Frumster Rant some time ago. Of people that I’ve recently contacted, 7 have not responded – even with the automated rejection. (I’m too nice to directly link to their profiles). My point is that many people (men and women) are just clueless about basic social etiquette. Charging for use of the service isn’t going to help.
The way Frumster presents this reason, it seems that they themselves might not even believe it to be true. Rather, they are just presenting the perception of potential or existing users.
However, regardless of their reasons, I think this new system is more than justified. The team has worked hard to make the site work, and as we know, there is no “free lunch.” Whether or not any of their reasons are accurate, the bottom line is that much work went into creating and maintaining Frumster, and they deserve something back.