WHAT HE INVENTED
Way back in 1994, entrepreneur Gary Kremen had an idea for a classified ads-style website while taking a shower. He called the company Electric Classifieds Inc., proving that not every “shower idea” is necessarily a winner. Interesting sidenote, around this same time, Kremen also had the foresight to register Sex.com, leading to a remarkable series of lawsuits and manhunts after the domain was stolen by Stephen M. Cohen. (It’s amazing anyone was ever able to register sex.com! Tim Berners-Lee must be so pissed he didn’t think to keep that one for himself!)
A year later, Kremen released the much more memorably titled Match.com, essentially inventing the online dating service and revolutionizing the way shy people and perverts connect forever. The concept was to keep releasing more sites all the time with similar naming schemes, covering everything people would post about in classified ads. (Jobs.com, apartments.com, etc.) It was a solid idea, though Craigslist started as an e-mail newsletter in 1995 and ended up stealing a lot of Kremen’s thunder.
Kremen left Match.com in 1996 after a dispute with investors and the company was eventually sold to Cendant, then Ticketmaster. (It’s now run by IAC.)
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
One of Kremen’s chief innovations that made Match.com such a success was a focus on appealing to female users. (Essentially, if women want to come and make profiles, it doesn’t really matter what the site looks like… men will follow.) Unfortunately, this resulted in Kremen’s own girlfriend leaving him for a man she met on Match.com. (He insists this is how he first knew the site was a success.)
Kremen complained in 1998 to the San Francisco Chronicle that, though Match.com had already helped thousands of singles find love, it had never actually worked for him personally, and he was going to spend Valentine’s Day alone. “It’s really a bummer,” Kremen said. “I’ve helped a lot of people but it just hasn’t helped me.”
If creating Match.com and then not finding a match seems unfortunate, remember that Gary also created Jobs.com and Sex.com. Let’s hope for his sake there isn’t a pattern forming…