Dennis Yu

World's largest group dating site goes from free to subscription based

A guest post by Adam Sachs, co-founder of Ignighter, a group dating site with great relationship advice and a fun place to work

I’m Adam Sachs and I run the world’s largest group dating site. Since our initial launch as a Facebook Application in January 2008 and subsequent relaunch as a destination site in August 2008, we’ve amassed a significant inventory of group daters using our free service.

However, if you’re simply growing a free user base at a steady, continuous pace (read: you haven’t detonated a viral bomb like only the Facebooks and Twitters of the Internet have) then after a while, the free model starts to seem unsustainable. Acquiring new users on a free site has a cost. User acquisition could be costing you money (PPC ads, live sponsored events) or even just costing you time (Commenting on blogs, marketing via Twitter). But until you can establish a lifetime value for a new user, then you are simply shelling out for marketing while seeing a virtually nonexistent ROI.

With no ROI and no value associated with each user who registers for your site, it’s only a matter of time before you run out of money, time, and the ability to keep acquiring them. Your investors probably won’t be too happy either.

It’s taken Ignighter a while to come to this realization, but now that we have, we are beginning to experiment with incorporating paid functionality into the website. Introducing a paid model to Ignighter doesn’t just benefit the company, however; we predict it will benefit our user base as well.

Below are a few Pros and Cons that we predict to encounter when transitioning from a free to paid service. We can revisit these pros and cons in a few months and see how accurate they proved to be.

Pros: Money is finally coming IN the door.

  1. Money means more users. If you are making more per user than you are paying to acquire them, then the goal is to spend as much money as possible to acquire them. I’d pay $25 to get $35 back, wouldn’t you?
  2. Money means better users. When you offer a free service, you get registrations from people of drastically varying levels of interest and relevance to your site. When people on the not-so-interested-in-meeting-new-people-but-it’s-free-so-I’ll-try-it-anyway end of the spectrum register, they’re actually adding what we affectionately call “shit inventory” to the site and hurting the experience of the registered users who want to use the site for its intended purpose.

Incorporating a paid level will naturally introduce a tiered system of users to the site, facilitating an experience that groups users based on their intentions and expectations. Asking people to pay will also help to make your users more passionate about the company. Paid users will now be part of a community that they’ve invested in and helped to create.

Money means happy investors. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Cons: It’s not so easy

  1. It’s not so easy to convince someone to be one of the first to pay for your service. Before you can establish a track record of the value that you’re providing to the user it can seem like you’re asking them to pay a taste-tester to the King of Zamunda.
  2. It’s not so easy to build the damn thing. At Ignighter this fundamental shift is requiring a ton of web development and business development resources. This kind of thing can’t be half-assed, you have to give it your full attention and planning.
  3. It’s not so easy to accept that it’s going to work beyond a shadow of a doubt. But isn’t that what startups are all about?

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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