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They munched pizza and drank cheap champagne out of red plastic cups, waiting to watch Crazy Blind in action and standing by to fix software bugs. Each night for the next few weeks, only a handful of love connections were made online.The problem: The media had more or less ignored the launch.To deliver to advertisers and turn a profit, Yagan figured he needed eight million users and two million regular daters, roughly eight times his current traffic.If those numbers weren't daunting enough, new free dating sites were popping up and beating Yagan at his game. Plentyof Fish.com, run by a solo entrepreneur with one full-time employee, was also wildly profitable, earning some million a year.I’ll be closing my account, and since you’ve significantly altered the terms I signed up under, be demanding a prorated refund. As a math major at Harvard in the late '90s, Yagan forever altered the market for student cheat sheets, then dominated by the iconic black-and-yellow Cliffs Notes booklets, with his Spark Notes, a free Web-based copycat.The Decision Yagan and Coyne decided that the potential rewards of press coverage and increased Web traffic from a blind-dating site outweighed the benefits of buying advertisements or developing more features for Ok Cupid.They began work on Crazy Blind in July 2007 and assigned three of the company's nine engineers to build the website.
On the evening of the launch, in October, Yagan, Coyne, and their engineers gathered in the company's Manhattan office.As various promotional options were exhausted, Yagan found his thoughts turning back to a wacky idea he and Coyne had once tossed around: a dating site with "a blind-date button." What had been little more than a running joke suddenly seemed like a way to stand out from the crowd.At best, the novelty of instantaneous, face-to-face blind dates might catch on among users inundated with e-mails, phone calls, and IMs; at worst, it might at least generate buzz for Ok Cupid.Now Yagan had set out to bring to online dating, a growing market dominated by a number of, as Yagan saw them, expensive and unsatisfactory competitors like IAC's (NYSE: IACI) Yagan figured he could inflict serious damage on Match, the industry giant with 2007 revenue of 9 million, and other big subscription sites such as e Harmony and JDate by using the same strategy he employed with Spark Notes.