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The aforementioned 3G dating service may make it even easier to date on the go, but what about the host of cool new companies making sure willing singles actually stand out amidst the millions and millions now listed with dating sites? Consider this data, from a Match.com survey: “The first mistake people make with online dating is rushing through their profile. And it shows. In a survey of more than 5,000 online dating members asking about the most common profile mistakes, 51% complained about profiles with poor spelling or grammar, 23% complained about singles referencing their exes in profiles and 23% complained about the photos posted with profiles.” Consolidation is a sure sign that this industry is maturing. When TRENDWATCHING.COM wrote about specialized photography services for online daters in its FEEDER BUSINESSES article, it highlighted SoulmatePics and SingleShots. In the meantime, Soulmatepics has partnered up with DateBetter, making the latter company a one-stop-shop working anyone looking for love online: better profiles, better photos and better dating skills. (more…) Now consumers can add yet another use for their handsets: mobile dating. ‘Deaikei’, or mobile device-centered dating services, have been around in Japan for more than 3 years – all of the major Japanese mobile service providers have branded dating sites, and they actually outrank online dating sites in popularity. Recently Europe and North America have begun to jump into the mobile dating scene, and consumer response is promising. Like FM Keitai, the 3G Dating Agency is another service that’s taking advantage of the flexibility and usability of the 3G platform. A Samsung UK-affiliated service, 3G Dating allows swains and swain-ettes looking for love to connect via SMS, MMS, and video messaging using their 3G handsets. 3G Dating cites the “everybody’s always on” nature of its cell phone-based service as a plus over traditional online dating services (great dating, no waiting). A pic or video and an email address are required to join, and registration plus unlimited access to the profile database is free. The costs come in when users send messages to each other – GBP 0.50 per text message and GBP 1.50 per MMS or video message sent through their service, plus the normal service charges levied by the user’s cell service company. (more…) You can never go wrong with healthy food and beverages these days: Virgin and Australian-based Signature Brand Limited (SBL) have joined forces on a quest to make SBL’s Pulp Juice the definitive juice bar brand worldwide. That’s right: the Starbucks of juice bars. Hey, as Springwise likes to say: if you can’t name a global brand for a B2C category, it’s probably wide open, no matter how much local competition you may be facing! Virgin recently acquired a 20% interest in SBL’s Pulp Health, in an agreement that includes the formation of a new company (of which Virgin will own a controlling 80%). Sweeping Pulp Juice global expansions including 75 branded juice bars in the Persian Gulf, 7 outlets in New Zealand by year’s end, an increase in Australia’s Pulp Juice Bar outlets from 18 to 106 over the next two years, and additional international expansions in the UK, South Africa, and the US. (Wow!) The Virgin Group head honcho’s fondness (that would of course be Richard) for Pulp Juice’s healthy concoctions catalyzed the deal, and plans are progressing at light speed. The first New Zealand outlet has already opened for business, another partnership was formed within three months with Australian gym chain Fitness First to add Pulp Juice outlets to its 39 locations, and a little less than four months after the initial Virgin/SBL deal closed, negotiations had already begun for adding Australian cult juice brand Nudie to the fold. Nudie has accomplished some impressive growth on its own, increasing its distribution from 24 stores to 4000 stores in 18 months. Plans are for Nudie to retain its identity and expand to branded retail outlets, food, and more. Sydney healthy food sensation Sumo Salad (which features DIY salads, an entire and tasty new business opportunity in itself) is also on the Virgin/SBL acquisitions radar, but has resisted their overtures so far.

Opportunities

Each B2C market is big enough for at least two or three key global players, the juice bar segment included. So you could still try to dominate the world of pulp by taking mighty Virgin head on. However, for the cash challenged amongst you, may Springwise suggest that you A: set up a local bar and sell it to Pulp next year, or B: contact them about getting the franchise rights to wherever it is you live? Could be a sweet and healthy deal!