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Filipinos increasingly seeking love online

First posted 02:09pm (Mla time) Feb 04, 2006
By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

MORE than 100,000 Filipinos registered with a Philippine-based online dating service are now actively searching for love on the Internet, a trend that is increasingly becoming more evident as Filipinos are now more connected via the Internet and mobile phones, according to Philippine-based online dating services.

�There have been more Filipinos seeking love online. Unlike the social networking service by Friendster, our goal is to allow people to find love through our service," said Mary Ann Go, marketing head of Philippine-based matchmaking website itzamatch.com, said.

Additional investments amounting to 450,000 dollars are being poured into Itzamatch.com this year, as the company hopes to increase its presence in the Philippines through offline parties and speed matching activities this year, Go added.

The company aims to hit 250,000 members in February 2007 -- a realistic target, Go explained, noting that the company is not yet charging people for use of its service.


this coming Valentine�s day, itzamatch.com is encouraging its users to submit their love stories to the company, which in turn, will be published in a local newspaper. It is also offering a romantic dinner for three couples at a local hotel on February 14.

�There's a recent study done by a local advertising agency that shows the top online activities of Filipinos. One of them was online dating," Go said.

Friendster Philippines, through Philippine partner Pusit.com, has also recently disclosed plans to start selling "Friendster Flowers" to Filipino users, according to Terence Pua, founder of Pusit.com.

To date, there are five million Filipinos on Friendster.

Hoping to ride on the Valentine�s Day fever, Pua said that Friendster Philippines will allow Filipino users to buy real flowers via the social networking service, and have them delivered to anyone in the country for free.

Itzamatch.com and Friendster are currently two popular online services that allow Filipinos to find love or relationships online.

With about 140,000 members, mostly from the Philippines, itzamatch.com is now building a community for Filipino singles. It was formerly known as match.ph until it was acquired by Bigfoot Global Solutions in 2003.

Itzamatch.com will soon launch an online "keyword search," which will let people find common keywords, such as "diving" and "biking," during searches in the growing database of the online service.

Friendster Philippines, on the other hand, is currently developing various services, including Friendster Flowers, which aims to target the increasing number of Filipino users.

For 299 pesos, Filipinos can now send a one-stem rose to anyone in the country courtesy of Friendster, Pua added.

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