IAC CEO: We have a 23-year head start on online dating, Facebook 'cannot just uproot us' with new app

  • IAC CEO Joey Levin penned a letter assuring shareholders the Match Group parent company was well-positioned to compete with Facebook in the dating space.
  • In his note to investors, Levin came across as cautious — but he resolved to gear up for an inevitable battle for dominance.
  • Shares fell despite that IAC beat on first quarter revenue.
Joey Levin, chief executive officer of IAC (InterActiveCorp), attends the first day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
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Joey Levin, chief executive officer of IAC (InterActiveCorp), attends the first day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Following a revenue beat on Wednesday, IAC CEO Joey Levin penned a letter assuring shareholders that the Match Group parent company was well-positioned to compete with Facebook in the dating space.

The internet and media holding company reported revenue of $995 million, versus the $935 million analysts expected. (The company also reported GAAP diluted EPS of 71 cents.)

"We respect the power of Facebook's network – as consumers and partners we have been great beneficiaries of their mission to connect the world," Levin wrote in the note. "However, on the long list of things we worry about in our dating business, [Facebook launching a dating app] doesn't top the list."

His sentiments echoed those of Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg who told investors on a Wednesday morning conference call Match isn't worried about Facebook encroaching on the business. According to Ginsberg, people don't want to mix their online dating life with the friends-and-family-first Facebook.

In his note to investors, Levin came across as cautious, but resolved and ready to gear up for a fight to maintain dominance in the space.

"Facebook can give up and scrap their dating project anytime, but that's not an option for us – it's our life. The only option for us is to help more people build relationships. If we continue to do that better every day, and willingly disrupt ourselves...we will win," Levin wrote.

"We have a 23-year head start and several months advanced warning, and we're going to take advantage of all of it," he added.

As Facebook has had an unofficial reputation for bringing people together "since it was a project in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room at Harvard," Levin said the announcement served as more of a wake-up call to continue to "delight our users" and deliver innovative products.

"A single new competitor, even a powerful one cannot just uproot us -- our fate is in our own hands," Levin wrote.

Shares of IAC and its social business Match Group, tanked earlier this month after Facebook announced it is prepping a separate dating feature to live inside the core Facebook app. The service includes an event-based system for pairing that's unique to the space.

Facebook's dating feature will pair users that aren't already friends, while keeping dating profiles private from friends on the larger platform. But the social media giant has seen its reputation for privacy plunge, amid widespread reports of data leaks.