Interview with Robert Fathers, CEO, Datech Limited

Q: What is Datech Ltd., and what do you do in online dating business?

Robert Fathers, CEO, Datech LimitedA: Datech Limited is technology partner to anyone online; whether they are large brands, want a community dating site or affiliates whose only target is to make money through a system that will earn a good return in revenue. Datech offers a full range of solutions, from white labeled sites, template sites, affiliates marketing tools and – later this month – free dating sites as well. Our unique position in the marketplace is that we are the only provider worldwide that offer true white labeling and not simulated sites with just header and footer. There is also an outstanding ability to allow partners to filter data from our database of 17 million members, into any possible niche they could imagine, in over 14 languages (‘Add your own language’ is just part of the service too) and any currency at prices that suit the targeted market. It is all operated under World Dating Partners brand and covers all the headaches of running a dating site, like Merchant accounts, customer support, anti fraud scrubbing, partner support, a server system with 100% uptime and unlimited capacity for traffic. Our system is used by major dating sites like dating.com who find that our model cuts running expenses and leaves them with what they do best – marketing. Best of all of course, everything is FREE and we run as a true partnership on shared revenue with recurring payments AND re-bills, something that other sites don’t pay out on. As a partner you can also sell to other sites if you prefer Business to Business and get a generous override/commission over total revenue for every site you bring in.

Q: Your software development office is situated in Ukraine. What’s the best about it and what’s the worst?

A: We have worked in the Ukraine for over 10 years, an outstanding achievement as our own outsourcing company, where most companies fail in their first year. We believe that our key to success is our ability to understand and sympathize with a different culture, to pay fair wages and treat our team of developers and other staff like a family and part of our UK office, instead of looking on them as a resource to exploit. Our team in the Ukraine is just as much involved in the running of the company as any in our UK team, if not more. I am very proud of them all and they give all they can. This can all be achieved with very good communication and the right person in the Ukraine as a team leader. For the future we will add more and more responsibility to our Ukraine office, as the country becomes more aware of marketing techniques, we find that these skills are something to look out for in the future.

Q: Do you work with big name companies only or also with individual web entrepreneurs as well?

A: Datech has over 21,000 partners, from small to major, and running business across different industries shows the flexibility of who we work with: we work alongside over 47 TV networks worldwide, over 250 radio stations, over 120 affiliate networks, have many celebrities who work with us. Some of our bigger names are Cellcast, Bauer media, Perfspot, Sky TV; quite honestly, really too many to mark down on one page. In 2007 World Dating Partners took over and ran Relationship Exchange, the forerunner and previous leader of this industry.

Q: Which of the services you provide are most popular among your clients?

A: It is difficult to say exactly which is the most popular as different types of affiliates and partners have their own special needs and we try to cater for all, and if we can’t – we will help to create what they need. I suppose the Template system is the most used as partners can create as many dating niches as they wish; we often recommend a grouped branding, so that you can create a set of different niches that cross sell from each other or can be presented as choices on one page. Our affiliate system is very versatile, yet easy to use and really suits those who just want to target traffic and turn it quickly into cash. While some of those looking at the bigger picture may want to create a free dating site and a paid dating site, to cross sell one against the other.
The combination of utilities that are on offer is truly amazing. On top of this, each partner has their own admin that can include Google analytics, as promoting AdWords with targeted niches is one of the most effective marketing techniques on the Internet; the analytics give you the ability to understand your site and which direction to market, as well as the security of being able to verify that the money we pay you is exactly the money that you earn, this builds confidence with our partners and affiliates. We will soon be offering a bi-monthly payout to partners and have some real surprises in store just around the corner for partners that join us now.

Q: There was a lot of buzz about while label dating sites last year. Do you see any changes in this trend in the first part of 2009?

A: There has been very little change in White Label systems in the dating industry. More services have popped up, but none of them can filter or white label in the true sense of the word. White Label Dating for example, still have the same old system, headers and footers and no way of allowing affiliates to create their own niches. They claim high conversions like so many others, but then when you sell your service for $5, you get what you pay for, or in our case, don’t pay for. We always keep our profits low, as so much continually goes into development. Our fully featured sites offer everything that all other dating sites offer combined, and affiliates can choose which features to use: from personality matching, a superb flash chat program, single events worldwide to your mobile, web cam, video – and the list goes on. We are definitely ahead of other systems and I believe this is well known in the industry. I know, for example, White Label Dating have said that the World Dating Partners system is in class of its own.

Q: What is the key to success for your clients with while label niche dating sites?

A: Niching really is key to the success of every marketers portfolio; without this the game is very competitive and, to be perfectly honest, not worth the low profits when competing with the big boys. Focusing on one or many niches should be the focus of every good marketing expert, the ability to create as many of these as you can, from Google AdWords, to focused communities – they all have a better conversion rate if your filtered target is near to your own subject. If you have a Golfing site or Golfing shop, then it obviously makes sense that your dating site should be for people who want to date and interested in golf. By setting filters in your admin panel, you can specify, for example, golfers that live in or\and around New York; this will then filter those members, who live in this area and have an interest in Golf only. You can add to this niche a specific language, when required, or even a particular currency and, again, if required, the right payment solution relevant to your country. This makes your niche very targeted and, the better more accurate your niche, the better your conversions.

25 Responses to “Interview with Robert Fathers, CEO, Datech Limited”

  1. Ross Williams Says:

    I was sent this article on the weekend - I can only presume it has been published late and was written a few months ago when some of the points raised were still true.

    Have your developers in the Ukraine been paid? Have your partners in the UK been paid? Have your staff been paid? Have you paid all your bills Robert?

    I would bite my tongue but I take enormous issue with a suggestion that White Label Dating have said the WDP system is in a “class of it’s own” - perhaps it is a class of it’s own, but it’s the remedial class according to all the partners that left WDP over the last six months to join White Label Dating.

    It’s not my place to highlight the issues WDP (or what is still left of it) has - they will come to light soon enough - but I think anyone considering a white label platform should certainly do their homework, visit the company you’re going to be investing your time with and make sure what they say is true.

    Ross

  2. John Ardman Says:

    I have been doing a lot of research on white label systems recently as my organisations are looking to launch a number of sites on one. I couldn’t help but notice a few “dress ups” within this article. I have a few questions that I would like clarifying and feel I should point out a few observations.

    You mention that you work with Bauer Media, can anybody tell me in what capacity as I notice all of their dating websites are provided by white label dating.
    You mention that World Dating Partners have 17 million members? Are these active members? Paying members or members to date? If it is members to date I have seen many press releases that mention figures of 28 million members, also on your January 2008 newsletter you mention that relationship exchange will be merging their 14 million members to date with the World Dating Partners database to make a total figure of 21,000,000 members. So the question is which is the real figure? If these are active members (members who have logged in within the last 6 months) your most recent accounts show a turnover of only £1.3 million and very small amount of profit. Does this mean that the platform is extremely low converting? We all know that it is not the amount of members you have but the amount of active members you have that drives conversion rates. This is what will ultimately generate revenue for partners. I remember seeing an article by one of World Dating Partners previous CEO’s http://www.makingamillion.net/recurring-commissions/2008/12/03/ it compared the retention rate from both the World Dating Partner platforms and the White Label Dating platforms. It is clear from this comparison that World Dating Partners delivers low retention rates. You also mention 100% uptime; surely you are not guaranteeing this service? I have seen many posts regarding World Dating Partners down time and even on popular industry sites it is clear that world dating partners give very little notice of downtime to partners. You mention World Dating Partners took over relationship exchange? You also mention this in some of your newsletters that they were moving all of their sites to the World dating partner’s platform. This has not happened. I have only found a very small handful of them actually launched on the system. I can see many others moved to other providers and some even set up on their own. Also looking at the relationship exchange previous terms and conditions it is clear that a large percentage of the partners would have had a shared data agreement which would make relationship exchanges 14 million user base virtually impossible to legally monetise the majority of it by a third party. Also on the subject of major sites, I can see from your main website http://www.worlddatingpartners.com that within your portfolio, your highest ranked site id your own branded site singlescrowd.com which I noticed is cross promoted as standard to all partner sites. Surely this is going against your motto? “We build your brand not ours?”.

    J

  3. Robert Fathers Says:

    Oooh Ross, very Bitchy

    I’ll choose to ignor your comments generally, I think we should forgive Rosses unecessary attack and put it down as jealousy shall we?

    Well known for these shot gun tactics Ross, try to discredit, if all else fails resort to stink bombs and half naked women. Getting banned from exhibitions is more in your line I believe.

    Lets just say White Label Dating. is not exactly known for their professionalism. Obviously trying o discredit a great service and i know Ross himself has no arguement on whose technology is superior, as he has mentioned this in his own blogs. i am sure your blogs here show you and your company as you are and in your true light

    I won’t either bring this down to a personal level as you have done, I suggest anyone who would like to know the diffferences between the two systems try for themselves.

    Talking about Bauer media, weren’t you being sued by them for misreprenting the fact that you could Niche?

    This is what the told me anyway, ask your latest employee Frank. When they asked you to niche and found out that this was not in your technology i believe they closed your contract. From what I understand the only way that you got this in the first place was having to pay for it, something which World Dating Partners has never had to do, but seems to be part of your own selling, as a necessity to get around not being able to perform technologically.

    Feedback from your favourite salesman Frank, cliams he was once the CEO of World Dating Partners, you seem to like collecting our rejects don’t you Ross :)

    The questions above are kind of silly coming from a company trying to work out retention rates across a system that can create any niche, How do you work this one out? what marketing do you use, what niche is it? what is the pricing, curency, you can’t generlise about retention or conversions, its non-sensicle. But i gues your conversion ates are also very good, shame you an’t convert at a higher price than $5, but then again with such a small database and restricted to the UK, what is a girl to do?

    Go for it Ross, its nice to let people see you in your true colours, which reflect the standards and ethics of your own company.

    If other affiliates have some constructive questions then i am always pleased to help. I certinly hope that there are some affiliates around here besides these two hooligans. It would be nice to have an intelligent conversation with them.

  4. Greg Kett Says:

    It will all come out in the wash…and it’s a genuine shame. I wish all current Datech employees every success with their ventures.

  5. Tim Rees Says:

    I agree with Greg’s sentiments. As the former WDP employee quoted above there is clearly no need for me to make any comment on the comparison between WLD and WDP.

    It seems that there has been a lot of key employee changes at WDP over recent months. I wish those still there and those who moved on the best for the future.

    Whatever the issues WDP are facing I hope they are able to work through them - I receive commission from the members and sites I once sent them - which despite being small and dwindling commissions values, I would prefer to retain what I cab.

  6. Tim Rees Says:

    As the former employee quoted above, and now a White Label Dating partner there is no need for me to comment on the comparison between White Label Dating and World Dating Partners.

    I extend Greg’s sentiments in wishing the current World Dating Partners team the best. It would be a great shame if they were to fade away. They did a lot to help shape the way white labeling is done within dating industry. A model which is clearly working very well for the likes of White Label Dating today.

    When I worked there we had a small but very loyal team that strived to make World Dating Partners the best. It’s good to see that though most have moved to pastures new, several like myself are still in the industry, and it seems I am not the only one to be making money through White Label Dating instead!

    I hope the talk of developers not being paid is not true, especially in light of Robert’s comments about involving them in the business. Knowing a number of the developers personally I can vouch for the quality of their work and their integrity as individuals. Much of the early success of World Dating Partners was in my opinion down to the how well the system had been developed, so credit must go to them. For creating something which at the time was very unique.

    It was actually while working at World Dating Partners that I saw how good the developers in Ukraine were, and as a result I have my own development team based in Kharkov. So the philosophy that an offshore team should be involved in the business is one I relate to. My company Real Interactive employs a small team of about 10 now. We will soon be announcing the internal promotion of our project manager to Technical Director to do exactly what Robert described above, and have our Ukraine office directly involved in the day to day business and decision making, not a cheap coding resource.

  7. 2009: Evolution of Online Dating Industry | DatingAdNetwork Blog Says:

    [...] received a lot of feedback on the previous post and would like to give Robert Fathers another opportunity to speak on our blog. Below you can find [...]

  8. Richard Bull Says:

    Hi

    I don’t wish to get caught up in the arguments between WDP and WLD but all I can say is, I looked at both options recently when considering launching my own dating site but in the end chose neither.

    I opted for company called Dating Network which have done a tremendous job for me and can’t sing their praises enough! Their system certainly seems leaps and bounds above the other 2 options mentioned which i researched fully and although my site has only been live a few weeks, the conversions I’m getting are even above the figures projected by these 2 other companies.

    So, all I would say to anyone considering leaving, or maybe having no option but to leave WDP very soon, is take a look at Dating Network they are very helpful and honest and you certainly get what you are promised.

  9. Andrew Goodman Says:

    Hi,

    I’m a bit worried as I’d heard World Dating Partners were the best for creating a system like this. I also looked at White Label Dating but wasnt sure they could cater for my needs. I’ve since heard that World Dating Partners has gone out of business and all their staff have left? No one answers their Head Office telephone and their website has’nt been updated since September 2008. Can anyone who deals/has dealt with them give me some advice if this is true as I don’t want to get stitched up or waste my time. Or even Mr Robert Fathers if he is involved in this blog? Thanks very much in advance for your help, Andrew.
    andygood_84@yahoo.co.uk

  10. Robert Fathers Says:

    Yes thank you Andrew.

    White Label Dating somehow got hold of our partner list, possibly through an ex employee, they then sent an email to all our partners saying that we are going bankrupt. Usually as you see in this blog i take a passive stand when White Label Dating Blog.

    But to be quite honest the over stepped the mark yesterday and with sufficient evidence now, they are being dealt with legally, there is a limit to what can be said.

    I have no idea why they seem so aggressive in their approach to us, we have done nothing directly to upset them.

    Speaking to many partners who have called me in the last 24 hours i can say they have probably done as much harm to their own reputation as well as ours.

    Of course World dating Partners is not Bankrupt or in liquidation or any other kind of financial difficulty. If White Label Dating want to get partner’s using this technique then it is a sad business we are in when it goes this low.

    We will see what happens from the legal point of view first.

    Just a comment to Tim as well, nice to hear from you again, I can quite honestly say that During the time that Tim was with us was a very successful one, Tim has a rare ability to solve problems and come up with some brilliant solutions. I hope Tim that you can call me again soon, would be nice to catch up.

    It would remiss of me by the way if I didn’t also at this point give a little prompt for our new affiliate system that will be launching on Friday. Using our Niching abilities affiliates will be given the chance to promote any of the 22,000 sites in our system, and choose the site by niche, country, language and all sites are listed by the highest converting, and the system will be on shared revenue as well as CPA. Please take a look later on http://www.worldatingpartners.com of all the applications that we have done in the past i am quite proud of this one. You will also be able to promote other large brands that use our services and can find sites set up and used by most of the major dating companies, they do this on our system to test other markets and their ability to convert within certain niches.

    Well I have had my plug and hope that you do not take notice of what White Label dating say in regards to us anyway. I know many of their partners leave to come back to us, because of our niching ability or shall i say that partners have their own ability to set filters to any niche that they want.

    I would be very happy to hear from anyone who has any further questions my number is public knowledge anyway, so you can call me on +447970760035 or catch e on Skype at conservatoire6523.

  11. Robert Fathers Says:

    Just a quick update for the Affiliate launch

    Our affiliate program will actually be going live tomorrow, so please visit our site at http://www.worlddatingpartners.com and check out the launch for the 19th August 2009.

  12. Andrew Goodman Says:

    No sign of any launch? Just an 11 month out of date website. And still no answer from the office, which does not fill me with trust. WLD answered their phones so i’ve gone with them. Thanks for your feedback though, best of luck with the ?launch?
    Andrew

  13. Ross Williams - WhiteLabelDating.com Says:

    Robert,

    Good to see you’re still at the helm of World Dating Partners.

    Let me be the first to absolutely refute your allegation - yes we were recently joined by an ex-WDP employee but we have certainly not used a partner list or contacted partners as you suggest.

    You’re very aware of the situation WDP is in and making libelous accusations in a forum like above will not help things.

    It’s not for me to disclose the issues you’re having, but equally libelous comments and lies from you don’t help the issue - the smoke is there for all to see:

    http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/c5deeaab604907b6326a65b694366871/wcprodorder?ft=1

    Don’t take libelous potshots Robert,

    Best wishes,

    Ross

  14. Tanya Fathers Says:

    Hi everyone here. Nice to see the former employees of WDP have something good to say even though they are not with the company any more. I guess I was the lucky one who seen the raise of World Dating Partners from a small dating site into a pioneering technology at the time. I was with the company since 2003 until early 2008, set up the development team in Ukraine who has so much praise now from Robert and was closely involved into creating the WDP system. Had to leave the position CEO of WDP for the obvious reasons. Thank you, Tim for living me nice comment on LinkedIn for helping you setting up your Kharkov office. The success of the company is its employees. Ross, you send the link to Company house about people resigning. But people and knowledge have not disappeared of the Earth have they? So watch the space.
    Tanya Fathers.

  15. Ross Williams Says:

    Indeed they don’t Tanya and I’m sure the tax man and software licensors will be watching with baited breath for the phoenix to rise ;)

  16. Tanya Fathers Says:

    Well I am sure taxman and software licensors may get busy soon, but history tells us that companies are being bought out, change,fail or disappear from the dating market for various reasons but the market never stays empty. And existing competitors do not always take up the space. Technology goes forward and those who think about the future get the benefits in the end. Some of your affiliates may do better then you one day :) So may be you have to put budget aside for software licenses too?

  17. Richard Hamilton Says:

    Don’t really like to butt into this cosy little slagging match. I’ve just noticed from this and a lot of other blogs that when ever White Label Dating are mentioned or criticised, the loyal John Ardman jumps to their defence with some sycophantic drivel about how fab they are.

    This was also the case on Techcrunch and a few other blogs. I, being naturally inquisitive, looked around and that great bastian of Social Networks John Ardman doesn’t appear to be on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin et al.

    Could John just be Ross’s alter ego or is he really called Frank?

    Come on Ross grow up.

    In Robert’s defense I’m a WDP partner and have always been paid. I also recieved an unsolicited e-mail from White Label Dating warning me to run over to them as soon as possible as WDP was about to collapse.

    I love competition as much as the next guy but some of these tatics that are being employed here are just pathetic.

  18. Michael Clayton Says:

    Hi All

    I have been in the singles business in Australian since 1980. I also develop single software. I have been with Robert Fathers and his company Singles Limited /World Dating Partners now Datech for 8 years I am an affiliate. I have been paid on every month with (one exception payments a bit late) and it’s now 2010 and I received my check for December a few days ago.

    At times software development has been too advanced as many people with old computer could not join my WDP singles sites. But apart from this fact the system is great. Support has always been great and I have full faith in current new management team.

  19. Gilf Hunter Says:

    Surely it’s about time the main protagonists here gave us an update on where WDP are now. Or not, as the case may be.

  20. Lestat Says:

    I currently have VampireLestat.com domain that I turned into a vampire/goth dating site in Feburary. Made $325 first month using GothicMatch.com affiliate program. Was thinking of switching to White Label Dating or World Dating Partners cause of the higher long term payout potential. And gothicmatch reverts to their label branding after few pages and members received their branding in emails.
    But, now I’m really confused as to who I might go with White Label or World Datng. Or, if I should just stick with GothicMatch and not go anywhere. Or, maybe I should sell the name. I was offered quite a bit for that name. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  21. JEFEELING Says:

    HELLO,

    Today April 11, 2010 I did try several time to contact WDP - Robert Fathers using their contact form - all prestigious companies are having listed emails for sales, technical support, etc. having nothing to hide, but being transparent and open.

    The result - despite of entered perfectly correct their Security Code every time, I was unable to contact them and ask serious questions as a potentisl new partner. I received an “Invalid Security Code” message.

    Because I believe Robert Fathers is a honest person, I’m asking him in the spirit of a business attitude to answer me:

    1. What is wrong with your system/software?

    2. For what business and common sense reasons you are not having listed emails for contacting the appropriate department of your company?

    3. How is possible to email you or your company for answering to my questions?

    $. Fair and honest, trying to put yourself on the other side - mine as a potential partner with good intentions, thinking to work with you - how will you feel? This first experience with WDP will give you trust and confidence?

    Thank you and I’m hopping for a professional and honest answer from Robert Fathers.
    Action, facts are telling the true, not nice worlds. I believe in a second chance before jumping to judge someting or someone.

  22. JEFEELING Says:

    Waiting more than 24 hours for your moderation is not a good sign.

    Please forget about my post, as I’ll forget about Robert Fathers and his company.

    Your lack of action for more than 24 hours is enough answer for me. Too bad, me and my group of friends had the inention to use WDT’s software for more than 100 web pages (domains).
    We will go with other company.
    I’m wishing you the same success I had trying to contact RF and you.

  23. Dating Developer Says:

    Everyone,

    Is there a way to actually see what profit some of these dating companies are making?

    I am looking for an affiliate to go with for our very large social networking base of customers, but need to see more hard facts about the financial state of some of these businesses before we can decide.

    Thank you for the help,

    Dating Developers

  24. LeavingWDP Says:

    I have been with WDP for about 2 years. It took time, but I was starting to make money. Then came, two bounced checks in a row. I posted my problems on WDP forum; they sent me another bad check. Needless to say, I was cheated by World Dating Partners. Once your dating niche sites start making money, they steal it and send bad checks. This was my experience as an affiliate of WDP.

  25. LeavingWDP Says:

    Looks like WDP is dissolved by the UK government:

    http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/8b75252a6685074640016217354ca3e7/compdetails

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