You might not use Zoosk, an SF-based internet dating service with tens of millions of dollars VC backing. But you've almost certainly been annoyed by one of its primetime ads—you know, the one where a woman takes dating advice from a heart-shaped pillow. It turns out one its top execs doesn't use it, either.
According to LinkedIn, Jeff Knight is a "founding engineer" at Zoosk, and currently its "Director of Client Applications." According to a travails of modern dating blog run by his girlfriend, he's also an avid user of OkCupid, a direct Zoosk competitor. The two are an OkCupid success story, the kind of marketing IAC dreams of:
I sent him a message asking which social network he worked at. He replied:
"That's actually a very funny story. I can answer it now, or I can save it for our dinner, I'll let you decide."
I told him I could probably figure it out, since I already had, so he might as well tell me. He was completely upfront about it so I asked if he was doing research or actually supporting a competitor. To this he replied, he was actually using OKCupid for its intended purpose. I was a little skeptical, but willing to see if there was a blog post in the whole story.
Now they're Facebook official, and seem happy. Which is great! But it's not a great sign for Zoosk, which has been struggling for years to establish itself outside of its gimmick: a dating service that links up with Facebook. Investment cash hasn't been able to elevate Zoosk to the heights of OkCupid, Match, or eHarmony, or catch the casual zeitgeist-horny appeal of Tinder. It's also called "Zoosk," which is its own godawful liability.
Though, probably not as big a liability as a guy ostensibly in part responsible for pushing e-love on Zoosk customers finding love in the e-arms of a top rival.
Update: A Zoosk rep emailed me to say Knight is barred from using Zoosk by virtue of being an employee:
At Zoosk, we have a policy stating that employees with access to user data on Zoosk cannot date on Zoosk, in a proactive effort to protect our members. This is a responsibility we take extremely seriously. Jeff is one of the few engineers who this applies to.
That makes sense, but still paints OkCupid as a winning way to fall in lurve.