Maybe even dating sites deserve to find a special someone at one point in their lives… it looks like Badoo, the UK-based dating site, has joined forces with U.S. rival Hot or Not, with Badoo inking a white-label deal to power the smaller site.
The two have yet to issue a formal release of any kind, but Hot or Not now boasts the same amount of registered users as Badoo (146 million+), and Hot or Not now directly refers users to Badoo’s terms and conditions (pictured below). There have been a few observed signs from users, too…
Someone who moderates on Hot or Not posted a question to Yahoo Answers saying that her moderator login now goes directly to Badoo. And the pop-culture blog PopCannon noted on Twitter that Hot or Not had changed “once again” and that the ratings had disappeared with the appearance of Badoo branding on the site.
Hot or Not’s Facebook fans, meanwhile, are now Badoo’s as well.
Badoo is the bigger of the two sites, and says it currently has users across 180 countries.
While Badoo bills itself more as a social network than a straight dating site, and Hot or Not is more of a game-like ratings site, you can see how the two might complement each other as Badoo expands out the features it offers to users.
You can also imagine that as time goes on, networks like these need scale to survive — another reason they might be joining.
We are reaching out to both companies to try to figure out what is going on and will update as we learn more.
Update: This is very much a scale play for both Badoo and Hot or Not. Badoo has confirmed to us that this a white-label deal, in which it is effectively powering Hot or Not’s service on its behalf. It is not disclosing any financial terms.
This deal signals another direction for Badoo’s growth: as a backbone, B2B provider for other social networks. Other sites that also use Badoo’s service like this include
icq.com, gentemessenger.com and clubnx.com. Whereas icq has kept a lot of its own branding in the process, the other two have basically been Badoo-ified. Badoo says it got this wrong: it no longer works with icq.com.
On the link up with Hot or Not, a spokesperson tells us the deal was attractive for two reasons. The first is that it gives Badoo more headway into the U.S. market, as this is the first white-label deal signed by Badoo in the U.S.
The second is that Badoo already had a product, Encounters, that worked similar to the photo ratings game on Hot or Not. “We thought we could build on the Hot or Not game and add additional features to make the site even better for Hot or Not users,” she said.
The change happened over the weekend, and Badoo is still working out a few bugs. “Once we’ve got that sorted, Hot or Not users will be notified of the change,” she added. “While some of the features may look different, ultimately, Hot or Not users will come away with a lot more functionality–like more messaging and search features.”