Archive for November, 2007

UK Swingers Sites: Users Online

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

As I’ve got lots of things to do this evening I thought I’d procrastinate by re-doing the check of members online which I last did in October this year.

Here’s the results:

Site Members Online
Swinging Heaven 3110
Adult Hub 1700
Local Swingers 1225
Fab Swingers 460
Swing2Us 57

When I last did this Swinging Heaven had 15 times as many members online as we did, the gap has now narrowed to less than 7. I’ve repeated this quite a few times and the ratio is fairly constant, which I guess is some backup for the other statistics.

Latest rankings

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Here’s the latest rankings from Alexa:
Alex Rankings

Our other data is backing this up, so I’m in a good mood!

The only negative is that I was about to do another big mailing but I think I’m going to have to pause briefly on it until I do a few server improvements. Given the timeframe I think I might just go for a memory upgrade which should buy me enough time to get the new code in place.

Pause on marketing, back to coding again

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

The good news is that page views and active members have continued to rocket but it’s hitting the server again. We briefly ran out of resources this afternoon and I’ve made some tweaks so I think that we should be okay until Christmas.

I really don’t want to give up on the software optimisation and just starting buying servers, so for now I’m going to park the marketing work and get back to improving the code. Currently I’m just under 8 million page views a month, I would like to get to at least 31 million page views a month on this single server. Given the results of my cache experiments I have no doubt that this is achievable.

In addition to performance there is beginning to be quite a list of other tasks that really need to be completed. There’s a lot of security improvements (such as steganography for uploaded photos), more linking between the profiles for SEO and the chatroom could use some work.

I think that this will probably be a couple of weeks work but given my schedule it will probably end up taking a month.

New competitors

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

I’ve now decided to remove both Swing2us and UK Swingers from my benchmarking as both sites have simply dropped out of the running. In some ways I’m a little sad as I’ve known both sites for a very long time. I guess in some ways it’s a warning to us all that you can be one of the top sites and then in a couple of short years end up not even in the top 10. Anyway, I’ve decided to replace these sites with and

Taking Swingfans first, this is a genuine community site which isn’t ran for cash. I think that it was where a lot of refugees from Swinging Heaven ended up when they introduced all the charges. Anyway, although we have more registered members than they do it looks like they have more visitors per day (by about 30%). Their Alexa rank today is 41,774. is a site that I’ve not noticed before but I like the way it’s been structured for SEO. Interestingly, I saw a forum post on their homepage which said “[ will] probably turn out like a load of other websites (not just sex orientated ones) i’ve been on their great for while everyone gets on no bother, but then as word spreads and it gets higher up in the search engines a lot o pillocks come into it”. It is a problem which I hope we will avoid. It’s Alexa rank is 102,414.

Adult Friend Finder Sold!

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

The rumour from TechCrunch is that Adult Friend Finder has been sold for $1 billion.

Given their revenue of $300 this might not seem much, AFF’s revenue is approximately 3 times Facebook’s but the valuation is 16 times less!

However I think that AFF probably had grown about as big as it was going to on its existing business model.

This is probably good news for us, as the normal situation is that the acquirer mismanages the company to such an extent that most of the users leave. On the other hand, AFF is a great revenue source for us and it would be a pity to see that dry up.

memcached first numbers in!

Monday, November 12th, 2007

I’ve just done some initial benchmarking for displaying a profile using memcached.

At the moment, on my MacBook, it takes about 18 ms to display a profile. Using memcache instead this drops to 0.4 ms, in other words it’s 180 times faster.

These tests were conducted with python-memcached which is the pure-Python interface because I didn’t immediately manage to get the C interface working. However I probably don’t need to bother with this right now given the performance gain.

Of course not all of the pages on the site are suitable for memcache but I would think about half the total pageviews could be.

Updated Alexa and Google PageRanks

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

It’s nearly two months since my last benchmarking, so here we go again:

Alexa Rank PageRank Site
65 7 AdultFriendFinder
11,274 4 Sex in the UK
12,268 3 Swinging Heaven
13,118 4
52,664 3 TheAdultHub
71,670 2 Local Swingers
128,952 3 Fab Swingers
222,096 2 Swing2Us
391,802 0 UK Swingers

The big story here is that Sex in the UK continues to rocket and has even overtaken Gaydar to become the number one dating site in the UK according to Hitwise.

Local Swingers and The Adult Hub continue to plumet being punished by the huge marketing spend of Easy Date (Sex in the UK’s owner) and the community surge behind Fab Swingers. The Alexa rankings quoted are the three month averages, but it’s clear that the position is even worse for them over the last month and indeed Fab Swingers is in the top 100,000 based on our last month.

Dear old Swinging Heaven and has now began to drop down the table and I’d be surprised if it’s not been beaten by SDC when I next do these rankings.

UK Swingers has now declined so far that I’m inclined to replace it with another site unless it significantly improves before next time.

Thinking about the bigger picture, one of the questions I often ask myself is whether Fab Swingers is like easyJet — which didn’t simply snatch customers from British Airways but it actually grew the market because suddenly lots of people who couldn’t afford to fly were able to. Alternatively it may be the case that there is a fixed swingers/sex-dating community and it’s a pure zero sum game with every gain of a member for Fab Swingers another site’s loss.

Looking at the series of benchmarks the obvious conclusion to draw is that the latter applies and that all of the astonishing gains that Fab Swingers has experienced has been directly paid for by the decline of the other sites.

How important is Google anyway?

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

My key term used to be UK Swingers. If I do a search for “uk swingers” on Google I get my old favourite of Swinging Heaven followed by UK Swingers in the number 2 spot. This tells me a few things.

First off, the only reason that Google could possibly be favouring a low traffic, very poor quality site like UK Swingers over Fab Swingers is due to age.

Secondly, PageRank is really not that important, Fab Swingers has a PR of 3 verses 1 for UK Swingers.

Thridly, repeating the term frequently still seems to deliver some gain. The term “uk swingers” is repeated 11 times on the UK Swingers homepage in addition to being present in the URL.

And finally to answer the question I started with, being number 2 for searches for “uk swingers” is obviously not much of a big deal in terms of building up a lot of traffic as UK Swingers has an Alexa rank of 378,670 compared with Fab Swingers rank of 137,428.

I actually think that creating a brilliant site and getting lots of word-of-mouth recommendation is much better than ranking high on Google.