JDate is suing its non-profit competitor for its use of the letter “J” and the idea of using a smartphone application to match people anonymously.
JSwipe is a new free Jewish dating application for smartphones. JDate’s parent company, Spark Networks (NYSE: LOV), takes in more than $50 million a year in fees from their online dating network, including JDate, ChristianMingle, and BlackSingles. JSwipe, on the other hand, is a small team based out of a factory in Brooklyn, and “motivated by passion, inspired by impact, and committed to making love free” according to JSwipe’s founder, David Yarus.
Of course the letter “J” was not invented by JDate. It was introduced as a letter in its own right by the Italians around 1524. And online dating was not invented by JDate either. It was invented in 1965 by Harvard students Jeff Tarr and Dave Crump who founded Compatibility Research.
“From a Judaic ethics standpoint this lawsuit is inappropriate,” argues Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law. “Here we are talking about creating Jewish families that will have Jewish children. All the more so that we should encourage competition if the aggregate number of matches increases.”
My smart, eligible, handsome, son Jonathan uses both JDate and JSwipe. However, he has found that JDate is oriented more toward older singles (Jonathan is 21) while my tech-savvy son really enjoys JSwipe and has had an excellent experience with the application.
While JSwipe is a literally a free gift of love, I have paid the Spark Network $72 per quarter for more than a year to pay for Jonathan’s JDate membership. However, given Jonathan’s success on JSwipe, and JDate’s abuse of their position as market leader, I will now cancel Jonathan’s membership at JDate and contribute $180 of my future savings to JSwipe’s legal defense fund.
Perhaps JDate hopes to win this lawsuit not by the force of its legal arguments but by JSwipe’s lack of resources. If they can intimidate JSwipe then other Jewish dating sites such as Simontov, The JMom and My Jewish Matches are likely to fair no better.
To help Jewish singles, please contribute generously via Indiegogo to help crowd-fund the legal battle to keep JSwipe alive. (If you happen to be a lawyer interested in providing pro-bono legal support, you can contact JSwipe at [email protected])