Besides being a serial web entrepreneur, Ross Williams is founder and CEO of WhiteLabelDating.com, the most successful private online dating business in the United Kingdom. I follow and comment on White Label Dating’s blog, and first heard of him through it. I thought it’d be great for our readers (not to mention kind of a coup!) if I could get him to do an interview for us. It took a little wrangling and back-and-forth, but I managed to pin him down to answer a few questions in the end.
Read on for an insight into the mind of a sharp guy and one hell of a businessman who is really living the dot-com mogul dream…
Hi Ross, thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions, I really do appreciate it. When I was doing research for this interview I found a lot of information about your business activities, but not much about you as a person. What can you tell us about your life outside of the White Label Dating universe?
Well, there’s an online bio to be found at http://www.rosswilliams.com which goes through my background before starting WhiteLabelDating.com. I was awarded an organ scholarship at my school, then was lucky enough to be chosen by the Royal Air Force for a Flying Scholarship, where the RAF paid for me to learn how to fly.
At University I studied Psychology and French before setting up my own website design company and then WhiteLabelDating.com.
Outside of work I really enjoy travelling – which is great as we’re expanding into the USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia so I get to travel a lot with work at the moment to meet our partners in these territories.
I’m also a big car fan – I’ve been lucky enough to have a few TVRs (British hand-made sports cars) and Aston Martins. Now I’ve got a lovely Aston Martin DBS and a new Morgan Aeromax being delivered next year.
I saw in an interview you gave in mid-2007 that your objective for 2008 was to make WhiteLabelDating.com the #1 white label dating provider online. Have you achieved that goal yet? If not, why not? If so, how did you do it?
Absolutely, without a shadow of doubt. There were two main competitors in the white label dating space, but we’ve never lost a partner to either of them whilst they’ve both lost most of their partners to us.
I think we’ve become the best white label platform by focussing on our people rather than our technology. Other companies have tried creating a very highly engineered platform which was simply over-engineered for the task required.
We’ve got a good, strong, very high-converting platform coupled with excellent account management – I’ve got a team of a dozen account managers who look after our partners, with a very very low number of large partners for each account manager. This means my partners can dedicate a lot of time to their partners – in some cases, up to one day out of five will be dedicated to a single partner.
This means that our partners earn more money with us than anyone else – which is why we’re the number one.
What thing or things do you enjoy most about your position as WLD’s CEO and why? What attracts you to the dating industry in general?
Well, I have a fantastic team around me – I employ 65 staff full time in our UK Headquarters – and we have a great environment, working together, earning good money and helping people find fun and love online.
The dating industry is fantastic – it’s still got enormous potential to grow and I’ve no doubt that it will become the main way that people will find love. It’s a growing, profitable business to be in – and it’s great receiving testimonials from members who have found love through one of our partners sites.
It’s also good to know that we’ve allowed hundreds of partners to give up their full-time job and enjoy a better quality of life, working where and how they want to work to run their dating site and earn more money than they could ever earn in full time employment.
We’re paying some partners in excess of $350,000 per month now in revenues – that’s great for them and I really enjoy seeing them grow and knowing we’ve helped make a difference in their lives.
What do you think is the most important advice that someone considering starting a white label dating site should receive?
VISIT THE PLATFORM PROVIDER – most of our new partners originally start their site on another platform which promised them a massive revenue share or all the marketing support they’d ever need – the problem was, their site didn’t convert and didn’t make money, so they earned a high share of very little money.
Some disreputable companies will promise the world, but it’s you who needs to pay for the marketing and take the risk, so make sure you meet with the people in person, meet with their customer support team, development team (who will provide your users with new features) and ideally meet with some of their current partners as well.
Whatever you’re promised, remember that if done right, starting a white label dating site will be the best thing you do and could give you the freedom to live your life how you want and earn what you want. So don’t get stung by unscrupulous companies who don’t have the resource to back you up.
What do you think really separates WLD from its many competitors? What’s your unique selling proposition?
Our people – anyone who saw us in Miami or has come to one of our partner events will know that we’ve got a great team who are genuinely passionate about dating and helping our partners.
We’ve got 65 staff at present, still growing by about 5-10% per month – one of our competitors has one member of staff in the UK and a few unpaid developers in the Ukraine. The other competitor only has a few people in the UK and most of their people are also in the Ukraine – that particular competitor competes with it’s partners as well by promoting their own-brand sites to members.
Any plans for WLD you’d like to share with us? Any shout outs or additional comments?
There’s certainly some plans I’d love to share here, but all in good time – we blog regularly on our site at www.whitelabeldating.com and will be announcing some very exciting news for our partners in September 2009 – quite simply, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!!