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“Meet people who share the same spiritual beliefs as you!” That’s what it says on the homepage of Christian daiting site BigChurch, but apparently they’re not referring to their ownership. Newsweek revealed that BigChurch.com is operated by the social-networking giant Various, Inc., which was purchased in December by the Penthouse Media Group.
In addition to BigChurch, the Penthouse/Various company also operates social networking sites for swingers, homosexuals, and of course pornography. (See the Newsweek article if you want more details.)
The online match-making industry is very profitable, and the way to successfully get a piece of that action is to create dating sites that focus on a specific niche, such as Christians. Focusing on a niche causes users to feel like they’re among like-minded people, that they can be more open about who they are, and they are more likely to find a person who shares their values.
BigChurch has tried to target the Christian singles in a number of ways. The homepage includes Christian-sounding phrases like “Brining people together in love and faith.” It includes a quote supposedly from a happily matched Christian couple, “I feel blessed to have met Shawn on BigChurch.com. I feel like my prayers of finding a respectable man have been answered! Thanks BigChurch!!” The site even quotes scripture on the homepage, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24
It seems to have worked as BigChurch claims to have a half million Christian members worldwide.
In an interview published yesterday on WebProWorld, Penthouse Media Group CEO Marc Bell didn’t seem to see any incongruence saying it was like owning two separate businesses. Bell also apparently dismissed the idea that BigChurch members would take issue with the site’s ownership.
What do you think? Do you have a problem with a Christian dating site being owned by a company that produces porn?
BigChurch members – will you continue or will you cancel your membership?