Match.com’s Brittany Perez sat down with Hispanic Executive to discuss her leadership in the dating site’s legal department.
Match.com is all about finding a perfect match in a partner. Why is the company the right fit for you?
I was always interested in law but never thought I would end up where I did. I majored in philosophy before law school and worked at a large firm in corporate mergers and acquisitions for four years when I heard about the opening at Match. The opportunity was attractive because it was a known brand and I was interested in the work. I jumped to apply not knowing the company received more than 400 résumés.
You got an interview and eventually the job. How did you stand out?
I think my credentials were excellent. I had top grades, experience at a respected firm, and a good recommendation from a partner. Most of all, though, my diversity played a part. I had studied abroad in Argentina, and my knowledge of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture would be helpful for Match’s Latin American operations.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about Match.com?
Most people don’t realize that we are part of a big family of companies. Match is the original online dating site, and we are by far the biggest name in our space. We actually own a ton of other brands. For example, OurTime.com is our 50-and-over site. We also own OkCupid and Tinder. I can say with confidence that Match.com has changed the dating landscape over the past two decades.
What areas of law are most important to your work?
Marketing law is big because it affects how we get new customers and drive revenues. We want users to come to our site and either pay for a subscription or view paid ads. My team has to review marketing copy, protect our brand, and make sure we’re complying with laws. Another main area is contract law.
How closely do you work with other departments?
We don’t use an outside ad agency, we do most of that work in-house. So when we think of a new campaign, our marketing people will run a concept by me or explain what they’re trying to do. We’ll meet and work together. When they have actual copy, I review it.
When you do these reviews, what are you looking for?
I consider whether something is an objectively verifiable statement and if all their statements comply with laws and guidelines. It’s an important process. The most critical thing is to stay connected to all business areas. We ask for regular updates from the business team so we can understand what they’re doing and how products are changing. Really knowing your product is key to figuring out how to manage legalities and to identify the best way to move forward.
You’re operating in a crowded field. How can you safeguard the Match.com brand?
Aside from our users, our brand is the most valuable asset we have, and there are definitely people trying to trade on our brand. Maybe it’s with an app in the App Store that uses some of our assets or another website. We are very diligent about policing the marketplace. We just have to watch what others are doing and stay competitive. Technology drives what we do, but it can also challenge us. We monitor what people are saying about our brand on websites and social media.
The Match.com Profile
From: Headquartered in Dallas, TX
Loves to Travel: Match operates in 25 countries, 8 languages, and 5 continents
Friends: Match has over 2 million core subscribers
Age: 25% of subscribers are under 30, 49% are 30 to 40, and 26% are over 50
Golf: The top keyword women search for in men’s profiles
Want Kids: A common criteria users list as important but end compromising for
1 in 5 of all relationships begin online
Between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Match.com registrations increase by 30%
What are some other key challenges you face?
We have to move quickly to keep up with new laws and regulations. There’s a law in Illinois, for example, that requires disclosures on our site in 12-point font. More of our users are accessing content on mobile platforms. We have to adjust accordingly and do as well as we can for the consumers while still meeting strict regulations that can vary state by state.
How big of a concern is privacy?
It’s huge. We’re always looking for better ways to make sure we’re protecting our clients across all platforms. Technology is changing the way people use the Internet. Five years ago, I never knew I would see ads specifically targeted to me as I surfed the Web. Internet advertising is still new, and on one hand you have lawmakers who are suspicious of the tracking and information sharing that companies do. But on the other hand, consumers want to see displays that are relevant to them. How do we address these competing concerns? Regulators may want companies to ask consumers to opt in to targeted advertising, but the consumer likely won’t care. In many ways the online advertising environment feels like the Wild West.
So how do you move forward in that kind of environment?
You have to stay diligent and be nimble. You have to do the best you can with the information available and stay up to date on all changes on a moment-to-moment basis.
What do you like best about working for Match?
I thrive on the changes, so I love this environment. Another perk I especially enjoy is that there is no dress code. It’s ages apart from the more conservative law firm environment I once worked in. I like that it’s collaborative across departments. We have developers next to tech engineers next to creative next to lawyers. It’s a neat place.
What advice can you offer Latina lawyers looking to rise in the field?
Never stop learning, and never think you have to be a specialist in one area without knowing the others. You never know where you might end up. Have your principles, but be aware of the politics and personalities.
How has Match changed the world of online dating?
We busted the stigma. These days, everyone knows a couple that met on Match.com and maybe went on to get married.
What are some keys to a good profile? What are people looking for?
Photos. Please have photos—and not shirtless ones. And be descriptive in your profile.
What are the biggest mistakes people make in creating online profiles?
Never updating your profile. Search results queue you to the front if you update often. A big complaint we hear from men is that women, in-person, don’t look like they do in their photos. Don’t lie. Give people a reason to contact you.