This week we examine a case from a service industry. Now that you’ve read Porter’s article about the Five Forces, you’ll notice in your reading that you may wish to define the industry for yourself, including aspects that identify some companies as competitors, others as providers of substitutes. What do you think distinguishes these? How you define the industry will affect how you determine its driving forces and how you categorize them (favorable or unfavorable). Think about possible industry characteristics. Given the information in the case, what characteristics do you think take priority?
A few months ago, while attempting to find a shortcut to the University’s online graduate Engage Learning Management System, I typed the word, Engage, into my browser’s address bar on a family member’s iPad and hit enter. Imagine my surprise when the web page for ChristianMingle.com loaded instead of our learning management system. Because of this and a few other examples I describe here, I'm convinced that the online dating (matchmaking) industry is as prolific as last year's zucchini harvest.
Each time I read this case, it reminds me (once again) of the movie, You’ve Got Mail, a romantic comedy in which the story uses the online dating industry (then in its infancy) as a vehicle to connect the two main characters. We viewed a clip in class, remember? Believe it or not, the popularity of the movie, released in 1998, became a boon to the long stigmatized at the time online dating industry.
For our purposes, it contains several elements and examples relevant to our course. In addition to showing the industry in a positive way and helping to boost to industry acceptance, the first 15 minutes of the movie depict examples of businesses practicing the specific generic st