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Manhunt.net edged out Gay.com as the top LGBT Web site in the country by more than 2 percent in market share last week.
“The tortoise has finally passed the hare,” said Jonathon Crutchley, a founding partner of the Boston-based Manhunt.net, in a statement. “We did it the old fashioned way, building a business city by city, making ourselves part of the local gay communities through partnerships with gay nightclubs, bars, businesses, and especially through outreach to the health community. We didn’t have millions of dollars of other people’s money to throw at marketing.”
Manhunt scored 21.4 percent market share of the online LGBT community in the final quarter of 2006, a 5-percent rise from last year (16.62), according to Hitwise.com, a web-tracking agency. Gay.com fell from 32.7 percent market share in 2005 to 19.01, losing close to 13 percent of their hold of the online LGBT community.
Jay McDonald of Belleville still prefers Gay.com, though, because of the chat rooms and the vast information available. “Manhunt is more of an IM (instant message) based system plus it doesn’t allow you to be a member on it without a pic, where Gay.com has open room chat with no picture requirements, plus all the gay news that you could want.”
But keeping the site simple is part of Manhunt’s success, said Larry Basil, a founding partner, in a statement. “We are a focused site for gay men who want to chat with and meet other gay men. There are no politics, fashion or gossip on Manhunt.net. We keep things simple; a strategy that has worked for us.”
Even though Mark Maretti has a Gay.com and Manhunt profile, the drama in Gay.com chat rooms toots his horn.
“I find it funny that most guys here are looking for short term answers to their long term issues by hooking up,” Maretti said. “That is all they are looking for on Manhunt, no matter what they say in their listing.”
Patrick Lagua of Ypsilanti prefers Gay.com because of the live chat room, but even though a friend convinced him to join Manhunt, he’s only surfed it once. “I don’t even know what my password/username is on there anymore,” Lagua said.
But both sites are just meat markets to him. “At least Gay.com pretends not to be a meat market,” he said.
Not everyone logs on for a quickie, Basil said. But Manhunt, which attracts about 22,000 users per night, encourages members to be as free, honest and sexual as they desire, according to a statement from Project Publicity.
“In rural areas especially, Manhunt.net has become the neighborhood bar,” Basil said.