www.ambiente.us FEBRUARY | FEBRERO 2011
Gaydar.net |Where people peek inside your personality –
as well as your pants!
Here’s the handle on Hendricks Hook-ups – From the Man
behind the Matchmaking
By John Sotomayor
Whether surfin’ for sex or surfin’ for love, the best above the rest for CupidsArrow
to find his BullseyeBottom is Gaydar.net. Hey, don’t take my word for it. Just ask
any of the over 5.6 million members anywhere in the world. Need more? Gaydar.
net currently reigns as the biggest and most established gay dating, social
networking and lifestyle website on the planet. Launched in the UK over ten years
ago, Gaydar swaggered onto American shores in 2009, packin’ several hundred
thousand existing US profiles — early joiners (via the UK portal) attracted not only
by Gaydar’s unique features and exotic members, but also by lifestyle sites
GaydarRadio.com and entertainment-oriented GaydarNation.com.
Gaydar.net has it all. Even GaydarGirls.com and GaydarU – for those in college
or starting off their new career. What Gaydar has that others like Manhunt and
m4m-world don’t is what they used to have – Phil Hendrick.
It’s true. After mastering his craft marketing and promoting Bacardi products for
Creative Field Marketing and national field marketing of the Tanqueray brand for
Schieffelin & Somerset, followed by more field marketing for Flair
Communications, Hendricks ventured into a new untested market on gay online
dating, for Advanced Communications, the parent company of m4m-world.com, a
pioneer in the gay dating space. Through his efforts in 2000 – 2003, m4m-world.
com expanded aggressively
publications and websites; extended brand through streaming video and e-
commerce site; and negotiated product placement in two feature films. And the
genius who once led m4m-world and Manhunt to success, now heads the North
American Market for Gaydar.net.
For over ten years, Hendrick’s branding leadership was at least partially
responsible for thousands of same-sex hook-ups in the modern arena of Internet
dating. Some call him the gay online guru. Here’s a unique look inside Hendrick’
s head – to gain a little insight from the man behind the matchmaking.
You have had quite a remarkable career in marketing and brand development
– particularly with m4m-world then Manhunt and now, especially with Gaydar
as the Head of the North America Market. You are billed as the gay online
guru. How does it feel to be personally responsible for all those hook-ups?
Phil | (laughs) I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing to take credit for. I’
ll take credit for the good ones that lead to something slightly more meaningful.
Smart man! Ok, as the leading expert then on gay on-line dating please share
with us, what are the origins of gay on-line dating services?
Phil | Gay online services grew out of two things – the phone lines that were quite
popular in the 90’s and newspaper personals. The phone sex lines were seen
as kind of dirty. The newspaper personals were always seen as slightly
desperate. And I think when the two kind of merged with technology, online
dating took off like wildfire as the actual technology did. As more people spend
more time online, the online hooking up phenomena became the norm. For the
great majority of both gays and straights.
Interesting. I understand Gaydar is the predecessor for all online dating, gay
and straight. Is that true?
Phil | We were definitely one of the original. Gaydar is credited with
creating the online profile, per se. You know, where you have a profile photo and
various information, answering different questions about yourself – allowing people to
peek inside your personality. Gaydar was one of the first online dating services – gay
or straight. Started back in 2000. They were definitely one of the first and definitely one
of the first internationally known gay dating website.
What are the origins of Gaydar?
Phil | There were two original owners. One was in finance. The other was a big geek.
They were dating and a friend of theirs was looking for a boyfriend. He was sick of
going out, had a string of bad luck at the bars. They kind of hashed together his idea to
find him a date. That’s where the idea and motive for the website stems from and took
off from there.
Like the plot of The Social Network where Mark Zuckerberg created the concept of
Facebook from rating girls at Harvard. Bored horny geeky guys find a good use of
Phil | Yeah, like that.
Innovation at its best. What does Gaydar offer that stands out among the rest?
Phil |Well, you have a real variety of men – different ages, shapes, sizes, colors. Also a
variety of guys looking for different things. Gaydar offers a great combination of guys
looking for a little quick, easy fun; guys looking for something more serious; and
everything in between. Which is what I think is one of the main strengths of Gaydar.
Also, the Gaydar profile is incredibly in-depth. You can have up to 26 photos. Add
video if you want. And a variety of questions, not just sexual in nature. Rather many
questions: what are your interests? Your favorite travel destinations, favorite books,
favorite movies. You get a real peek into someone’s personality – if they in fact want to
give you that peek.
Peaked my interest. Now how did you get started? I know before m4m you were
field marketing manager for Flair Communications and before that Key Account
Manager for Kevin Berg & Associates. How did you get started in this?
and was considered the
market leader. That is,
until Online Buddies –
parent company of
Manhunt – acquired him
from m4m-world. During
his five years at Manhunt
from 2003 – 2008
Hendricks led the growth
and development of the
site into an international
leader with 1,400,000
worldwide members, at
the time the world’s
largest gay personals and
increased revenue from $1
million to $20 million by
creating and managing
budgets including print and
online media buys in over
What are some of the lifestyle features?
Phil: The main lifestyle component on Gaydar is GaydarRadio.com
which is a streaming online radio station that is extremely popular – one
of the most popular worldwide. Plays mainly pop and dance. Really
cool, since it is based in London which always has the latest cutting
edge songs. So you get music that hasn’t hit the US market yet. They
also interview really great people – from Grace Jones to Lady GaGa.
They get 500,000 listeners.
Trailblazing! Like the Travel button. Finding new friends before you
travel – how convenient! Tell us about the Travel button?
Phil: It is a great tool of you are traveling to a new city, to a new country.
You can move your profile to the location you plan to travel ahead of your
trip so you talk to guys in that area. You can plan your itinerary easier.
Say you travel to Montreal in two weeks, can move your profile to Montreal
now and start chatting with guys in Montreal. As a social networking
aspect, can ask where are good restaurants or clubs. As a dating online
service, can look for hook-ups on a Saturday night. There is nothing like
getting to know a new city or country than through a local. Either as a
tour guide or a “tour guide with benefits.”
Is there any other kind of tour guide?
Can’t forget about our sisters. How is GaydarGirls.com measuring up?
Phil: Poor GaydarGirls. We don’t really give it as much time and energy
as we do the men’s site but it does keep on chugging along. It is
incredibly popular in the UK. It does fairly well in the US. And it has a very
loyal following. Last year was actually one of its most successful years.
We should see some improvements in terms of design, new features
and functionality in GaydarGirls sometime this year.
Look Him Up
Before You Go-Go
Unique to Gaydar is its
Travel button. Particularly
popular with solo travelers,
this special feature allows
members to flip dread of a
lonely stay in a strange city
to anticipation of good
company with new friends
on arrival. Click Travel
Itinerary, punch in your plans
and easily find new friends in
your destination city for
accommodations, a personal
tour, dinner or date before
leaving home. Conversely,
click Travelling Users and be
there to welcome a new
to your town.
Then there’s also something for the cash-strapped
student youth 18 – 23, GaydarU. How does that work?
Phil: About six months ago we were thinking of ways to
improve the site and we decided to totally offer the site for
free for anyone under 24. Because we know how tight
things could be when you are a student or starting off in
your career, so it was kind of our way of making it easier
for them to join. All we ask is for the member to fax in ID. It’
s a really great deal.
Gaydar seems to have thought of everything. What is
Phil: What is next … well we are actually working on re-
designing the site so in addition to improving the app and
the Android – we have just submitted version 2 of the app
to Apple – so that should be launched next week and the
Android should be launched in two weeks. We are re-
designing the site as well, giving it a whole new look and
feel – kind of a new coat of paint, so to speak.
Well splash away! We want what’s hot now – not
yesterday. Hey Phil, thank you so much for taking the time
from hooking up men with men and women with women to
talk to us. And a special thanks to Gaydar.net for making
social networking and on-line dating available – and
accommodating – to same-sex groups around the world.
CLICK HERE for more John Sotomayor
Copyright 2011 © AMBIENTE MAGAZINE.
Do not reproduce without citing this source
Half A Million Can’t Be
That’s how many listeners tune in
daily to Gaydar’s booming online
radio station, GaydarRadio.com.
Accessible to Gaydar members
as well as the general public,
GaydarRadio is a full-fledged 24-
hour radio station, with live on-air
hosts, the world’s best dance
music, hourly news, loads of
reviews and music videos (many
not available in the US!), and
interviews with top global pop
stars. Lady Gaga, Grace Jones,
Erasure, Adam Lambert, Joan
Rivers and UK dance superstar
Sophie Ellis Bextor are among
the many who’ve been featured.
Miss a show? Just click the
Podcast window to download a
full menu of interviews and DJ
GaydarRadio is just one channel
on GaydarNation.com, a lifestyle
website equal to its top American
counterparts, albeit with a
refreshingly British spin.
Additional channels completing
the package include Travel,
Entertainment, News (much of it
US), and Lifestyle (Health), but
new visitors are advised to start
with the aptly titled Fun channel.
Gay the day away clicking
through Totty Watch (= Hottie
Watch), Dykons (Dyke + Icon),
Quizzes, Video Wall (novelty,
humor, silly celebs), Q Scopes
and the he-larious Fun Stuff page,
home to short witty articles,
advice, pithy top 10 lists and the
brilliant Heroes and Villains series.
Something to bear in mind when
your best lesbifriend gives your
Gaydar-raving self the “shut-it” look:
If it worked for you, it could work for
her. Tell her to get her jealous butt
over to GaydarGirls.com and get to
clicking. It’s the world’s biggest
lesbian dating website with more
lesbian personals than she can
shake a stick at. Or something.
We’re Not Saying You’re
FYI: New Members Get A Free
Upgrade! As an extra incentive to
join, all new US members will receive
a free one month upgrade, which will
give them unrestricted access to
those 5.6 million Gaydar members,
all photos, videos and chat.
(laughs) You have done your research! Where did you get that?
Your resume is posted online.
(laughs) Oh yes, I should have known that shouldn’t I? (laughs again)
Wasn’t that hard.
(laughs) It’s not that hard … well, no – it shouldn’t be! It’s not supposed to be hard!
It’s suppose to be easy … I forget it’s up there.
So how did you get started?
It was probably 2000 I would say … well, you should know you have my resume!
(laughs) Yes, it was 2000.
A friend of mine from the gym knew I had a marketing and promotions background
and wanted to know if I would be interested in working with this new website that at
the time I have actually never heard of. I was a little apprehensive because it was at
the beginning of the entire online dating industry and I wasn’t sure where it would
go. I talked to a few friends who have actually heard of the site, a few actually used
the site and said good things about it. Met with the owners and thought it was an
interesting, challenging area with lots of potential. So I dove in head first and never
Is there any other way?
Ok, what are the trends?
Well, obviously Smart phones. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or a fortune
teller to figure that out. Last year, when my suburban sister in New Jersey got a
Blackberry, I knew it reached the saturation point. The smart phone market is only
getting bigger. So accessing the web from your smart phone is now the norm. We
just launched an IPhone app a few months ago doing really well for us. Traffic
literally doubles every week.