Update: I took Secondwife.com for a test drive a year after writing this review. I’m sad to say they have barely improved. Almost none of my recommendations have been implemented.
- They still spend their time doing traditional TV interviews which is a huge fail because they are not in front of their target audience. Anecdotally, so many business owners say “traditional media does not move the needle.”
- They are still not leveraging content marketing to grow their user base. No blogs. No guest posts. No podcast or Youtube guest appearances on relevant Muslim shows. Inactive youtube channels (they have two.)
- The user-interface is still old-fashioned and clunky. Why haven’t they focused on a mobile-first user experience (e.g. Muzmatch?)
- Account quality is still very poor. A significant percentage of accounts are incomplete and inactive. And unless you live in the UK, there will be very few viable accounts in your geographic location to choose from.
If you’re in the U.K., secondwife.com is worth using. Otherwise, hard pass.
Secondwife.com is an affordable, high-demand service that does what it says on the tin but their technical execution and user experience needs to be improved.
I first heard about secondwife.com a little over a year ago through one of my teachers. I remember checking the site out but I didn’t sign up.
Over the past six months or so I’ve been seeing the founder, Azad Chaiwala’s beaming, bespectacled mug on several mainstream media outlets in the West. I love how he handles questions from non-Muslim journalists on polygyny. He really highlights the double standards of these so-called liberal societies.
Here, take a look at his recent appearance on Good Morning Britain:
About a year ago I had a series of guest appearances on HudaTV talking about the misconceptions around polygyny in Islam. In the following clip I echo some of the arguments Azad makes in his media appearances:
Check out how triggered these so-called liberals were after Azad Chaiwala’s appearance on Good Morning Britain.
- ‘THAT MAN SHOULD BE ARRESTED’ – Good Morning Britain viewers slam man behind polygamy website aimed at married men to help them find a second wife
- Man promoting second wife dating website blasted by Good Morning Britain viewers
- ‘I was born polygamous’: Outrage as Muslim who runs ‘second wife’ dating site says wanting multiple partners is as natural as being gay
I also noticed a trend online of Muslims mocking Azad’s spectacles and his last name. Many of these Muslims pay lip service in accepting Allah’s decree regarding polygyny but use every specious argument under the sun to reject its implementation.
Frack ‘em too.
Anyway, I was impressed by the way the team behind secondwife.com have packaged their product, so a few months ago I created an account and paid for a premium account. I had the Premium account for two months while I reviewed the site. My experience was hit-and-miss and I have a number of criticisms about the user experience.
Still, I’m aware that Software-as-a-Service (Saas) businesses go through continual, incremental improvements. So I forwarded my observations and criticisms to Azad Chaiwala to give him a fair chance to respond. He did. He answered all my questions and even implemented some of my suggestions to make the user experience more efficient. I have placed his response to my criticisms at the end of the post.
My review will cover three areas – user interface/user experience (UI/UX), profile quality, and marketing.
When you arrive on site you are greeted by this hero image and form.
After the sign-up process and completing your profile you end up with this:
1) They use usernames rather than real names for privacy, but you can pick a username that uses your real name.
2) Profile pictures are set to private by default and users can request to see your pictures.
3) My profile pictures are set to public.
4) This was worded deliberately. Keep in mind, I was reviewing the site so I wrote the profile in a way that would deter most women. I didn’t want any bints catching feels.
5) This is some great wordsmithing if I do say so myself. The punchline was ‘we get married, you pay your own way, and I split my time between both wives.’ One woman was so triggered by this she sent me a message cussing me out.
6) The private messaging system functions like your standard mailbox.
7) On a free account, you can message up to 5 people in a 24 hour period. The premium account has unlimited messaging, along with other features.
This is what the dashboard looks like.
8) All of these features can be accessed from the navigation bar, so this is a pointless change. In the previous iteration, the dashboard was a list of users currently or recently online. You could either scroll through the listed profiles or run a search. Now, the user has to perform an additional click to achieve the same result. That’s bad UI/UX design.
So, when we click on ‘search’ this screen loads.
9) These are the main search filters. I would rearrange these. Age range, ethnicity, and nationality aren’t deal-breakers. I’d be more interested in filtering for religiosity, whether they are open to moving, and whether they want to work after marriage.
10) The other search filters can be selected from this drop-down menu.
11) If you want to add a profile to your ‘favourites’ you can click on the heart symbol on a user’s profile summary. If you click on the heart symbol in the navigation menu you can see a list of people who have viewed your profile recently, who you have favorited, and who have favorited you.
Overall, the UI/UX is functional but clunky and old-fashioned. I hope they invest in improving it ASAP.
Here’s where they start to drop the ball.
12) The profile summary has a blurred out image, the username, the user’s age, his/her location, and a short blurb about themselves. Think about it from a reader’s perspective. When someone sees your summary, you want to grab their attention so they click through to read your detailed profile. How can you manage that with no picture and a blurb that, more often than not, is dull and nondescript?
I get that the Secondwife.com can’t do much about users not knowing how to write a good marriage profile. However, making profile pictures private by default is a terrible idea. Someone who doesn’t want pictures visible on his/her profile can already refrain from uploading any (look at the screenshots above.) They can also wear niqab if they don’t want to show their face – there are several profiles like that.
Ok, so let’s say I do a search for profiles with the location ‘United Arab Emirates.’ It returns 25 results, 60% of them inactive. Here’s one of the inactive profiles.
13) I saw this picture before they made the change to private-by-default. I have my suspicions that it’s fake. I remember seeing a profile picture that I was 100% sure was fake because the picture used was from one of my Twitter followers. Sadly, now they’ve made all the profile photos private by default, users can’t even report such behavior immediately.
14) This is another red flag. The profile location is listed as Dubai but is logged in from the U.S.A. Azad told me that this is a security feature to protect people from scammers.
15) The profile is inactive.
16) It is also incomplete.
I don’t have accurate figures but in my two months of using the site, I estimate that 30-50% of users are inactive or have incomplete profiles. This is something Azad and his team needs to address ASAP through user retention initiatives.
I also noticed a large number of profiles of irreligious women – women who don’t pray all their prayers (it’s one of the profile descriptors) and who don’t wear hijab. Ok, I get that these women want to get married too but is secondwife.com really the place they should be looking? A – men who are seriously looking for second wives aren’t looking for part-time Muslims. B – it’s a disaster waiting to happen – polygyny is difficult enough as it is without adding an irreligious woman into the mix.
Which brings me to my next point. There are several women on the site who are NOT looking for polygyny. Here are three examples.
I have my suspicions about several of the profiles that don’t come out and say it explicitly – young, never been married, profile reads as naive/immature. I doubt these women are on the site for polygyny.
One final point on the user profiles. The largest number of female users are in the United Kingdom. The number of users from other countries pales in comparison. This is another problem for people who are serious about polygyny – they are looking for something that makes logistical sense. If I have only 10 active users to select from in the UAE, what’s the point in paying for a premium account? Yes, I did do searches for users in nearby countries (GCC.) Again, it was a poor selection.
The combination of inactive accounts, incomplete profiles, terribly written profiles, a large percentage of irreligious women, and lack of selection really brings the overall experience down. However, I believe the experience will be much better for people in the U.K. just because there are so many more users from there.
Azad has been doing a good job getting profiled in the media, with several TV appearances and print features. While he does a decent job fielding some tough questions he always looks on the back foot. He needs to pay for professional media training, come up with script answers to every conceivable question, and practice those answers over and over again until they become second nature.
Aside from press, their marketing is almost non-existent, which is a shame, though not for lack of trying. Azad says they can’t run ads because the available marketing channels reject them. Still, we live in the age of social media, and they are doing badly there as well.
The secondwife.com Facebook page shows 3 posts in September but before that, their last activity was in June. Audience engagement isn’t that great either and it’s no surprise – the majority of the posts are announcements about media appearances. Twitter is even worse.
However, someone has been replying to @s in September so the account is active.
They have two Youtube channels – Secondwife.com and Practical Marriage Guide. Only the latter is active but the last video was uploaded a month ago.
Where is the blog?
Where are the success stories, testimonials, and case studies?
Overall, their online footprint needs a LOT of work. Azad told me they hired a full-time social media marketer so hopefully, they can turn things around here.
As it stands right now, I believe the current iteration of this service is turning away many potential MALE signups. Until you have a healthy ecosystem and ratio of genders you’ll find a lot of women signing up, not seeing any suitors, getting discouraged and logging off, never to return.
It’s worth getting a premium account if you are in the U.K. but for users from other countries, I recommend waiting a while until the service improves.
Here’s what I think SecondWife.com should do to 10X their business.
There needs to be a MUCH greater value add in paying for a premium account. The only real benefit is being able to see public pictures and message more people. That’s not worth paying $20 a month. Not even close. Use your imaginations, I’m sure you can come up with something.
Here’s a freebie – let premium users upload video profiles.
Profile quality needs to go up, fast. Create content that trains users how to write good profiles. Blogs or youtube videos, it doesn’t matter.
User inactivity is a problem. You need an effective onboarding process that keeps users coming back to the website.
And please, for goodness sake, add push and email notifications ASAP.
I would seriously rethink your strategy of using mainstream media as your primary marketing channel. What percentage of your target audience is reading or watching those pieces? I know you get a boost in signups whenever you have a media appearance but what percentage of those are serious users, as opposed to just curious?
I know you have a hard time with online marketing because the site is controversial, but here’s the solution.
Two words – content marketing.
You need a blog that puts out regular articles to solve your target audience’s problems. Do case studies of secondwife.com success stories. Teach people how to write good marriage profiles and how to take a good profile photo. Show them effective ways to go about the spouse-hunting process. Talk about ways to finance a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) family. And so on.
You also need to pitch guest posts to various Islamic websites and appear on Islamic podcasts and youtube channels.
This is where you need to spend your marketing budget – in creating high-quality content (articles, images, video) for your target audience. And if you are going to advertise, think of creative ways to do it. Why not advertise on an Islamic podcast or youtube channel? Or buy ad space on a popular Islamic website?
If I was you, I’d focus my efforts on blogging and creating youtube videos. Think of ways to incorporate the youtube videos in your blog posts. Or to use videos to drive viewers to articles in your blog. It’s all about creating synergy between your various content channels.
That’s the end of my review. Azad’s response follows. I have made minor edits to his answers to maintain flow.
Response by Azad Chaiwala
The website was created at the end of 2014. We got off to a slow start but in mid-2015 our signups started to increase greatly. The website went through two major revamps since then and now we periodically try to make updates every few weeks. The site was created by one man. Now we have a team of around 5 people working on it. Considering one person built the site it is fair to say he did well. But there are still significant updates we must make.
On Profile Quality
On our website it says our staff vets profiles for inappropriate content. This was a relatively easy task when we had a few thousand members but now we have 100,000+ and daily signups are more than what’s feasible to manually moderate. We now rely on users reporting profiles. We have also created a bot that scans profiles for specific keywords such as ‘sex’, ‘money’, etc. and reports profiles containing them for moderation. This is the first version of the bot and it’s doing OK so far but we are improving it to scan messages as well. We now don’t display user profiles which are less than 75% complete. If a profile is less than 75% complete they get a message asking them to update their profile or they won’t show up in search results. In the next update, we are going to prevent profiles less than 75% complete from viewing other profiles. Profile completeness will also require a minimum word count for the open-ended profile questions.
On Pictures set to Private by Default
Here, we took inspiration from PureMatrimony.com which is renowned for its decency. We want to avoid window shopping so profile images are automatically set to private. Everyone has the option to change their album to public if they want but we believe private-by-default is a better option.
On female users who are not interested in polygyny
There shouldn’t be anyone on the site that isn’t interested in polygyny. I will make this more clear on the homepage of the site in the future if it isn’t obvious enough already.
This is a huge problem for us. We have created radio, TV, and banner adverts but most marketing platforms refuse to accept us because of how controversial the site is. We even contacted the producers of polygamy shows like Sister Wives etc to see if we can sponsor them and they said no. They cannot be seen to be promoting polygamy. We aren’t even allowed to boost a post on Facebook! This is why we have been so aggressive with the media. We just hired a social media manager last week and he has been very active on facebook and twitter for secondwife.com and polygamy.com. We have a blog that is coming soon as well. We have been privately collecting success stories and we will publish them on the blog when that goes live. Just this week a male user from the US contacted me to say he has found a second wife using my service and I put him in contact with a journalist who is now interviewing him.
On their intentions and motivation
We genuinely believe in this service. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. We have been self-funding this project since the end of 2014. We have a six-figure marketing budget that no one will touch because of the reasons outlined in my answers above. Our true reward is getting people married. Every time we get a success story it gives us a huge boost and we feel like we are making a good change in the world. Subscription revenue is growing and more recently has been exceeding running costs. But to be honest, subscription revenue is about this business becoming self-sufficient. If we didn’t believe in the project we would have shut it down a long time ago. Fortunately, we are businessmen and have been very successful in other businesses, which allows us to pursue our passion for these sites. And we do genuinely believe they will be very successful. Money isn’t a problem.
Over to you, reader
What do you think of all this? Are you interested in trying out SecondWife.com? Leave a comment below and let me know.