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Online Dating: How Popular is it and How Does it Work?

Just how popular are online dating services? There are many indications of popularity on online dating services. I just ran a check on Google for the search term “online dating”. It came up with over 42 million entries. Now obviously these are not all Lavalife or eHarmony but this number has been growing on a daily basis. Online dating is a viable business that has become big business. With over 4 million Americans using the services on a daily basis, there is lots of room for profit. A research study showed that 15% of Americans who surf the net are going to online dating sites.

As an example of what is offered, we will look at the two largest online dating services online. Yahoo Personals and Match.com will both let prospective users browse the listings freely but to communicate with another customer or potential date, you have to pay the monthly fee of $25 for Yahoo Personals and $30 for Match.com. A recent entry from Google in the online dating service at dating-google.com offers three different plans. These plans are free (basic browsing), Silver (browsing plus contact opportunities) for $18.95 per month and Gold (Silver plus top listings for profiles) for $22.95 per month or $48.95 per quarter.

The large majority of the 42 million plus entries listed in Google are free. They earn their money through selling advertising on their sites. They provide services advising on how to get a good match. They will offer things like searching for age groups (20s, 30s, etc). Some of them run contests and quizzes all in an effort to get more eyeballs seeing their sites. The on-site advertising has a much better chance, the more people who go there.

Another technique to pull customers in is offering a free trial. Engage.com is a good example of this. They offer a free 6 month trial to prospective customers so that they can thoroughly check out the service. Engage.com has a unique plan wherein you can register as a “dater” or a “matchmaker” or both. Another unique concept is that you as a matchmaker can recommend someone who isn’t a member of Engage.com. When you register and give them your profile, the profile will be checked and assigned either a “thumbs up” icon or a “thumbs down” icon to let you know how well you are doing.

Within the 42 million listings for “online dating” are companies that just post personals, similar to newspaper personals, only online. One example of this is Google Base. Google Base is a listing of classifieds such as real estate, vehicles, and personal profiles. Another technique is to have customers recommend other people. This is how Greatboyfriends.com works. The name is a bit misleading since they handle both men and women but if you type in Greatgirlfriends.com, it will redirect you to Greatboyfriends.com. You can either recommend someone or search for dates yourself. The charge is $20 per month.

One of the sites that let you set up a blind date is Match activity. Users use tags to post preferences and hobbies or activities. The more details you put in the profile, the more chance that someone with the same interests will contact you. The basic site is free but there is a charge on $8 which gives you the right to communicate with any prospective dates.

It isn’t always about dating; it could be just seeking out potential friends with similar interests in your locality. There are a number of sites that operate this way. This kind of dating/social networking site allows you to post activities in a public area to be browsed by other members. Services such as Socialgrid.com or Passionsnetwork.com are good examples of this form of online dating.

Mingle2.com allows you to send emails to other members. It works on the premise that members are the ones who decide who would be a good date. One good thing about this site is that it is totally free. The sign-up process is easy and takes less than a minute. They have filters such as age, gender, and locations. With singles forums and chat, there is always something there.

Another 100% free dating site is Plenty of fish. With upwards of 300,000 logins per day, there is always lots of choice for browsers. One of the unique features at this site is the power to block users from contacting you. Users can also set up groups of people that they don’t want to hear from.

These sites offer lots of services, some for free. Their basis for dating involves matching activities between users. This gives everyone using the service a basis for setting up a date. A lot of sites also support matchmaking.

“in your relationships with others, remember the basic and critically important rule: if you want to be loved, be lovable” ken

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Listed: July 29, 2008 1:53 pm