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Online dating still big business

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Tuesday March 14, 2006 )

A recent 35 page report from Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that online dating is not only alive and well, but gaining more credibility amongst the general population. Even though the majority of people surveyed still believe it to be a somewhat dangerous exercise the majority of respondents also felt that online dating was no longer the realm for the “desperate and dateless”.

Some of the key findings from the report:

– 15% of the general public state they know of someone who has married or engaged in a long term relationship with somebody they met online.

– 31% of adults in the USA state they are familiar with someone who has used an online dating service.

– 26% say they know someone who has dated someone through an online dating service

– 66% believe that online dating is dangerous due to the amount of personal data made available. because it puts personal information on the internet.

– 61% of adults who go online didn’t thank that users of online dating services are desperate people

– 11% of all online Americans state they have visited a dating site or other sites where the focus is on meeting people.

– Of those engaged in online dating, 17% have been involved in long-term relationships or wed a person they met on a dating site.

– 3% of all married American Internet user who are married or in long term relationships met their partners online.

– 52% of respondents stated that their experiences with online dating were mostly positive.

– 47% of all Internet users state that online dating services allow people to locate a more appropriate match due to the volume of profiles available.

Before you run off and start building your online dating destination, a few major players have really cornered the market for let’s say umm… “normal” dating sites. I don’t even want to touch on the more bizzarre dating destinations out there :). Given that credibility and trust is such a big issue with online daters, those sites that were established early on in the game and that have responded to users requirements as they evolved really have an edge.

Promoting a dating site is also very challenging – try any search engine and you’ll see what I mean. Paying for traffic can turn into a very expensive exercise. I just ran a few checks on PPC (Pay Per Click) networks and the costs on terms that came to mind were around the 60 cents to 1 dollar mark per click.

There is probably still some opportunity for very niche sectors – perhaps focusing on a specific hobby or number of hobbies and then partnering with associated forums may work well to get the ball rolling. Personally, I’d be looking at another industry altogether to get into for my next web project :).

Read more of the Pew Online Dating report (PDF)

Learn more about Pay Per Click


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