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Online Dating Business

Updated on January 26, 2014

Online Dating Business Sites - Online Dating Agencies

Match.com is the dominate player in the online dating business… but there are plenty of other companies ready to snatch away a large portion of the revenue including eHarmony, AmericanSingles, Yahoo Personals, Dating.com, and free services like PlentyofFish.

Online dating is big business… over a billion dollars a year, and the product is you! Think about that for a moment. With no real product to manufacturers, and a couple of computers, an internet connection and some software anyone can get into the online dating business… but few will succeed. Why? Because it takes so much marketing expertise to create and market an online dating site that will draw enough visitors to sustain profitability. In short, the market is now saturated.

So why isn’t Facebook or MySpace killing online dating? Because people using those services are not looking specifically for partners… whereas if you join a dating service online you know for sure the intentions of the other party is partnership, sex, and romance and not just chit chat. MySpace is actually an active buyer looking for the right opportunity as online dating is complementary to social networking.

Why do people use online dating services? Think about this for a moment. As we are young we go to school and have opportunities to meet people, all day every day. High School through College… but once we are into the job market full time those opportunities vaporize. Our lives and social circles become small because we have so little time to devote to socializing.

Doesn’t it seem ironic that the most important things in our lives suddenly get the least amount of time dedicated to them? It’s almost as our lives become linear – Point A to Point B… we arise, go from our home to work (A to B). From work we go to lunch then back to work (A to B, then B to A). After work we drive home. So you get the idea. Our lives become a series of necessary, but non social events in order to gain the income to pursue the things that make us happy and/or sustain our existence.

We simply do not have the time to pursue relationships and the opportunities we had when we were younger are no longer there. Plus we are tired from working all day and we still have to worry about things like dinner, sleep, groceries, etc. Many people simply give up on meeting new people and are content with the small group of friends they have from work or social organizations like church.

For others this is simply not enough. We want to meet new people and find that person that is right for us. This is where the Online Dating Business has exploded. Filling the gap between peoples desires to get out and mingle and meet new people and the reality of not having the time or energy to make it happen.

How hard is it to sit down at your computer after supper and browse a couple hundred profiles of people in your area? Not hard at all. And most people are in fact willing to spend a dollar a day to make that happen. It becomes a form of entertainment and feeds the hope of meeting a partner that is not within our existing circle of social relationships.

So where are people turning for Online Dating?

Match.com – Match.com (Largest) is the largest online dating business with 20 million members and is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp. You shouldn’t be surprised to learn IAC owns Chemistry.com, CitySearch, Ask.com, Reference.com, Exite.com, Iwon and a host of other well known brand names. It’s big Corporate America. They do not build these companies, they acquire them then leverage their marketing expertise. IAC has the marketing muscle, money, and technology to push themselves to the top. But the reason they are winning is YOU… nobody wants to join a dating site that has only a handful of members.

Sparks Networks Inc. (5th Largest) the owner of American Singles (1.9 million users) is a huge player in the Online Dating Marketplace. They own a lot of tightly defined “niche” dating sites including the following:

  • AmericanSingles.com
  • AdventistSinglesConnection.com
  • AsianSinglesConnection.com
  • BBWPersonalsPlus.com
  • BlackChristianSingles.com
  • BlackSingles.com
  • CanadianPersonals.net
  • CatholicMingle.com
  • ChristianMingle.com
  • CollegeLuv.com
  • Cupid.co.il
  • Date.ca]
  • Date.co.uk
  • DeafSinglesConnection.com
  • Facelink.com
  • GreekSinglesConnection.com
  • HurryDate.com
  • IndianMatrimonialNetwork.com
  • InterracialSingles.net
  • ItalianSinglesConnection.com
  • JDate.co.il
  • JDate.co.uk
  • JDate.com
  • JewishMingle.com
  • Kizmeet
  • LatinSinglesConnection.com
  • LDSMingle.com
  • LDSSingles.com
  • MilitarySinglesConnection.com
  • Moretolove.com
  • PrimeSingles.net
  • SingleParentsMingle.com
  • UKSinglesConnection.com

So the next time you think that that little dating site has your interests in mind because like you they are a member of a little community, think again… it’s probably just a corporate site in business for a profit.

Singles.Net – (2nd Largest) – they claim to be bigger than Match.com but they are basing their numbers on “hits’ not membership or revenue. Match.com has 20 million members.

Yahoo Singles – (3rd Largest) – What can you say about Yahoo?

eHarmony – (4th Largest) is probably the expensive service and focuses on matchmaking and that is what sets them apart from the other dating business sites. They may actually be the #2 or #3 site if you base your ranking purely on the amount of money they make.

Plenty of Fish – This is the most popular “Free” online dating business… but they actually make more net profit than the Sparks Network! Profits come from online advertisements they run on the site. What is surprising about Plenty of Fish is that even though it’s free it’s primary demographic is not the poor, they actually appeal more to a more affluent user.

Another huge player is the Adult Friend Finder Network which includes:

  • Alt.com
  • Amigos.com
  • Asia FriendFinder
  • Big Church
  • Bondage.com
  • FastCupid.com
  • Filipino FriendFinder
  • French FriendFinder
  • FriendFinder
  • Gay FriendFinder
  • German FriendFinder
  • Getiiton.com
  • GradFinder.com
  • Indian FriendFinder
  • Italian FriendFinder
  • Jewish FriendFinder
  • Korean FriendFinder
  • LesbianPersonals
  • MillionaireMate
  • OutPersonals
  • Passion.com
  • Senior.com

Adult FriendFinder was purchased by Penthouse (Yes the men’s magazine) in 2007 for $500 million.

So as you can see the Online Dating Business is a big business owned primarily by a handful of large corporations. As a site become popular a big corporation just steps in to buy them out.

Disclaimer: The research I did on this page and the conclusions I draw about ranking are based on my own rank not a specific traffic or revenue number. Ultimately it doesn’t matter the exact ranking, as a person will pick an online dating site based on what suits their own tastes and agenda. I intentionally chose not to get into the issue of dating safety… it’s beyond the scope of this article. I will just say caveat emptor and leave you with this … “Hey you looked much hotter online”.

The Business of Online Dating

Online Dating is Big Business and offers a solution to Busy Professionals.
Online Dating is Big Business and offers a solution to Busy Professionals.

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