From the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2003, customer spending on the sites rocketed from $8 million to $117 million, according to the Online Publishers Association and comScore Networks. But in the second quarter of 2004, the spending was stagnant at $114 million.
n Canada police report online dating scams are on the rise. Earlier this year the FBI in the U.S. sent out a warning about dating scams. And, a 2011 study in England found 200,000 people were victims of online dating scams.
The scammers are everywhere, and use different disguises, but they are all the same - people pretending to be who they are not. And, because most online dating sites haven't installed safety protocols or educated their members as to the risks, scam artists easily get onto the sites, play with people's emotions and defraud them out of hundreds, or thousands of dollars.
Little love will be lost when the two biggest online paid-for dating companies in the UK go head-to-head with cross-platform marketing campaigns designed to appeal to the 'second time around' dating audience.
Match - which claims it is responsible for 4% of British marriages over the past five years - is promoting its Affinity service through a series of documentary-style TV advertisements, aided by online crowdsourcing, on a dedicated Facebook app page, while rival site eHarmony is running a TV, radio and print campaign promoting its "real UK success couples".
US-owned eHarmony has also appointed former Procter & Gamble brand marketer Ottokar Rosenberger as its first UK country manager. Rosenberger says the company is likely to trial a crowdsourced ad in its next TV promotion.
Both initiatives come as Mintel predicts the UK online dating industry will be worth #150m annually by 2014.
The study was conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business. As part of a class research project, it was discovered that 21 of 90 dating websites did not properly remove location data from photos uploaded by their users.
Many of the profile photos submitted by users were taken with cameras and cellphones containing Global Positioning System (GPS) chips. The photos contain metadata that can provide the GPS coordinates showing exactly where the photo was taken.
Once seen as the last resort for a bunch of lonely geeks, online-dating services have gradually shed much of the stigma formerly associated with them. Although they are still popular with tech types--Julian Assange, the mercurial co-founder of WikiLeaks, reportedly once maintained profiles on dating sites under the name "Harry Harrison"--they now attract millions of people from many walks of life. ComScore, a research firm, says Match and Zoosk, two large dating services based in the United States, saw 4.6m and 4.8m unique visitors respectively come to their American sites in November 2010. Meetic, Europe's biggest dating service, also boasts millions of users.
Online dating sites have, in fact, become a big business. Theyve also become pretty good matchmakers over the years. In 2008, online dating sites were credited with setting in motion 120,000 marriages.
How successful have online dating sites been when it comes to revenues? You might be surprised; these sites generate more revenues than does online pornography. In fact, online dating sites rank as the third most popular of the paid content sites dotting the Internet, behind only digital music and video games.
Today, one in five Americans finds his or her spouse via online dating websites, but according to Drexel researchers, marriage isn't the only measure of success among people looking for love in cyberspace...
The Drexel study, entitled "Not Just a Wink and a Smile: An Analysis of User-Defined Success in Online Dating," examined data gathered during a two-week sample period in the spring of 2011 from success stories listed on the dating sites Match.com, eHarmony and OkCupid. The researchers looked at a random sampling of 20 percent of the success stories from each site.