CLIFF

LIN

Marketing Professional


Online Dating Services

April 16, 2013Cliff Lin

An online dating service is an institution designed to connect single men and women for the purpose of online chatting, dating, and finding a marriage partner. With the first online dating service appearing on the web in 1997[1], internet singles site have come to dominate the business of matchmaking in North America [2]. A recent poll indicates that 60% of Americans and 47% of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 30 have used online dating services at least once [3]. While there are numerous online dating sites, the most popular, and among the most credible, are *Match.com, American Singles, and Yahoo! Personals.

Required Personal Information and Summary of Relationship Goals

A new member of an online dating site is typically required to provide personal information on gender, age, religion, geographical location, physical characteristics, annual income, and occupation, as well as what the member is looking for in a potential mate, by filling out a questionnaire. The indicated geographical location reveals the member’s whereabouts and, therefore, proximity to interested users. Self-described physical traits include height, weight, hair and eye color, and, possibly, tattoos and body rings. Annual income is usually indicated within a range of yearly salaries. Questions eliciting a member’s interests generally focus on preferred genres of music, books, movies, and other types of activity. After entering the required personal information, a new member answers questions concerning the type of relationship desired and traits the user would find appealing in a mate. These characteristics fall under the same categories as those used to describe the new member.

Online Matchmaking Techniques

There are two ways in which online couples form. The predominant method involves each user searching a site for potential suitors. The search criteria vary from one site to another but always include gender, age, and geographical location. Once the search criteria are entered, a number of users, most accompanied by photographs and short statements of introduction will appear on the screen. By clicking on a user’s name, which is generally a creative *pseudonym, the user is able to view the profile of the individual in question. To initiate contact with the other party, the user sends an electronic impulse that arises in the form of an e-mail, to which the other party may respond by means of a similar electronic impulse. At this point, the e-mail addresses of both parties become accessible, and messages and telephone phone numbers can be exchanged.

An alternative method of matchmaking, used by some sites, including Match.com, involves electronically calculated pairing of user given their self-described and admired traits. Each day, a member of a dating site using this system receives via e-mail the profile of a number of potential matches, as well as an estimated percentage of compatibility. The recipient is free to send an electronic impulse to any of these users, after which time the foregoing procedure may be followed.

Advantages of Online Dating Services

Efficiency and distance are key elements attracting people to online dating sites. Online dating services allow members to make contact with a large number of people in a very short period of time without ever leaving the comfort of home [4]. This phenomenon is unprecedented, as dating has traditionally required chance meeting. Users of online dating sites are able to partake in “non-linear chat,” carrying on many conversations at once and thereby making the dating process even more efficient [5]. In addition to making dating convenient, online dating sites allow users to rid themselves of their inhibitions while communicating with fellow members. As Goffman [6] states, individuals act in certain ways in order to give observers most desirable impression of themselves possible. While there are observers behind the scenes of the internet, the lack of visual contact and non-verbal reinforcement users have minimized their inhibitions, thereby enabling users to reveal their “true” selves [7].

Drawbacks of Online Dating Services

Problems with internet dating sites include the likelihood of *credit card fraud, the appearance of misleading “bait” profiles, the potential for self misrepresentation and the possibility of advertising prostitution. Trial versions of online dating sites limit the number of photographs the user can upload, the number of words that make up a self-introduction and the number of electronic impulses the user can send and receive daily. As well, a trial version member is able to view only a fraction of each profile. To receive full services, the user is required to pay a monthly fee by credit card, thus opening up opportunities for credit card fraud. Another criticism of online dating services has been their susceptibility to dishonest and deceptive practices. The use of “bait” profiles, which adorn the homepage of many websites, depict ideal but fictitious men and women in order to attract new paying members. Even some profiles of actual members are problematic for their deceitful nature. By *digitally tampering with photographs, users are able to manipulate the way in which others perceive them.

Lastly, online dating sites offer a perfect opportunity for prostitutes to solicit their services. It is common for prostitutes to set up alluring profiles and, subsequently, to send electronic impulses to people they perceive as potential clientele. Although the prostitutes are often successful in their solicitations, their method of attracting customers is deceptive.

Intellectual Roots of Online Dating

Internet dating sites are a relatively new technological development that has appeared as part of an ongoing trend in which dating practices have become progressively more efficient. Traditionally, Western society viewed marriage as a contract intended to help families maintain their social status. While royal families represented the extreme examples of this phenomenon, members of the upper classes fiercely upheld the practice of contractual marriage for centuries, until the tradition gradually dissipated in the 18th century [2]. Even after the period of contractual marriage came to an end, marriage partners were obliged to follow a strict set of rules. Although theoretically, young men and women were allowed to find their own spouses, a couple was expected to be from the same social class, and a groom was supposed to be older than his bride.

With the building of highways and the invention of the internal combustion engine in the 19th century [2], social networks increased, and people had more opportunities to meet potential marriage partners. Still, long-distance relationships were often thwarted by the fact that the slow postal service offered the only way for an individual communicate with someone far away. Not surprisingly, location became less of an issue for couples by the time automobiles began to dominate the roads in 1957 [2]. As the most influential technological since the automobile, the internet has brought about an unsurpassed change in dating practices. Online dating sites have united couples together more quickly than any other form of matchmaking.

Trends

U.S. residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004, the largest segment of “paid content” on the web, according to a study conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks.

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38 percent increase since the start of the year. However, market share was increasingly being dominated by several large commercial services, including Yahoo! Personals, Match.com, American Singles, and eHarmony. In 2002, a Wired magazine article forecast that, “Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because ‘the right books are found only by accident.’ Serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient”[1].

References

  1. Havrilesky, H. (2002). Meatmarket.com. Salon.com (Retrieved March 20, 2007) from: http://www.salon.com/mwt/featyre/2002/05/15/online_dating/.
  2. Chen, S. (2005). Online Dating in the 21st Century (Retrieved March 20, 2007) from: http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~shauchen/interconnected/htm.
  3. Markham, A. (2005). Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space,

Altamira Press, Walnut Creek. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)

  1. Weinreich, J.D. (2000). ‘Strange Bedfellows: Homosexuality, Gay Liberation and the Internet’, Journal of Sex Education and Therapy. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  2. Davis, M., Bolding, G., Hart, G.., Sherr, L and Elford, J. (2004) ‘Reflecting on the Experience of Interviewing Online: Perspectives From the Internet and HIV Study in London’, AIDS Care. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  3. Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  4. McKenna, K.Y. A., A. S. Green, and M. E.J. Gleason. (2002). ‘Relationship formation on the Internet: What’s the Big Attraction?’ Journal of Social Issues. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  5. Liamputtong, P. (2006) Health Research in Cyberspace: Methodological, Practical and Personal Issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  6. Messaris, P. and Humphreys, L. (2006). Digital Media. New York 29 Broadway: Peter Lang, Inc.

 

External Links

  1. First Date Basics Online Dating Tips. 25 March 2007
  2. Love on the web BBC Money Programme. 2 February 2007
  3. Online Dating Clichés, Online Dating Magazine. 25 March 2007

 

  1. This site gives a clear view and safety tips when dating online to avoid frauds and predators. It also gives real life experience and conversation that occurred online.
  2. This site gives the statistics of money spend on online dating in the past years in North America. In addition, it has statistics on the population of male and female users.
  3. This site suggests attractive names and clichés for users to put on their introduction to make their profile more seductive, thereby increasing the possibility of dates.

An online dating service is an institution designed to connect single men and women for the purpose of online chatting, dating, and finding a marriage partner. With the first online dating service appearing on the web in 1997[1], internet singles site have come to dominate the business of matchmaking in North America [2]. A recent poll indicates that 60% of Americans and 47% of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 30 have used online dating services at least once [3]. While there are numerous online dating sites, the most popular, and among the most credible, are *Match.com, American Singles, and Yahoo! Personals.

A new member of an online dating site is typically required to provide personal information on gender, age, religion, geographical location, physical characteristics, annual income, and occupation, as well as what the member is looking for in a potential mate, by filling out a questionnaire. The indicated geographical location reveals the member’s whereabouts and, therefore, proximity to interested users. Self-described physical traits include height, weight, hair and eye color, and, possibly, tattoos and body rings. Annual income is usually indicated within a range of yearly salaries. Questions eliciting a member’s interests generally focus on preferred genres of music, books, movies, and other types of activity. After entering the required personal information, a new member answers questions concerning the type of relationship desired and traits the user would find appealing in a mate. These characteristics fall under the same categories as those used to describe the new member.

Online Matchmaking Techniques

There are two ways in which online couples form. The predominant method involves each user searching a site for potential suitors. The search criteria vary from one site to another but always include gender, age, and geographical location. Once the search criteria are entered, a number of users, most accompanied by photographs and short statements of introduction will appear on the screen. By clicking on a user’s name, which is generally a creative *pseudonym, the user is able to view the profile of the individual in question. To initiate contact with the other party, the user sends an electronic impulse that arises in the form of an e-mail, to which the other party may respond by means of a similar electronic impulse. At this point, the e-mail addresses of both parties become accessible, and messages and telephone phone numbers can be exchanged.

An alternative method of matchmaking, used by some sites, including Match.com, involves electronically calculated pairing of user given their self-described and admired traits. Each day, a member of a dating site using this system receives via e-mail the profile of a number of potential matches, as well as an estimated percentage of compatibility. The recipient is free to send an electronic impulse to any of these users, after which time the foregoing procedure may be followed.

Advantages of Online Dating Services

Efficiency and distance are key elements attracting people to online dating sites. Online dating services allow members to make contact with a large number of people in a very short period of time without ever leaving the comfort of home [4]. This phenomenon is unprecedented, as dating has traditionally required chance meeting. Users of online dating sites are able to partake in “non-linear chat,” carrying on many conversations at once and thereby making the dating process even more efficient [5]. In addition to making dating convenient, online dating sites allow users to rid themselves of their inhibitions while communicating with fellow members. As Goffman [6] states, individuals act in certain ways in order to give observers most desirable impression of themselves possible. While there are observers behind the scenes of the internet, the lack of visual contact and non-verbal reinforcement users have minimized their inhibitions, thereby enabling users to reveal their “true” selves [7].

Drawbacks of Online Dating Services

Problems with internet dating sites include the likelihood of *credit card fraud, the appearance of misleading “bait” profiles, the potential for self misrepresentation and the possibility of advertising prostitution. Trial versions of online dating sites limit the number of photographs the user can upload, the number of words that make up a self-introduction and the number of electronic impulses the user can send and receive daily. As well, a trial version member is able to view only a fraction of each profile. To receive full services, the user is required to pay a monthly fee by credit card, thus opening up opportunities for credit card fraud. Another criticism of online dating services has been their susceptibility to dishonest and deceptive practices. The use of “bait” profiles, which adorn the homepage of many websites, depict ideal but fictitious men and women in order to attract new paying members. Even some profiles of actual members are problematic for their deceitful nature. By *digitally tampering with photographs, users are able to manipulate the way in which others perceive them.

Lastly, online dating sites offer a perfect opportunity for prostitutes to solicit their services. It is common for prostitutes to set up alluring profiles and, subsequently, to send electronic impulses to people they perceive as potential clientele. Although the prostitutes are often successful in their solicitations, their method of attracting customers is deceptive.

Intellectual Roots of Online Dating

Internet dating sites are a relatively new technological development that has appeared as part of an ongoing trend in which dating practices have become progressively more efficient. Traditionally, Western society viewed marriage as a contract intended to help families maintain their social status. While royal families represented the extreme examples of this phenomenon, members of the upper classes fiercely upheld the practice of contractual marriage for centuries, until the tradition gradually dissipated in the 18th century [2]. Even after the period of contractual marriage came to an end, marriage partners were obliged to follow a strict set of rules. Although theoretically, young men and women were allowed to find their own spouses, a couple was expected to be from the same social class, and a groom was supposed to be older than his bride.

With the building of highways and the invention of the internal combustion engine in the 19th century [2], social networks increased, and people had more opportunities to meet potential marriage partners. Still, long-distance relationships were often thwarted by the fact that the slow postal service offered the only way for an individual communicate with someone far away. Not surprisingly, location became less of an issue for couples by the time automobiles began to dominate the roads in 1957 [2]. As the most influential technological since the automobile, the internet has brought about an unsurpassed change in dating practices. Online dating sites have united couples together more quickly than any other form of matchmaking.

Trends

U.S. residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004, the largest segment of “paid content” on the web, according to a study conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks.

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38 percent increase since the start of the year. However, market share was increasingly being dominated by several large commercial services, including Yahoo! Personals, Match.com, American Singles, and eHarmony. In 2002, a Wired magazine article forecast that, “Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because ‘the right books are found only by accident.’ Serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient”[1].

References

  1. Havrilesky, H. (2002). Meatmarket.com. Salon.com (Retrieved March 20, 2007) from: http://www.salon.com/mwt/featyre/2002/05/15/online_dating/.
  2. Chen, S. (2005). Online Dating in the 21st Century (Retrieved March 20, 2007) from: http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~shauchen/interconnected/htm.
  3. Markham, A. (2005). Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space,

Altamira Press, Walnut Creek. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)

  1. Weinreich, J.D. (2000). ‘Strange Bedfellows: Homosexuality, Gay Liberation and the Internet’, Journal of Sex Education and Therapy. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  2. Davis, M., Bolding, G., Hart, G.., Sherr, L and Elford, J. (2004) ‘Reflecting on the Experience of Interviewing Online: Perspectives From the Internet and HIV Study in London’, AIDS Care. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  3. Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  4. McKenna, K.Y. A., A. S. Green, and M. E.J. Gleason. (2002). ‘Relationship formation on the Internet: What’s the Big Attraction?’ Journal of Social Issues. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  5. Liamputtong, P. (2006) Health Research in Cyberspace: Methodological, Practical and Personal Issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (Retrieved March 20, 2007)
  6. Messaris, P. and Humphreys, L. (2006). Digital Media. New York 29 Broadway: Peter Lang, Inc.

 

External Links

  1. First Date Basics Online Dating Tips. 25 March 2007
  2. Love on the web BBC Money Programme. 2 February 2007
  3. Online Dating Clichés, Online Dating Magazine. 25 March 2007

 

  1. This site gives a clear view and safety tips when dating online to avoid frauds and predators. It also gives real life experience and conversation that occurred online.
  2. This site gives the statistics of money spend on online dating in the past years in North America. In addition, it has statistics on the population of male and female users.
  3. This site suggests attractive names and clichés for users to put on their introduction to make their profile more seductive, thereby increasing the possibility of dates.

Cliff Lin

Cliff Lin

Internet Marketer

Cliff is an Internet Marketing guru with extensive experience in ecommerce and internet marketing roles. He has solid small business background, successful ecommerce experience, and internet marketing expertise. He is capable of implementing the latest interactive marketing tools for company, as well as backend information systems to maximize efficiency.

Cliff Lin

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