Inside The Online Dating Industry
by Joe Tracy,
publisher of Online Dating Magazine
A Look at the
Five Different Types of Online Dating Services The online dating industry
is a very competitive marketplace as more than one
thousand dating services compete for market share.
But unlike Abraham Lincoln's famous "All Men Are Created
Equal" speech, not all online dating services
are created equal.
At the moment there are five different types of online
dating services. Today we'll explore these different
types of services.
1) General Online Dating Services
General online dating services encompass the bulk
of the marketplace and hold the greatest market
These are sites like Match.com, LavaLife, Udate, and FriendFinder.
In essence, these services give you full access
to their member database. You sign up and can instantly
browse any profile you want to find the right person.
Some services will offer optional tests, quizzes,
or guides to help you find what you're looking
but you always have the option to expand your search
as wide as you want.
2) Relationship Services
Relationship services were formed to help people
who are more serious about finding a "soulmate".
these services target 'marriage-minded" people.
The two biggest are eHarmony.com and
Chemistry.com. Interestingly enough, Chemistry.com is owned by Match.com. Match.com simply wanted to expand its presence to reach the
same group of people that have made eHarmony so
successful. Relationship services force you to
fill out an in-depth
personality profile that usually takes anywhere
from 40-90 minutes to complete. Your answers are
used to calculate what type of people you are most
compatible with. The service then provides you
with only those matches. Unlike General Online
Services, you don't have access to everyone's profile
- only those the service finds you best match up
3) Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites provide a way to connect
with old friends while making new ones. They are
becoming an increasingly more popular place to
meet people to date. The largest of the social
sites are MySpace.
Others include Friendster and Orkut.
4) Niche Online Dating Services
Niche online dating services are sprouting up like
crazy. These services look for one common denominator
that people must share in order to be a part of the
service. For example, TrekPassions.com is a niche
online dating service for Star Trek and scifi fans.
CatholicMatch.com is for people who are catholic.
AnimalAttraction.com is for pet lovers. There are
literally hundreds of these sites aimed to connect
people who share a particular passion or belief.
5) Merging Online Dating Services
The newest type of online dating services to crop
up are Merging Online Dating Services which merge
aspects of the offline and online dating environment.
For example, two new services (Peek
a Bio and Chick
n Chit) allow you to put a profile on their Website
then print cards with your handle name and the site
URL. When you run into someone interesting you can
give them one of these cards so that they can learn
more about you online then contact you through the
service. In the months and years to come you'll see
many more Merging Online Dating Services hitting
the market, trying to more closely tie in the offline
experience with your online experience.
For users, the growing types of online dating services
is providing a wider selection to achieve their dating
goals. But as the types of services grow, the overall
take of the pie begins to shrink. For example, we
can already see signs of Social Networking Sites
cutting into the online dating pie. The draw, of
course, is that the majority of Social Networking
Sites are free.
For general online dating services and relationship
services to be able to hold onto their position, it
is vital that they improve customer services and develop
techniques to help spread positive word of mouth. New
public relations and advertising strategies will have
to be used, but also accompanied with better user experiences
and an outlet for users to share their success with
Tip of the Week
It's time for the fifth tip in improving your user
base. This week we're going to focus on a traffic
#5: Write Content for Other Websites
The one thing all Websites have in common is the need
for content. Websites need content and you need traffic.
So why not provide original content to other Websites
in exchange for a link to your online dating service?
If you're a good writer with some good concepts then
many information sites would be more than happy to
publish some of your original articles in exchange
for a link to your service. Now and then even Online
Dating Magazine will accept a submission that is well-written
and provide a link in exchange for payment.
The key is to work out a deal with popular information
sites to whereas you'll write articles in exchange
for the link. Then you'll be able to promote your service
in your bio line at the end of the article ("John Doe
is president of online dating service doelovers.com"...).
People who read the article will then have the opportunity
to visit your site, providing you with increased traffic.
And the more you write, the more traffic you'll get.
Joe Tracy is
publisher of Online Dating Magazine and is often quoted
by the media in relation to online dating topics. His Inside
the Online Dating Industry column is published
> Perfectmatch.com - The best approach to find the one.
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