A brief look at the five different types of Online Dating Service
The online dating industry is extremely competitive, with thousands of dating companies competing for the same market space. However unlike Abraham Lincoln's famous speech "All Men Are Created Equal", not all online dating services are created in the same way, or have the same objective. There are currently four broad types of online dating service, all owned or operated by individuals or corporations, with a fifth relatively new and innovative service, which can support any type of dating site via shared facilities. The five online dating services are as follows:
1) General Online Dating Services
General online dating services currently occupy the bulk of the marketplace and command the greatest market share. These are sites such as Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, LavaLife, American Singles, Udate, and FriendFinder. In essence, this type of site provides full access to a member database. You sign up and can instantly browse any profile you want, to find the right person. Some services offer optional tests, quizzes, or guides to help you find what you're looking for, but you always have the option to expand your search as wide as you like.
2) Relationship Services
Relationship services were created to help people who are more serious about finding a "soulmate." Generally, these services target 'marriage-minded" people, who are looking for commitment and a long term relationship. The two largest companies in this field are eHarmony and Chemistry.com. Interestingly, Chemistry.com is owned by Match.com who simply wanted to expand its presence to reach the same target groups that have made eHarmony so successful. Relationship services require the subscriber to fill out an in-depth personality profile that usually takes anywhere from 40-90 minutes to complete. Answers are then used to calculate what type of people you are most compatible with. The service then provides you with only those matches. Unlike general online dating services, you don't have access to everyone's profile - only those that the service considers to be your best match.
3) Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites provide a way to connect with old friends whilst making new ones. They are also becoming an increasingly popular place to meet people to date. The largest of the social networking sites are MySpace and Facebook.
4) Niche Online Dating Services
Niche online dating service companies are growing very fast. These organisations look for one common denominator that people must share in order to be a member of the service. For example, TrekPassions.com is a niche online dating service for Star-Trek and sci-fi fans, CatholicMatch.com is for those who share the Catholic faith and AnimalAttraction.com is for pet lovers. There are literally hundreds of these sites aiming to connect people who share a particular passion, belief or hobby.
5) Dating Service Providers
This relatively new type of dating service provides dating systems and services using a pooled database to specialised white label sites, niche communities, other dating companies and online marketing specialists. Most of these systems work via simple templates, whereby organisations or individuals can create an instant or specific dating site that plugs into their own product as a complimentary service. Many of the organisations described in (1) to (4) above now use dating service providers such as World Dating Partners to create and run their sites for them, to benefit from their substantially larger databases and more specialised technology. World Dating Partners is the world’s leading dating services provider, partly due to our highly advanced software, which ensures outstanding ‘filtering’, as well as our unique ability to create any kind of site quickly, professionally, and in a fully customised manner.
"As more and more companies realise the benefits of using specialised software for their own services, the popularity of dating service providers is beginning to overtake many of the larger general online dating sites – as is the size of their databases. World Dating Partners is an example of this, with a database growing at 30% per month, compared to companies such as FriendFinder, Match and LavaLife, whose growth is between 2-11% per annum! World Dating Partners has one of the largest international databases, and our acquisition of five other dating service providers has contributed to this outstanding growth. It’s estimated that our current database will triple in size over the next 6 months, ranking us within the top ten dating sites worldwide before the end of the year.”