Forty million Americans had visited an online dating site as of 2003. The number is certainly higher by now. The industry raked in over $500 million in 2005 alone. If online dating didn’t work, those sites wouldn’t continue to make money. Word would get around that they’re useless and revenues would drop off to near zero.
Yet, even in the face of new competition from MySpace and other social networking sites, online dating services continue to attract new members, and to retain the old ones. The reasons are not hard to understand.
The odds of finding a compatible dating partner in your hometown are slim. Even when the population is large, you have to know a lot of people, or visit a lot of bars, or carouse around a large number of social arenas to improve your odds. Who has time for that?
Internet dating services offer anonymity, safety and a wide reach. They also offer, in a way, a more narrow reach. They can use sophisticated matching algorithms to select potential partners. That kind of targeting helps increase your odds still further.
The sites themselves often have specialized areas or sub-sites that cater to an even more targeted audience. You can easily find a gay or lesbian site, a Christian site, a seniors site, an interracial dating site, or an ethnic site. If you look a little harder, you could undoubtedly find a site that caters to individuals who enjoy eating apples while they play Nintendo on the first Saturday of the month.
The point is, there’s something for every person out there, whether your tastes and interests are as common as TV reality shows or as esoteric as a Proust poetry contest.
But beyond all this, many people, whatever their tastes and interests are looking for fundamentally the same thing: someone. That special someone whom they can relate to, who understands their jokes and shares their values. At the same time, online dating sites make it easier to connect with that special someone when they may be nearby yet unknown or far away and hard to reach.
With extensive profiles, photos and videos, it’s possible to quickly sift through a large number of potential prospects. With matching software based on extensive psychological research, it’s possible to narrow that field to a manageable number. And you can do all that from the convenience and safety of your keyboard.
Add to that the many newly expanded options, such as using dating sites via your cell phone or PDA, and you’ve got a service that is just unbeatable.
Now all you have to do is join!