The Business of Love

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Gone are the days of singles being slaves to mixer events and the bar scene. The mission of looking for a suitable partner has never been easier thanks to a myriad of dating websites and personal matchmaking services that are designed to help all sorts of people find the mate of their dreams. Finding this person online, however, can still be a daunting task given the sheer numbers of people trolling the Internet for love.

According to data from IBISWorld, two-thirds of those seeking love online are over the age of 34. But interestingly enough, surveys conducted by the Pew Institute show that 45 to 54-year-olds are as likely to go online looking for love as those in the 18-to-24-year-old group.

Match.com, owned by the IAC/Interactive Corp., and eHarmony, which is privately held, are perhaps the best known dating sites, with Match.com attracting approximately 35 million unique visitors per month and eHarmony getting the attention of around 7.1 million. Tinder, the online dating site aimed at the millennial generation, has become as popular as Match.com and eHarmony. Its subscribers make up the one in 10 people nationwide who average more than an hour a day on a dating site app, according to data from the Nielsen Company.

the business of love

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Other sites that get less press than Tinder are still attracting attention, including Plenty of Fish, with 23 million visitors per month; Zoosk, with 11.5 million; OkCupid, with 10.15 million visitors; BADOO, with 6 million daters; Christian Mingle, with 5.5 million followers, Ourtime, with 3.5 million daters, and BlackPeopleMeet, with 1.2 million African-American singles per month.

"The industry has in general begun to create marginal sites where users can search for potential dates based on religion, ethnicity, age, and other parameters."Click to Tweet! Click to Tweet: the dating industry now has niche targets

Niche Dating Sites, Crucial to Success

The creators of today’s dating websites have discovered that creating a service around a particular niche of love-seekers is crucial to their success. The industry has in general begun to create marginal sites where users can search for potential dates based on religion, ethnicity, age, and other parameters.

  • Take, for example, the website for beautiful people known, creatively enough, as BeautifulPeople.com, which currently has approximately 750,000 subscribers. The idea for the site, created in 2002 by Greg Hodge, is geared toward offering those who won the genetic jackpot with options more on par with their own league of attractiveness. Potential members gain access to the dating site based on the submission of a photo and a profile. Only one in eight are lucky enough to be accepted, says Hodge. While the website has been accused of being politically incorrect, Hodge says the service is simply giving customers what they are looking for.
  • If you think there’s no dating website for people with specific dietary needs, think again. Steve Urow, the CEO and creator of VeggieDate, a dating website specifically for vegetarians, says the site caters not only to singles who maintain a meat-free diet, but also to those embracing the kind of lifestyle that vegetarianism promotes. How long until we see a No Gluten dating website crop up?
  • The FarmersOnly dating site is another one that attracts a very specific segment of the dating population that may not feel comfortable being on a regular dating site. More than 100,000 visitors per month are joining the site, many of them farmers, ranchers and lovers of the outdoor life.

"Approximately 33% of the annual revenue share of online dating agencies is attributed to the 25-34-year-old demographic, with the 35-44 year-old age group coming in a close second, at 25.8% of revenue share."Click to Tweet! 

Online Dating, Business of Love

Given that there are so many different types of dating sites to choose from, it’s no surprise that the industry is generating a significant amount of revenue. Approximately 33% of the annual revenue share of online dating agencies is attributed to the 25-34-year-old demographic, with the 35-44 year-old age group coming in a close second, at 25.8% of revenue share.

U.S. Dating Services revenue suggests that online dating makes up 48.7% of the total activities of singles and others looking for a partner. With the plethora of mobile dating apps and an increased reliance on smart phone devices, the industry continues to innovate and come up with ways to gain revenue on both mobile and desktop.

Dating sites make their money from paid memberships, usually in the form of a monthly subscription. Match.com is the leader in online subscriptions, with twice the revenue as its closest competitor, which is based in China. The industry’s revenue comes from a combination of recurring subscription-based fees, digital gifting, advertising and other add-on features. A growing singles market that is more inclined to use social media and dating apps, including those purchased through the Apple and iTunes stores, is driving a good deal of revenue, approximately $628.8 million in 2015.

"The benefits of using a personal matchmaking service include the more rigorous due diligence that a personal matchmaker will provide to seekers, as opposed to a dating site that is handling thousands if not millions of clients per year."Click to Tweet! 

Growth in Personal Matchmaking Services

Since the growth of social media has reduced the negative stigma that was once associated with finding a partner online, people are inclined to approach online dating more positively. That also applies to the use of personal matchmaking professionals, a service that has grown in recent years. According to the NYC-based Matchmaking Institute, personal matchmaking services account for about $500 million of the total online dating worth. The top five markets for personal matchmaking services include the areas surrounding New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

According to The Matchmaking Institute’s Lisa Clampitt, older singles, especially those who have recently divorced, may feel more comfortable using a personal matchmaking service. Many of them, she says, have been out of the dating scene for some time while others are hesitant of dating in bars, and the thought of online dating is sometimes off putting to them.

The benefits of using a personal matchmaking service include:

  • the more rigorous due diligence that a personal matchmaker will provide to seekers, asopposed to a dating site that is handling thousands if not millions of clients per year.
  • Women make up approximately 60% of the total clients who use such personal matchmaking services. Approximately 81% of matchmaking clients pay less than $1,000 for annual membership and between 10 and 12 introductions. Other services charge between $3,000 and $5,000 per year and over 12% of matchmaking clients pay over $5,000 a year.
  • Famous matchmaking professionals include Patti Stanger, star of Bravo’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” and VH1’s “Tough Love.” She is also CEO of the Millionaire’s Club. Her membership packages range from $45,000 to $100,000 per year. Others include Samantha Daniels, who owns and operates “Samantha’s Table,” a matchmaking service based in New York and Los Angeles.

With technology developing each month, the business of love is sure to see new innovations as entrepreneurs come up with more ways for people to connect and fall in love. Will the next industry-shaking app or method of finding love come from you?


sources: washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2015/04/06/online-datings-age-wars-inside-tinder-and-eharmonys-fight-for-our-love-lives|businessinsider.com/15-niche-dating-websites-2012-3?op=1|prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10537905.htm | topeka.bluematrix.com/sellside/EmailDocViewer?encrypt=300b540b-c828-419e-8b12-e3f11cd793d8&mime=pdf | usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/10/singles-turn-to-personal-matchmakers/1907425

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