Or is it really just a cash cow?
It’s no secret that the online dating industry is booming, doubling since 2007 with over 40 million people either visiting or using dating sites. That equates to $1.9 billion in annual revenue, according to Match.com. The big winners are eHarmony (with over $100 million annual revenue last year), Chemistry.com ($105 million) and Match.com ($105 million). That’s no chump change. But are people getting their money’s worth when using these dating sites?
Sam Laird reported the latest trends for Mashable.com the other day that 17% of married couples say they met online, compared to 27% who say they met through a mutual friend and 38% who say they met at work or school.
People who meet on dating sites tend to be quicker to marry than those who meet in the real world — dating for an average of 18 months before tying the knot, compared to 42 months for those who meet offline. (Which begs the question: What’s the rush? Are they also buying shotguns online while browsing profiles?)
It seems that a lot of online daters’ pants are still on fire too – 81% of people online lie about their height, weight or age on dating profiles. Women typically trim about 8 pounds from their weight and use profile photos taken 1.5 years earlier, while men typically add half an inch to their height and use photos that are six months old on average.
Ultimately, dating site algorithms and formulas claim to predict compatibility, but may actually: 1) focus on short-term satisfaction rather than long-term; 2) fail to take into account how partners grow, change and mature; 3) set the expectation that a relationship should be “perfect” from day one; 4) fail to account for changes in health, circumstances, etc.
But there are also the benefits. You can get to know people from the comfort of your own home without the need of pants or makeup; weed out those obviously incompatible; avoid first-date jitters since you’ve already met online; expand your dating pool; and show interest without face-to-face rejection.
There’s a great infographic included in Sam’s article that illustrates all of this and more on the online dating landscape extremely well. You should check it out. Are you currently using an online dating site? Do you feel you’re getting your money’s worth? I’d love to hear about your experiences.