Users of an online dating service would usually provide personal information, to enable them to search the service provider's database for other individuals.Members use criteria other members set, such as age range, gender and location.Since 2003, several free dating sites, operating on ad based-revenue rather than monthly subscriptions, have appeared and become increasingly popular.
Research about social networking reveals that the online dating services driven by subscriptions offer the least amount of social networking opportunities.
The dating services modeled on the free-at-the-point-of-use model scored much higher as many of them utilized the Circle of Friends social networking method and a wider number of online community genres.
Online dating or Internet dating is a personal introductory system where individuals can find and contact each other over the Internet to arrange a date, usually with the objective of developing a personal, romantic, or sexual relationship.
Online dating services usually provide unmoderated matchmaking over the Internet, through the use of personal computers or cell phones.
Online dating sites use market metaphors to match people.
Match metaphors are conceptual frameworks that allow individuals to make sense of new concepts by drawing upon familiar experiences and frame-works.
At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc. By 2007, many prominent studies show that Baby Boomer interest in online dating have soared.
However, market share was increasingly growing by several large commercial services, including Personals. Some online dating websites provide webcam chats between members.
Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options.
Online daters may have more liberal social attitudes compared to the general population in the United States.
Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee.