eMarketer, a marketing research group, just came out with a new report entittled ONLINE DATING GETS TOUGH We have excerpted some of the report that states–
Online dating was one of the few paid-content success stories of the dotcom boom. As recently as 2003, total revenue for companies in the online dating market was growing at more than 70% annually….
No more. Today online dating is a hectic market, competition is coming from all directions. As a result, online dating’s growth has slowed significantly….
‘The fact is that online dating is a mature market,” says Mr. Belcher. (eMarketer online senior analyst and author of the report) Sites now specialize in matching people of specific races, religions, interests and professions, and there are multiple sites competing in each of these niches. Some sites now facilitate webcam-based dates, video-blogging, and other technological marvels.’
In addition to competition within the category, a new potential competitive threat is arising: social networking sites. MySpace and Friendster offer online dating as one of the ways people may connect and communicate â€” and they’re free. Traffic on these sites has grown far more quickly in the past year than for online dating sites as a whole…
‘Free online dating sites, be they social networking or other, are not after the same customers as subscription-based online dating sites,” says Mr. Belcher. ‘Free sites are pursuing advertisers. Subscription-based online dating sites, on the other hand, are pursuing serious paying online daters.
The fact that serious online dating sites are not only surviving, but in some cases are charging higher fees, reveals that those who want such services will seek them out, and at a price.’
It appears that online dating is about to undergo some serious weeding. I suppose more and more interested parties are discovering that the sites and those who join them are not necessarily the stuff that dreams are made of. Perhaps higher hopes and expectations have led to disappointment and disillusionment, and like brick and mortar real life, the person at the other end of your email is less than what you had imagined. After all, without a face and body before us, many will tend to fashion or even manufacture their dream companion out of someone utterly of clay. Your Guinevere or Sir Lancelot in virtual reality may be the same jerk yakking on the phone at the coffee shop. The one who made eyes at you, before you snarled under your breath and turned away. She may be the woman who doesn’t shut up, even when she is eating.
The other thing so many experience to their dismay on the dating sites is that the promising one, the one you boiled it down to, is not only the big let down. It is the one possibility you found after arduous work sorting through the idiots and perverts who were making offers you wouldn’t dare entertain, even at closing time. So after eluding a few dozen exotic deviants who left messages in your mailbox, you are ultimately left to face an opening date with your garden variety jerkweed or his female replicant.
Perhaps charging more brings a better breed and a better selection to the online dating website. A website specializing in like minded brains or people with like minded interests may be well intended, but it is stil vulnerable to creeps and con-artists who warrant at least a background check before you even give them your name. At the risk of sounding elitist, money, or more specifically, higher rates, has a tendency to weed out at least the con artists and the low lifes. To be sure, there are plenty of rich jerks who can easily afford the cost of an upper scale online dating site, or a matchmaker with “A Class” clientle. As we know, some of the wealthy can be as deviant or as dangerous as your pathological gutter slug. But perhaps the old adage remains true–”You get what you pay for.” You want to get married, you pay the right price for the right testing for the right companion. You want to just fool around, well it will cost you less, and you will be meeting those who are…well…not interested in a lasting relationship.
In any event online social networking and online dating are here to stay. Some will falter, some will survive, and the best will prevail. As a society that increasingly turns inward to the point where we can’t say hello to each other on a busy street, these sites are instumental in providing hope at least and results at best. They are the automated love toys of an automated society.