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A Business of Love: Online Dating by The Numbers

online dating infographic

The Internet has changed the way we get our news, watch television, read books and shop. Of course it has changed the way people date. Online dating sites are big business. Not only are they profitable, in 2008, online dating sites were credited with helping set-up over 120,000 marriages.

Revenues vs. Projections

How profitable are these online dating sites? Unknown to many, these sites typically generate more revenue than online pornography, despite the discovery of occasional scandals. In fact, online dating sites rank as the third most popular compared to other paid content sites that fill the Internet. Digital music and video games are the first and second most popular paid sites.

Revenue projections show online dating sites continuing to grow. In 2007, dating sites earned about $1.03 billion in revenue, with that figure expected to grow to $1.65 billion by 2012. These projections are based on the continued integration of the digital world into everyday life.

Popular and Profitable Dating Sites

That’s a lot of money spent on love, especially if the site is number one. Dating sites are commonly ranked by revenue and number of members. The following are some of the leaders.

eHarmony, for instance is one of the industry’s trendsetters. This site charges members a $50 fee per month for membership. With over 20 million members, radio and TV advertisements and a vast internet presence, they are truly an effective income-generator.

Match.com is even bigger. Match.com charges $29.99 for a one-month membership while boasting about its 29 million members. Again, you can see how quickly the dollars add up for Match.com, too.

Advertising Spending

These companies recognize that they’re sitting on gold mines, which is why their advertising budgets are so high. In 2009, about $350 million was spent on marketing for online dating service websites. The result of this spending is seen on the company’s bottom line. It’s estimated that some 20 million Internet users will visit an online dating site at least once a month.

There is more good news ahead when considering that these visitors tend to become members. The estimated 10% annual growth may end up being a conservative number, with 58 percent of women in the United States and 48 percent of the men use online dating services.

Not surprisingly, members of these online dating sites aren’t always completely honest. Members tend to inflate their yearly salaries by 20 percent or more. Physical traits are exaggerated or hidden, especially regarding height and weight. And un-shockingly, it’s estimated that 59 percent of women and 53 percent of men decrease their actual weight while trying to attract mates on online sites.