Forecast: Online Dating Market Boom

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The online dating boom began in 2000, when around 100,000 early adopters braved uncharted Internet territory and dial-up connections to find love on the World Wide Web. Now, according to a Metaflake study, that number has reached 9.1 million in Britian and shows no signs of stopping. Some market players have estimated that in India this number will hit 115 million in three years.

Globally, the online dating market is estimated to be worth $4 billion USD. Two nations in particular, the UK and India, have seen especially steep rises in the popularity of online dating. In India, 6 million singles have joined dating sites and created a market worth over $130 million USD. In the UK, the online dating market jumped 6% to £170 million.

Metaflake credits the success of online dating in the UK to a few factors:

  • Meeting partners online has been most successful in secular, well-to-do countries.
  • Advertising strategies from rival dating sites have become increasingly aggressive.
  • The British are open-minded and willing to take a chance on online dating.
  • The UK has a "colourful dating landscape" that caters to all needs and interests.

Adam Sachs, co-founder and CEO of Indian dating site StepOut.com, sees similar changes happening in India. "Dating culture in India is evolving rapidly. Changing cultural dynamics like the increase in average marriage age... are shifting the dating paradigm significantly," he says.

These changing dynamics have made online dating a more socially acceptable option for Indian singles. Dating is now seen as a way to develop a close connection with someone before taking a step as serious as marriage. Internet dating services are valued for the convenience and accessibility they provide.

Despite positive predictions, however, it won't be completely smooth sailing for online dating sites. The marketplace is crowded and competitive, and the landscape is constantly changing. Social media sites like Facebook threaten to replace online dating services as they expand.

The growing use of smartphones is also changing the dating industry. Apps with location-based functionality are capturing more and more of the market, and mobile dating services that are simplified, cheaper versions of their online counterparts are increasingly prevalent.

Though the road may have a bump or two, experts predict that the only way is up for online dating. Metaflake's chief executive, Henning Wiechers, estimates that the UK's online dating market will have expanded by another 5% in 2012, and Indian dating site QuackQuack expects the online dating industry to see an annual growth rate of 20%.

For more current statistics on this industry you can read our Online Dating Facts page. To find out more on where some of these statistics come from for this article you can read IBNLive and the Guardian.

Match.com Made A Stir In 2012

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2012 saw some big changes for Match.com. Most notable among those was the introduction of Stir, Match's events service.

Stir launched in May 2012 to bring singles together in an environment that is both fresh and familiar. On one hand, it's online dating. But on the other, it's meeting people, in person, in a way that feels welcoming and comfortable. It's the perfect win-win.

Singles definitely took notice of Match's latest innovation:

  • Stir held just over 1,600 events in 2012
  • Over 150,000 attendees came to those events
  • Each month, Stir hosted over 300 events in more than 80 cities across the US
  • Stir forged partnerships with over 800 different venues of all kinds to host singles events

And that's definitely not all that Stir accomplished in 2012.

Match celebrated National Singles Week by hosting over 8,000 singles at 79 events in 48 different cities around the country. On October 25, Stir reached a major milestone - 1000 events! - and celebrated with a Moulin Rouge-themed party called "Cirque de l'Amour" at San Francisco's trendy Supperclub. Guests enjoyed an evening of games, circus performances, gourmet bites, DJ-spun beats, and extravagant costumes.

During the busy holiday season, Match teamed up with Charity: water to participate in #givingtuesday, a day designed to raise awareness and funds for charities around the world. Charity: water donates 100% of their efforts to providing fresh, clean water wells to cities in Ethiopia. Stir events raise well over their goal of $10,000 and plans to partner with more charities in the coming year.

Stir even branched out from its initial mission to introduce eligible singles by hosting a women-only event at the Rebecca Taylor store in NYC. Attendees learned all about the latest trends and first date fashion. Style for Hire, a national network of personal stylists assembled by Stacy London of What Not To Wear, helped the ladies choose items that showed them off at their best.

If you're looking for a venue near you, keep an eye out for Stir-branded stickers in the window. The bright black, blue, and white stickers name the establishment a 2012 Top Stir Venue and declare "Love Happens Here."

If you'd like to know more about what events are scheduled in your neighborhood, sign into your Match.com account. Match s constantly adding new events to the list, so click the "Events" tab to find the latest happenings in your area.

Here's to more mingling in 2013!

For more on this dating site and their live meeting events you should take a look at our Match.com review.

Google Zeitgeist on Dating for 2012

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Say what you want about Google (and believe me, I have), but I can think of no one better to gather the biggest stories of the past 12 months and determine exactly what defined the year 2012.

And they did. It's called Zeitgeist, and it's an annual tradition that analyzes over one trillion search queries in almost 150 languages to showcase what the world searched for. Using data from multiple sources, including Google Trends and other internal data tools, Google has turned the year's searches into a report that reflects 2012.

The report is divided into two sections: Trending and Most Searched. The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 as compared to 2011. The "most searched" queries are the most popular terms for 2012, ranked in order of the queries with the largest volume of searches.

Here's what Zeitgeist has to say about the most searched dating services of 2012:

  1. PlentyOfFish: POF - the site formerly known as PlentyOfFish - is one of the most popular free dating services on the Web. Since its launch in 2003, POF has appeared in music videos, launched mobile apps, and conducted a contest with Lady Gaga. For a review of this service see our Plenty of Fish page.
  2. Match: Match.com may be the most famous dating site in the world. Match has helped millions of singles look for love in 24 countries and redefined the way modern singles meet. Most recently, the company announced Stir, local events by Match.com. For a review of this service see our Match.com page.
  3. OkCupid: OkCupid is famous for its lighthearted and affordable approach to online dating. The site is free to use, and features fun quizzes and multiple-choice questions designed to bring out users' personalities and encourage community interaction. For a review of this service see our OkCupid page.
  4. eHarmony: eHarmony is where it's at for singles looking for long-term relationships. Its famous matching questionnaire, developed by eHarmony Labs, takes a scientific approach to love that promises to find a deeper level of compatibility. For a review of this service see our eHarmony page.
  5. DateHookup: Online daters really like free stuff. DateHookup is another no-cost service for singles that made it into the Zeitgeist top 10. This year it hit the big times after being bought by Match.com and OKCupid owner, IAC/InterActiveCorp. For a review of this service see our DateHookup.com page.
  6. Zoosk: Zoosk distinguishes itself from traditional dating sites by putting the focus on its social networking capabilities. It's currently available in 25 languages and more than 70 countries, and shows no signs of stopping in 2013. For a review of this service see our Zoosk page.
  7. ChristianMingle: "Find God's Match For You," says ChristianMingle, a faith-based site created to bring Christian singles together for friendship, dating, and marriage. With over 8 million members, the largest and fastest growing online Christian community. For a review of this service see our ChristianMingle.com page.
  8. AdultFriendFinder: AdultFriendFinder is an online sex and swinger personals site that helps members meet new friends and sex partners. What started as a small niche site quickly grew in popularity - it even debuted the music video for Flo Rida's "Touch Me."
  9. JDate: JDate is one of a number of demographically focused online match-making websites operated by Spark Networks. JDate offers both free and premium plans to Jewish singles looking to date within their faith. For a review of this service see our JDate page.
  10. SinglesNet: SinglesNet offers singles a feature-rich environment with free online dating tools like online chat, personals, and dating forums. IAC added the site to its ever-expanding dating services roster back in 2010. For a review of this service see our Singlesnet.com page.

So what do you think...did the Zeitgeist report accurately capture the spirit of online dating in 2012?

eHarmony offers Free Communication January 3 - 8, 2013

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eHarmony is having a free communication event for the next 6 days! It starts Thursday January 3rd and continues to Tuesday January 8th on both the Canada and United States eHarmony websites.

This is a great time for eHarmony to have one of their famous free communication events. Most people are still off of work and as you found out in one of our posts earlier today that right after the holidays is the best time to join a dating site. Also, did you know that the top resolution for 64 percent of singles this year was to find love in 2013? Well it is and that’s why if you are looking to online dating to help you find your next relationship, eHarmony makes a good choice.

To try it out all you need to do is signup for a free eHarmony membership. No credit card is required and there is no obligation. Once you have signed in you can create your profile and take the eHarmony in-depth relationship questionnaire. It takes a little time to complete but it will be worth it since the more your profile reflects you, the better your matches will be. After your profile and questionnaire is done you will be taken to your main eHarmony member homepage where you will find a set of new matches ready for you to review. Once you have figured out who you would like to contact you can then initiate communication with them by starting with the Guided Communication process and then move on to emailing them. With the free communication event you cannot view photos, use Secure Call (a phone service) or Skip to Mail feature.

In November of 2012 was the last free eHarmony communication weekend (see Story). By our count this free communication event will be #43.

The Best Time to Join an Online Dating Site? After the Holidays!

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Christmas season is over and it's time for a fresh start. Maybe the holidays left you feeling a little lonely and desiring a new relationship. Or maybe you've made a few New Year's resolutions and dating more is one of them.

Whatever the case, it's a great time of the year to join an online dating site and start meeting new people. According to The Daily Mail in the UK, online dating sites are reporting 350 percent more traffic after Christmas, and Match.com expects three million messages to be sent and 500,000 instant messages exchanged the week after Christmas alone.

With all that activity, it's hard to just sit back and wait for someone to show up at your door. It's time to take advantage of the increase in traffic and meet all the new online daters (including those who just split up before the holidays). And this means joining a new online dating site, or perhaps even renewing that old subscription and revamping your profile.

But please take note - just because there are a lot of people who have joined dating sites after the holidays doesn't mean that you can special order your perfect partner. Online dating isn't the same as online shopping. It's good to temper your expectations with a reality check - you aren't perfect, and your dates won't be either. But that doesn't mean you can't find someone special.

It's important to keep a few things in mind when you're online dating to have the most success:

Don't limit yourself. If you have a laundry list of deal breakers, then you won't have much success, or much fun when you're dating. Put that list on hold and try dating outside your type.

Accept invitations. Not sure if you want to date him? Say yes anyway if he asks you out. There's no secret formula to falling in love - for everyone it's different, and often it doesn't start with instant attraction. So accept more dates and engage with each one before you write him off. You never know who you could meet - and end up falling for.

Withhold judgment. This goes along with the first two tips. It's important to go on a first date with a sense of adventure. Sure, it might go horribly wrong, but it also might go incredibly well. If you have a positive attitude, it will rub off on your date and he or she will feel more free to open up. A good attitude changes the dynamic. So before you judge your date for what he might be lacking, give him the benefit of the doubt and see how much better things go.

Try something new! Don't rely on that same old bar or coffee shop for meeting new people. Be a little more creative - go ice skating, walking, or try rock climbing or a cooking class together. That way, you're doing something productive with your time, even if your date doesn't go so well.

Happy dating in 2013!

Match.com: The Ups And Downs Of Dating In 2012

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What's the best part of the end of the year?

Is it the holidays? Is it the time spent with friends and family? Is it the promise of a new year? Is it the resolutions?

No, it's the year-end lists. This year Match.com has compiled one of its very own: The ups & Downs of Dating Behavior of 2012 & How Celebrity Relationships Compare to U.S. Singles.

Match reports that dating was "a whirlwind" for singles this year (isn't it always?) and that finding love in 2013 is a top resolution (isn't it always?) for 64% of singles. Of course, those dating trends aren't just for your average Joe's and Jane's. How did celebrities stack up against the biggest dating trends of 2012?

Match lists the Top 12 Celebrity Shake-Ups of 2012, putting Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in the #1 spot. No word on how they dealt with it, but to bounce back after a breakup most singles turn to friends and family (41%). Breaking it down by gender, men are more likely to go out for a drink (24%) or immerse themselves in hobbies (20%) after a split, while women console themselves with food (22%) or curl up on the couch to watch TV (22%).

Relationship recovery strategies are divided by age:

  • In your 20s, you're most likely to work out, talk to your friends, or hit the bar.
  • In your 30s, you're most likely to throw yourself into your work after ending a relationship.
  • In your 40s and 50s, you're most likely to call friends and family or escape into your favorite TV shows to deal with a breakup.

Recovery times can also be divided by age and gender:

  • 37% of men take a month or less to get over a breakup and 55% bounce back in three months or less.
  • 32% of women take a year or more to recover, with 1/5 of those surveyed reporting it took 2+ years to move on.
  • Singles in their 20s move on fastest, wit 62% saying it took them less than 3 months to get over a breakup. Older singles lament longer, with 30% of daters in their 50s and 60s taking more than a year to rebound.

Some exes can still be friends, and some exes can even become ex-exes:

  • Men are more likely to remain friends with an ex after a breakup, while women are more likely to cut off all contact.
  • Remaining friends with an ex gets easier with age.
  • 50% of women and 43% of men have reconciled with an ex. Men change their mind because they miss her. Women change their mind because they're still in love.

To find out more on this dating site you can read our review which is full of information about Match.com.