Is Facebook The Next Big Thing In Online Dating?

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It's hard to imagine there's a digital frontier that Facebook hasn't conquered, but online dating might be it.

When Mark Zuckerberg launched the social site that would change the face of human interaction forever, he was adamant that it would not be a dating service. "I don't think people would sign up for the facebook thing if they knew it was for dating," he wrote at the time to close friend Adam D'Angelo, who later became Facebook's CTO. "I think people are skeptical about joining dating things too."

Although it seems obvious that Facebook has plenty of dating potential, attempts to capitalize on it have yet to catch on. In early 2012, Kingfish Labs raised $500,000 to bring online dating functionality to Facebook through an app called Yoke. Yoke matched users who shared common connections or interests, but had no strategy for initiating communication other than a - perhaps unwelcome - cold message. With no way for Facebook users to signal their interest in being matched for dates, Yoke faded into obscurity.

Now someone is trying to play the online-dating-via-Facebook angle again, only this time it's Facebook itself. The company recently held a press event for Graph Search, "a new search engine that lets members use natural language to pull up recommendations for people, places and businesses from their social graph." (x) Although Graph Search promises to be useful in several ways, online dating is clearly near the top of that list.

Facebook's new feature blends traditional online dating, which connects people who don't know each other, with Facebook's original mission: connecting people who are already acquainted. Type "friends of my friends who are single and living in Austin" into Graph Search, and Facebook will return a list of possible dates culled from just outside your immediate social circle. Results can be filtered by interests, education, age, hometown, current city and more, all while using totally natural language.

If it takes off, Graph Search has the potential to revolutionize Facebook and rock the dating world. "I think the online dating business has to be looking at this announcement and saying this could either be the best thing ever for us, or it could be the beginning of the end," says Dan Slater, author of Love in the Time of Algorithms, On one hand, Graph Search could cut into dating sites' business. But on the other hand, Slater says, Facebook could help the dating industry by removing whatever "cultural barrier" remains for online dating.

It remains to be seen whether this latest attempt to bring online dating to Facebook can succeed where others have failed.

To see how Facebook currently ranks by singles when used as a dating tool you can read our Facebook review.

Plenty of Fish Membership Numbers

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The Plenty of fish blog just released some current traffic statistics for their dating site. It's good to see a snapshot of what the user base of Plenty of fish is. Marcus Frind released the statistics to highlight how his dating site has grown and to be more open on the number of members POF has.

The user statistics released are based on active daily registered users. This means that the user must be logged into to be considered part of the statistic group. I am assuming that the numbers given are an average but it doesn’t say what the timeline is for that. It probably is for last month (January) but I am only guessing that he would release the latest numbers available. The user statistics could very well be for last year, last quarter or some other time period.

Plenty of Fish’s largest market is the United States with 2 million active daily registered users. This is followed by the United Kingdom with 550,000 and then Canada with 450,000. POF estimates that if you take the roughly 1400 dating site (non-adult) found in the United States and combine their paying members you will come out with 2.5 million subscribers. Combining these numbers together sounds like a lot of people and it is, but online dating has a lot of room to grow. The population of the United States sits at about 313 million with about 100 million people actually single. This shows that about 1/3 of the population is single. The United Kingdom has a population of about 63 million and Canada is close to 35 million. If we assume that the proportions of singles in these countries are about the same as the US then there are about 21 million single people in the UK and about 12 million in Canada.

In the US I figure that there are about 5.5 million people actively using a dating site every day. I came up with this number by adding Plenty of Fish’s 2 million active users with 2.5 million US paid subscribers, and then adding in an extra million singles for all of the other free dating sites that people use. This means only 5.5 percent of all singles in the United States are actively using an online dating site. Since about 78% of the US has internet access (according to Wikipedia) then this percentage only slightly improves to about 7 percent. The potential for growth in the online dating industry is still huge when your untapped market sits at over 90 percent.

I also found a few other related statistics. Plenty of Fish currently reports (from July 2012) that they have had 45 million members register since launch in 2003. Their current rate of growth is 40,000 new members signing up every day which works out to about 30 percent a year. Members of POF send out 20 million messages a day generating 7 million conversations. Currently the average age on POF is 35. In 2009 the average member was 40 years old.

To find out more about this dating site you should read our Plenty of fish review.

Why Seniors Try Online Dating

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What inspires seniors to venture into the brave new world of online dating?

The same things that inspire everyone else, of course! (You didn't think seniors would really be so different, did you?) According to AARP, the top three reasons people over 50 turn to online dating are:

  1. A serious relationship (48%)
  2. Friendship/Companionship (26%)
  3. Casual dating (14%)

Amongst seniors, gender, age, income, occupation, and education play a role in what brings singles to online dating services.

Women are significantly more likely to be looking for friendship and companionship, while more men than women are looking for intimacy and sexual relations. Younger seniors, age 50-59, are looking for serious relationships more often than older seniors, age 60-69, who are primarily looking for companionship.

Looking at external factors, half of those with incomes greater than $50K are primarily in search of serious relationships. Those making more than $100K choose relationships based on physical intimacy instead. The more educated a senior single is, the more likely he/she is looking for a serious relationship and the less likely he/she is to want something casual or platonic.

Employment shows similar stats: those who are employed use online dating to enter serious relationships more often than those who are retired. Retirees, on the other hand, more commonly use online dating services to meet new friends.

Of course, not all seniors are interested in incorporating the Internet into their love lives. The top 3 reasons people over 50 don't try online dating, other than that they are currently dating someone, are:

  1. Online dating does not fit their lifestyle (18%)
  2. They've heard too many negative stories about online dating (13%)
  3. They feel it's too risky to talk to strangers online (12%)

Again, these reasons can be divided further by other factors.

Men are more likely to feel that online dating doesn't fit their lifestyle, while women are more likely to fear negative consequences from talking to strangers online. Mid income levels are also more likely to say online dating doesn't fit their lifestyle than lower income levels. By employment, retirees tend to feel the same way and by location, seniors living in the West agree.

Education levels reveal slightly different results. Those with high school diplomas or some college are more likely to believe it's too risky to talk to strangers online. Those who have graduated from college, on the other hand, are more likely to skip online dating because they believe there is no trusted site geared specifically to the over-50 age group.

If you are interested in finding out more about a great seniors dating site you should read our Our Time review.

2012 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award

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2012 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Gold
Recipient of Gold
2012 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Silver
Recipient of Silver
2012 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Bronze
Recipient of Bronze

The 2012 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award poll was closed on January 1st, 2012. It ran for 3 months and received just over 650 votes. The first question of this poll asked which paid dating site would you recommend for our Single’s Choice Award. This post takes a look at the results. In our opinion this award is our most important award and this is why it is the last one we give out. This award is voted on by our visitors which collectively spend much more time on dating sites and run into many more situations than we do. We deal with online dating sites everyday here at DSR but our visitors experiences make them the true experts.

For 2012 we listed the top online dating sites for you to vote on. There was eight in the list in which three will receive an award, Gold for first, Silver for second and Bronze for the third most votes.

The recipient of the Gold 2012 Single's Choice Award is They received 30.5 percent of the vote which works out to 199 votes. 5 of the dating sites received under 10 percent of the vote which shows has a huge lead in popularity. also received our Editor's Top Pick - Overall award earlier this year.

The recipient of the Silver 2012 Single's Choice Award is eHarmony. This matchmaking site received 23 percent of the vote which is a half percent more than last year. eHarmony also received an award for Editor's Top Pick - Match System which is no surprise. This is eHarmony’s 5th year in a row winning this award.

The recipient of the Bronze 2012 Single's Choice Award is Zoosk. Zoosk has been around since 2007 and has won this award once before in 2010. This year Zoosk received 78 votes which is 12 percent of the total vote.

Here are this year's standings for the Single's Choice award for all dating sites in the poll.

  2. eHarmony
  3. Zoosk
  4. Chemistry
  5. Lavalife
  6. Badoo

We here at Dating Sites Reviews (DSR) would like to thank everyone who voted for the 2012 Single's Choice Award. The results of the poll help our visitors in 2013 to figure out which service is best for them. It also helps us tailor the needs of our users and better report on the sites and services that interest them.

Will Facebook’s Graph Search Affect Online Dating?

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We all know the power of social media, especially Facebook. Which is why it's interesting that Facebook has developed its own service similar to an online dating search, helping people to connect with each other.

While Facebook has generally tried to distance itself from online dating in the past, Graph Search seems to be a move in that direction. Graph Search is a search engine (like main competitor Google), which harnesses the power of Facebook information. So you can search for recommendations for people, places, and businesses and gather information about them. For dating purposes, you can type in "friends of my friends who are single and living in Boston," and in theory the service will provide you with some choices and basic information.

Traditionally, people have used Facebook to find and "friend" people they know. But with Graph Search, people can find others outside their social circles and potentially connect.

Some online dating sites have already taken advantage of Facebook's social connections by harnessing the power of Facebook itself, like CoffeeMeetsBagel and among others. When you sign up, the services pull information from your Facebook page and match you with friends of friends, so you stay within your particular networks. But with Graph Search, the field can open up. You can search for other single users and filter the results based on their interests, education, age, hometown, and current city for example.

Of course, online dating sites do have an advantage over Facebook's Graph Search: the people who join online dating sites are definitely interested in dating.

Facebook can filter lists of people who are single to contact, but that doesn't mean these singles are in the dating market. If you don't want to be approached by virtual strangers for potential dates, Graph Search might be a motivation for you to shut down your Facebook profile if you start getting unwanted messages. With online dating sites, everyone is there for the same reason, so it's easier to approach people and to get responses.

Another benefit of online dating sites is the ability to cater your profile specifically to romantic searches. People use their Facebook pages for a variety of reasons - some personal, some professional. Facebook "Likes" don't equate with a detailed profile on a site like OkCupid where you can list your favorite music and movies, or write a description of yourself in a flirtatious manner that your mother or boss won't be able to read.

Either way, it's good to have more choices available to meet people and widen your social circles. Let's see how Graph Search will evolve when it comes to online dating.

Once Facebook Graph Search is out of beta and available to the general public we will have to update our dating review for Facebook to include this new tool.

OkCupid Gets “Crazy”

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You may think that OkCupid is crazy enough as is. You would be wrong.

OkCupid is about to get even crazier, with the launch of a new app called Crazy Blind Date. It's not a new idea - Crazy Blind Date was originally launched back in 2007 and was taken down shortly thereafter - but it promises to be better this time around.

The blind date has been around for...well...probably as long as dating has. It's a staple of many people's love lives, but the Internet has not yet been able to recreate its magic. OkCupid is hoping to fill that void, by setting singles up on blind dates with only a few hours' notice.

Traditional online dating requires hours of work spent writing profiles, searching through potential candidates, and crafting intriguing messages. Crazy Blind Date takes only a few minutes so users can get straight to what matters most: meeting face to face.

Using the app couldn't get any easier:

  • Download the app for iPhone or Android.
  • Choose which nights of the week you're available for dates
  • Pick your favorite bar or coffee shop.
  • Let Crazy Blind Date do the rest.

Once the app finds a compatible date, it sends confirmations to the parties involved and the date is booked. An hour before the date is scheduled, an anonymous IM window is opened so the participants can start communicating and find each other easily.

Once the date is complete, Crazy Blind Date asks users to give feedback on the experience. If you had a good time, you're offered the opportunity to vouch for your date by purchasing credits, called "Kudos," on their behalf. One will cost $0.99 and ten, for really spectacular dates, will cost $2.99. The more Kudos a person collects, the higher priority they are given for future date assignments.

From a user's point of view, the Kudos system helps make sure that everyone is on his or her best behavior during the date. From OkCupid's point of view, the system is an innovation. "Never before has a dating app allowed singles to pay on a per-date basis, and to vary that payment based on the quality of the date itself," says Sam Yagan, Co-Founder of OkCupid.

Is a blind date the best way to lead to lasting love? Well...maybe not. But that's ok, because that's not the point. Crazy Blind Date isn't about helping you find your future spouse - it's about having fun. "A lot of dates aren't going to work, but you are going to meet someone interesting," Yagan told Mashable in an interview last month. "And you're going to have a lot of stories."