Best Free Dating Site!

Online dating or Internet dating is a dating system which allows individuals, couples and groups to make contact and communicate with each other over the Internet, 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 services generally require a prospective member to provide personal information, before they can search the service provider's database for other individuals using criteria they set, such as age range, gender and location.  Most sites allow members to upload photos of themselves and browse the photos of others. Sites may offer additional services, such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards. Some sites provide free registration, but may offer services which require a monthly fee. Other sites depend on advertising for their revenue.

 Many sites are broad-based, with members coming from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships. Other sites are more specific, based on the type of members, interests, location, or relationship desired.
United States residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004, and over $500 million in 2005, the largest segment of “paid content” on the web other than pornography, according to a study conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks. The U.S. online dating market is expected to increase spending to $932 million in 2011. 

At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38 percent increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc. However, market share was increasingly being dominated by several large commercial services, including AOL Personals, Yahoo! Personals,, and eHarmony. By 2007, many prominent studies show that Baby Boomer interest in online dating had soared.

In 2002, a Wired magazine article forecast that, "Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because 'the right books are found only by accident.' Serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient."

Most recently, it has become common for online dating websites to provide webcam chats between members. In addition, as the online dating population becomes larger, sites with specific demographics are becoming more popular as a way to narrow the pool of potential matches.  According to online personals expert Mark Brooks from, online dating sites are adding features including handwriting analysis to match like-minded mates.

The most successful niche sites pair people by race, sexual orientation or religion.  The 20 most popular dating sites this year as ranked by Hitwise include JDate (for Jewish singles), Christian Mingle, Christian Cafe and JCMATCH, Manhunt (for gay men), Love From India, Black Christian People Meet, Amigos (for Latino singles), Asian People Meet,, Shaadi (for Indian singles) and (for Africans).  In March 2008, the top 5 overall sites held 7% less market share than they did one year ago while the top sites from the top five major niche dating categories made considerable gains.  One of the "hottest trends in online dating" is the babyboomers on the top dating sites. Around 30% of America's 80 million babyboomers are single.
Since 2003, several free dating sites, operating on ad based-revenue rather than monthly subscriptions, have appeared and become increasingly popular.  Several newer sites such as OkCupid are beginning to offer more full featured dating services for free, and are starting to compete with staples in the free dating site world such as PlentyofFish. Due to the level of competition between free dating sites, as well as the overall drop in traffic to and revenue for dating sites generally, some sites are branching out into self service advertising. This represents a break from traditional externally sourced ads and is just one of the ways that the revenue models of free dating sites are evolving.

Especially popular in Eastern Europe, some sites offer full access to messaging and profiles, but provide additional services for pay, such as bumping profiles up to the top of the list, removing advertisements, making paying users' profiles appear several times in different places in the search results, and giving paying users a more advanced search engine to work with (in one real example, free users may only search for persons of specified age, gender, orientation, and city, while subscribers may search for any and all parameters listed in profiles, such as height, weight, interests, etc.). Also, this model generally allows users to switch between free and paying status at will and without having to do anything, simply providing advanced features for a set period of time whenever the according payment is received. Ease of payment is also generally higher, with such sites accepting a variety of online currencies, letting users charge the payment to their cellular phones, etc. Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options.

Virtual dating
Virtual dating combines online dating with online gaming. Virtual dating involves the use of avatars for people to interact in a virtual venue that resembles a real life dating environment. For example, individuals can meet and chat in a romantic virtual cafe in Paris or on a Caribbean resort.  According to Scientific American, virtual dating is "the next step in online dating" (Feb/March 2007, p. 35).

A Time Magazine article entitled "Internet Dating 2.0" was published on January 19, 2007 citing current and upcoming technologies and explains how people can now connect in a virtual dating environment. Time describes how websites are allowing people to meet for an avatar based, graphically enabled virtual date without leaving their homes.

Researchers at MIT and Harvard have found that "people who had had a chance to interact with each other (by computer only) on a virtual tour of a museum subsequently had more successful face-to-face meetings than people who had viewed only profiles.
 Video dating
Video dating is a form of virtual dating that allows users to use live dating services with actual reality that stimulates a real dating experience. Sites offering video dating allow 3-5 minute webcam interviews with online matches.  Dating sites offering video dating include: Lavalife,, CupidCams and LoveAccess.

 Social networking
The role of social networking services in online dating has been explored in a book dedicated to the subject. The findings of the study reveal that the online dating services driven by subscriptions offer the least amount of social networking opportunities, as they often only utilize the personal homepage genre of online community, which only makes them effective for the bonding and encoding stage of the relationship. 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. The highest scoring dating service was Facebook, which uses the personal homepage genre, the message board genre, the weblog and directory genre, as well as utilizing the Circle of Friends. The second highest scoring, Second Life utilizes virtual worlds, message boards, chat groups and profile pages to allow people to contact in a three-dimensional environment.



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