The Commercialization of Dating

According to onlinedatingpost.com, the dating industry is a $1billion dollar market, consisting of 850 date sites in 2005 alone. From the beginning of the decade industry revenues increased year over year by 70% but slowed down by 10% in 2006 to $649 million,and the industry is projected to grow by 8% until 2011, according to Jupiter Research. On average most sites charge about $35 dollars a month. Match.com has 1.3 million members, and earned $350 million dollars in 2007. The other major player in the industry is eHarmony.The company generates annual revenues of $200 million dollars with a 30% yearly growth rate, has 17 million members, 230 employees, and produces about 90 marriages a day that have so far added 100,000 children to the population, courtesy of onlinedatingpost.com.

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The cost of dating extends beyond the date sites, indirect costs of dating such as money spent on dinners, contraceptives, and extra money spent on gas to drive to meet with a date, can accumulate, increasing the cost of dating beyond the $35 dollars a month one spends on the membership. One friend of mine who dated quite often told me he had to cut back on dating, because paying for dinners ended up costing him between $100-$200 dollars a week. He also mentioned, sometimes he would spend up to $200 dollars on one date alone.

Dating is a lucrative business that may be recession proof. Even in economic downturns people will continue to search for love. Although the growth of the dating industry is slowing down, this does not indicate people will stop searching for love, especially dealing with date sites. If people are returning to more traditional avenues of meeting someone, such as bars, date sites may have to start forming partnerships with bars to sustain or increase their membership base. Advertising on bar menus and sponsoring single’s nights may be coming soon.

Date sites are businesses that sell memberships to people searching for love, or just people looking to improve their social life, by meeting someone new. In selling memberships there is advertising, and advertising may lead to false impressions. eHarmony for example, admittedly is rather methodical in its approach to matchmaking and 90 marriages a day stands as testimony that they may be doing something right. However, the impression provided by the commercials, is that eHarmony is the site to go to if one wishes to seriously meet someone for a long term relationship. The questionnaire potential eHarmony members must fill out is lengthy and takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.The 436 item questionnaire includes, questions about one’s sexuality, activity level, and religious preferences. According to USAToday.com, eHarmony rejects less then %10 of its prospective members, and that includes people who have been married four or more times,and those who are in their early twenties.

Speaking from experience, after about 30 minutes of careful reading, my application was rejected, because eHarmony could not find a match for me. I felt disappointed as I asked myself, ” How could this be?” ” I thought they had a good way of matching people up? ” Although eHarmony is successful in producing marriages, one is likely to say the advertising is misleading after spending 15-30 minutes filling out an application only to be rejected. I also signed up with Americansingles.com, and after emailing about about 20 people, with no response, after a while I stopped checking the site. About 5 members emailed me, 1 of them was 50 years old, and 4 out of the 5 lived out of state. One appeared to be spam, but I sent an email to her anyways because she lived in Tampa, Fl. There was one member who left her phone number. I called her, and I left a message, but she never called me back.

Besides the date sites, there are books about dating that add to the commercialization of dating. These books provide tips and dating philosophies enabling one to perform well on dates. Dating from this method is reduced to perspectives. Consider this site’s perspective on dating for example. http://www.alovelinksplus.com has a link, “Best Conversation Topics For Dates”, that outlines how to converse with women on dates.The author of the site, David Deangelo mentions, making fun of celebrities, and other people on dates, are good conversation topics that could inject humor into the situation. This method may have worked for Deangelo, but not for others. Some suggest simple conversations about life ,movies, and work are good enough to keep things interesting.

With all the advertisements about dating, some may feel that they have to date, and that being single is problematic. My close friends date heavily and they do not like being alone for too long. This may be due to basic loneliness that is not all related to the advertisements, but being reminded through advertisement that someone is out there waiting for you can be quite burdensome, especially if a person does not like being alone. However, these companies cannot stop advertising because people feel pressured to date. Finding someone takes time. Many seeking love have to date quite a number of people before they eventually meet someone as a life long companion.

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