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Introduction sites differ from the traditional online dating model, and attracted a large number of users and significant investor interest.In Eastern Europe, popular sites offer full access to messaging and profiles, but provide additional services for pay, such as prioritizing profile position, removing advertisements, and giving paying users access to a more advanced search engine.Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options.This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options.At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc.The stigma associated with online dating dropped over the years and people view online dating more positively.Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.Online dating services also differ widely in their revenue streams.
Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google Ad Sense and affiliate marketing.Since advertising revenues are modest compared to membership fees, this model requires a large number of page views to achieve profitability.However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.
There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.
Most services offer digital messaging, while others provide additional services such as webcasts, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP), and message boards.