Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.There are mixed opinions regarding the safety of online dating.Over 50% of research participants in a 2011 study did not view online dating as a dangerous activity, whereas 43% thought that online dating involved risk.Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.Still others rely solely on paid membership subscriptions.An online dating service is a company that provides specific mechanisms (generally websites or applications) for online dating through the use of Internet-connected personal computers or mobile devices.Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.
The stigma associated with online dating dropped over the years and people view online dating more positively.
The 2016 Pew Research Center's survey reveals that the usage of online dating sites by American adults increased from 9% in 2013, to 12% in 2015.
Some have a broad membership base of diverse users looking for many different types of relationships.
Other sites target highly specific demographics based on features like shared interests, location, religion, or relationship type.