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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.
Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue.
Others utilize the freemium revenue model, offering free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.
For instance, some profiles may not represent real humans but rather "bait profiles" placed online by site owners to attract new paying members, or "spam profiles" created by advertisers to market services and products.
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.
That is, online dating sites use the conceptual framework of a "marketplace metaphor" to help people find potential matches, with layouts and functionalities that make it easy to quickly browse and select profiles in a manner similar to how one might browse an online store.
Under this metaphor, members of a given service can both "shop" for potential relationship partners and "sell" themselves in hopes of finding a successful match.