CNN MONEY -- Aug 18 -- Online dating has shrugged off its social stigma and emerged as a mainstream means for singles to find that special someone. The U.S. online dating industry is expected to climb 9% year-over-year with revenues of $516 million in 2005, said Nate Elliott, an analyst at Jupiter Research. That's slower than the 19% growth in 2004. And 77% in 2003. There are currently nearly 1,000 dating Web sites, said Bill Tancer of Hitwise, and one out of every 100 people logging on to the internet visits an online dating site. Niche sites are popular. Social networking sites have become increasingly popular among the young. That's giving traditional online dating sites a run for their money, said John Tinker, research analyst at ThinkEquity Partners. The Big 3 online dating sites -- Yahoo! Personals, Match.com and EHarmony.com will have to tweak their business models and create new innovative products to grow revenue. One place to look is advertising. Date.com's CEO Meir Strahlberg said that advertising revenues have doubled in the past few months to 10% of total revenue. "There are 86 million single adults who control annual spending of $1.6 trillion," Strahlberg said. "Online dating sites reach about 30 percent of that market currently." Date.com can target an advertiser's products to almost any demographic based on user profiles. Yahoo! Personals general manager Lorna Borenstein said, "today's online daters are increasingly sophisticated. You can't just increase offerings; you have to help singles figure out their relationship goals and offer tools to help them find their version of success, whatever that might be." FULL ARTICLE @ CNN MONEY
Mark Brooks: Hot future trends; 1. targeted advertising on online dating sites. 2. personality profiling.