Paid Dating Sites Declare War - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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There is a critically important fact that people may be overlooking here: the amount of $$ you will generate off each 1000 visitors from AdSense is about 5 times LESS than you will pay to obtain those same 1000 visitors via PPC. Thus, the only way to be viable as a free dating site is to be a top 5 for significant keywords on the search engines (free traffic). The two significant problems there: 1) Google, Yahoo etc have many whims and whereas you may be #1 today you could be on page 2 tomorrow; thre is no control and thus you're putting your bussiness's future into a big gamble. Problem #2 - the first 5 listings get 80% of the traffic. That means only 5 dating sites will really be able to succeed with this plan. Those are low odds. The odds are low and the risk is high. No major corporation could jusitfy such a business model, particularly if they are public.


PS - I know whereof I speak ... I've been struggling to figure out this whole free thing for several months now. I'm in the red every month, in the name of seeding the site. I've decided part free + part premium is the closest I care to go to free in a long term sense. You'll see me start to move in this direction in the coming months.


Sound advice from Neal -

Thanks for the post.

I'm currently contemplating my future premium services. While keeping the basic service free. Though I noticed a couple free dating sites are able to transcend Google's whimsy algorithms and stay pegged at number one. Nice work okcupid. Is is the 5 zillion blogs linking to the 'slut' test?

Cmon, tell us :)

Nice work!


Why is no one speaking about "micro-payments" or have I missed something? Is this just a phenomenon in Russia? I think it's the perfect mix; you join the site for free but make small payments via your mobile for additional services and benefits, like making your profile "VIP" or leaving a voice message for someone, or positioning your profile in more visible place. The list of possible “profile upgrades and services” is endless and these sites in Russia are making millions (,,, and more)!

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