Free Dating Sites Give Paid Sites A Run For Their Money - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Ross Williams -

"Give paid sites a run for their money"??!

So how much money do those top 5 free sites in each country make per year? Probably less than a good paid site makes in a few weeks.

Martin Bysh - CEO,

FriendsReunitedDating isn't free, it's £18.50 per month (Of course I'm only mentioning this as it bumps us to 3rd).

Ross is largely right. Free sites have a very low average revenue per user, especially if the site is purely ad-funded, but as the active member base of a free site is a much higher proportion of the entire database than the active portion of a paying site it's not as bad as it might at first seem.

Add to this these facts: 1) the cost of acquisition on an established free site (in the UK at least) is about a sixth that of a paying site 2) the much lower churn rate free sites have over paid sites, and 3) the very low support costs, and it's not all bad. And if you happen to own a subscription based site too it's also a great source of free leads.

The revenues can also be increased dramatically by selling premium services (virtual gifts, greater prominence, etc). The take-up of these extras is not particularly high of course when expressed as a percentage of the total active user base (I'm guessing that you're seeing this on WLD Ross), but as I mentioned above, active users constitute a far higher percentage of the overall database than on a paid site resulting in more sales of these extras.

In short our experience is that free sites turnover a lot less, but have better margins. However in today's climate they still cost millions to establish and this will be harder to recoup given the lower turnover.

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