FT - Nov 11 - Kelly Hitchcock works as a virtual dating assistant. She is penning profiles and making contact with potential matches on behalf of men and women who are too inept, too strapped for time or simply unwilling to do so themselves. Ms Hitchcock is employed by Scott Valdez, who launched Virtual Dating Assistants in 2009. The US census calculates that of the nation’s 87m singles, 40m have tried online dating. Annual revenues from dating sites are $1.2bn in the US and $3.5bn worldwide, according to Courtland Brooks, an internet dating consultancy. Mark Brooks, a consultant to dating sites, believes virtual dating assistants have a future. “A significant proportion of people don’t have time to filter through online matches. They are cheaper than matchmakers, who typically charge between $5,000 and $50,000”. Virtual Dating Assistants charges $147 for a basic profile, while $600-$700 a month will buy you date selection and correspondence.