It has become increasingly common for individuals to find their partners online, a trend which started around 1997.
This is in contrast to the advertising model, which is usually free to join and use, with sites earning money through online advertising.
A British company which operates under the advertising model is Free uk, founded by Dan Winchester.
The site was established in 2005 and operates solely in the UK.
Why struggle to find someone special in a crowded bar when you can do it more easily and effectively from the comfort of your own home?
The industry has grown exponentially in many Western countries.
For instance, one in ten Americans have used an online dating site or mobile dating app; 66% of these users have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or app, and 23% have met a spouse or long term partner through these sites (1).
It is estimated that the industry is worth more than £2bn globally (2).
In the UK, it is worth £300m a year and, according to the UK’s Online Dating Association (ODA), ‘’. These sites differ in terms of their number of users, their user characteristics, geographic coverage, and in their business models.
And the offer is widening: matchmaking, niche dating, social dating, dating apps, and online personals, are all examples of new products that have been launched in recent years. The subscription-based model is the preferred business model of some of the largest sites.