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Users of an online dating service would usually provide personal information, to enable them to search the service provider's database for other individuals.
Members use criteria other members set, such as age range, gender and location.
Some sites such as Ok Cupid.com, and are free and offer additional paid services in a freemium revenue model.
Some sites are broad-based, with members coming from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships.
Research about social networking reveals that the online dating services driven by subscriptions offer the least amount of social networking opportunities.
The dating services modeled on the free-at-the-point-of-use model scored much higher as many of them utilized the Circle of Friends social networking method and a wider number of online community genres.Since 2003, several free dating sites, operating on ad based-revenue rather than monthly subscriptions, have appeared and become increasingly popular.Several newer sites such as Ok are beginning to offer more full featured dating services for free, and are starting to compete with staples in the free dating site world such as The highest scoring dating service was Facebook, which uses the personal homepage genre, the message board genre, the weblog and directory genre, as well as utilizing the Circle of Friends.The second highest scoring, Second Life utilizes virtual worlds, message boards, chat groups and profile pages to allow people to contact in a three-dimensional environment.At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38% increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc. By 2007, many prominent studies show that Baby Boomer interest in online dating have soared.