Click your way to a perfect date, perfect mate.
We live in a society that is in perpetual motion; while love may make the world go round, it’s actually the Internet that makes dating and technology a match made in heaven. More people across ever-expanding geographies have access to hand-held technologies and are using them to make new connections in an unprecedented way. The Internet empowers us to take action rather than idly sitting back and taking what the universe has to give. As more people are making connections with the click of a button through online connections, a new era in how people date is upon us. Welcome to the newly established societal norm of online dating.
Social media continues to transform the way humans communicate. It was not even 10 years ago that the general masses stereotyped online dating as a form of desperation, but that negative stigma is fading away at an accelerating pace. There are 112 million people in the United States who are single, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for dating sites and plenty of opportunities for money to be made. This industry is very desirable with a long forecast of growth in the near future, but I cannot say the same about the increase in niche dating apps that are just starting up. As a leading authority on buying, selling and improving businesses, I help my clients identify their business’ demand within its industry versus operational qualities buyers would find appealing. The online-dating industry has become a very competitive one to operate in. The bigger the membership base, the bigger the business — and the ever more appealing that company becomes.
For example: Even if a Zombie apocalypse happens on this planet, a niche dating-service company like Zombiepassions.com will never be able to take a bite out of companies like Match.com. Nevertheless, online-dating companies continue to sprout like weeds, expanding at an average of 3.5 percent per year since 2008, and they continued to do so throughout the recession — bringing the industry to a $2.1 billion powerhouse today (and growing).
While the increasing numbers of smartphone user applications are bringing the industry to more people, another factor boosting the online dating trend is cost. Simply put, it’s a cheaper way of getting a date. In retrospect, I cannot even recall how many dates I’ve gone on throughout my life.
There’s a saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Well, dating applications save time and money now. With one swipe you can kiss a frog goodbye. Likewise, women are more independent than they have ever been in our Western society, and they are increasingly putting their careers before relationships. Everyone seems to be working harder and longer hours. There never seems to be any time, or people don’t want to make time (because the risk of wasting time outweighs the potential of a serendipitous encounter), and so online-dating apps are a logical tool for simplifying the lives of people who are limited by location or with time.
Even as the user base skyrockets in online-dating service databases, it’s not clear if sites’ algorithms for pairing couples are improving a pair’s chances of staying together for the long term. Dating applications build their algorithms around a set of rules —typically similarity but also complementary — but such algorithms are not credible to a relationship’s well-being, despite automatic assumptions.
And do not think that online dating is the solution to a lonely life full of confusion. People are click-happy and addicted to instant gratification. If you are someone who cannot even sit through a dinner conversation without getting on your smartphone, then I am talking to YOU! It’s sad that so many of us cannot even talk to the people that are naturally placed in our lives. I recommend conquering that before attempting to form another relationship that you can’t manage.
Also, not surprisingly, members of these online dating sites aren’t always completely honest. Members tend to exaggerate and sometime even lie. If you want to increase your chance of finding a soul mate online, then join sites that have a number advantage. Successful sites have larger membership bases. Currently, Plenty of Fish is the dominating dating service with over 55 million users that span several countries and continents. Also, if you want your online profile to get noticed by more potential suitors, I recommend avoiding selfies (they make me want to shoot my selfie). And always remember that these online dating applications are first and foremost a business! The objective of these sites is to find you a mate, but their intention is to make money. In order to do so, they must devise tactics that make you need to stay on their site. Keep that in mind! Lastly, the online-dating industry is an overly saturated market. Here is an eclectic group of different dating apps for all fish looking to swim in a new sea. Dive in!
Anonymously choose friends-of-friends to meet. When you mutual match, this app organizes a group date for you that consists of drinks between your friends and theirs. The app buys the first round of drinks, but it makes up for its loss by charging its users $15 per person, or $45 in total for each Grouper meet-up.
Tinder works because it takes rejection off the table. It’s a free app that has users swipe “yes” or “no” on other users’ pictures. If two people swipe “yes” on each other it’s called a match, allowing communications via text. It’s a great app for globetrotters looking for a free tour guide in a foreign town, or maybe something more …
HelloTel is Tinder for hotel guests; it’s free and designed more for socializing during your hotel stays. When you sign into your location, the app asks you your agenda: business or pleasure?
HOW ABOUT WE
This discount dating tool markets itself as an “offline” service — wait, what? The app plans date activities, offering discounts of up to 75 percent. It’s for frugal daters, but I recommend it for poor couples in need of a date night too. This app caters to an older crowd, with profiles designed to appeal to sophisticated professionals.
PLENTY OF FISH
Plenty Of Fish has the largest user base in the entire online-dating industry. It’s free, but offers an up-sale offer for additional services that anyone with some self-control can live without. It also offers personalized services, matching users interested in similar or complementary ways.
Match.com is the big brand in the business. The company also owns eHarmony and Tinder, which are just a couple of its several acquisitions. This website-turned-app allows users to set up online profiles for free with new matches delivered daily. More comprehensive features require a membership subscription, such as the ability to see who has checked out your profile (stalk much?).
Grindr is one of the most successful hook-up apps catering to gay, bisexual and bi-curious men. It’s also one of the first to capitalize on localized networking through a phone’s GPS. It’s a free app, sustaining itself by showing screen advertisements (that you can pay to have removed).
Blendr combines next-generation dating apps with the gatekeeping paid-membership rates that dating sites typically offer. If you’re looking for something a little more serious than a casual fling, then this one may be your type of thing.
Bumble’s gimmick: Only women can start conversations with their connections. If a woman doesn’t get in touch with a guy, he disappears from her feed — unless he chooses to extend it for an additional 24 hours, which is the time frame she has to ping him. (Guys can only do this with one connection per day.) With gay and lesbian users, either party can send the first note.