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At present, Online Personals Watch estimates that there are over 800 online dating sites being used on a day-to-day basis by patrons in the US alone. This same site estimates that 1,000+ more exist around the world. So why is it that people are so caught up in this virtual dating world, and what new breakthroughs are making it so damn attractive?
One of the biggest innovations is avatar-based instant messaging. There’s a lot of talk about how Web sites like Second Life will impact online dating. I’ve seen statistics that 80% of people will have an online virtual identity by 2011. That seems very high to me! One site that’s pioneering the use of avatars is OmniDate.com.
Another emerging technology is iovation, which helps online dating sites battle fraud. One problem that keeps online dating executives up at night is scammers. With iovation’s Reputation Manager, one dating site can flag a person as abusive and throw them out and then let other sites in the online dating community know about it. Then others can quarantine that person, or at least keep an eye on them.
Internet dating has been great for the industry. It has warmed an entire generation of users to the prospect of getting help in dating and paying for that help. It’s like a giant sales funnel. At the top are generic dating sites and at the bottom are expensive matchmaking services.
Online dating does take time and money. If you have considerably more bucks, you can go straight to the matchmaking service and have a date with somebody who is compatible right away.
Image Credit: Salon.