Online dating services allow users to become "members" by creating a profile and uploading personal information including (but not limited to) age, gender, sexual orientation, location, and appearance.Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.Members can constrain their interactions to the online space, or they can arrange a date to meet in person.A great diversity of online dating services currently exists.Further, during this period, the usage among 18- to 24-year-olds tripled, while that among 55- to 65-year-olds doubled.Niche sites cater to people with special interests, such as sports fans, racing and automotive fans, medical or other professionals, people with political or religious preferences (e.g., Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.), people with medical conditions (e.g., HIV , obese), or those living in rural farm communities.An online dating service is a company that provides specific mechanisms (generally websites or applications) for online dating through the use of Internet-connected personal computers or mobile devices.Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based.
However, Sam Yagan describes dating sites as ideal advertising platforms because of the wealth of demographic data made available by users.
Opinions and usage of online dating services also differ widely.
A 2005 study of data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that individuals are more likely to use an online dating service if they use the Internet for a greater number of tasks, and less likely to use such a service if they are trusting of others.
This model also allows users to switch between free and paying status at will, with sites accepting a variety of online currencies and payment options.
Most free dating websites depend on advertising revenue, using tools such as Google Ad Sense and affiliate marketing.