Like so much online content, love don’t cost a thing. But it can earn the right startup a bundle.
Online dating is a $1.5 billion per year industry in the U.S., according to estimates by David Evans, a consultant in the field and author of the Online Dating Insider. About 1,500 sites populate the market, and a few public companies and their flagship brands dominate: Match.com generates roughly $400 million; eHarmony about $150 million; and raunchier hookup site Adult Friend Finder earn about $250 million in annual revenue, Evans says.
And now a wave of newer dating sites are wooing the market with quirky concepts and emerging technology—including mobile apps, social media, geolocation, and even facial recognition—to challenge traditional sites and our concept of seeking love online. None has swept the market off its feet—yet.
Although the internet seems to the be the perfect medium for actually finding people to go out with, the dates still take place in the real world. Is there a wash to cash in on this online trend in the offline world? I think so.
Photo by Marilyn M.