The field is already crowded, with almost 3,900 companies running dating sites, according to a report last fall from business research firm IBISWorld.
The report projects the industry to add about a hundred companies per year over the next four years.
Offering geo-dating apps, which allow smartphone users to locate potential dates nearby--has become almost a prerequisite for keeping up in mobile.
That’s long been the province of niche sites like Grindr.com, whose users spend a huge 2 hours a day on the site, according to the company, and Tinder.com, which has apparently become a favorite among athletes at the Sochi Olympics.
Of course there are sites aimed at specific religious or ethnic groups, but there are also those who aim to match couples with very specific interests.
The Passion Network, for example, is a small empire of 250 dating hubs like bronypassions.com, for fans of the My Little Pony TV series; for mustache mavens; and even zombiepassions.com, for those obsessed with the walking dead.Still, those who break up can take solace that they’ll have plenty of help—from the likes of divorcedpeoplemeet.com, divorcedating.com, and justdivorcedsingles.com—in getting fixed up again.Top Reads From The Fiscal Times: STEVE YODER writes about business, real estate and other domestic policy issues.Last December, more than 1 in 10 American adults visited dating sites, spending more than an hour a day there on average, according to Market research company Nielsen.(The 1.8 million visitors to OKCupid topped the field for time spent, at 3 hours a day.) Changing demographics are a big part of what’s inflating the industry.Target marketing, changing demographics, and decreasing stigma about online dating are continually bringing new users to fore.That growth is already beginning to attract investors.The biggest web dating companies have a huge lead over the competition—two control more than 40 percent of the market.Leader Inter Active Corp (IAC) owns at least 30 sites, including and OKCupid, followed by e Harmony.com, which targets a slightly older demographic. Of 19,000 couples married between 20, more than a third met through an online dating site, according to a study in last May’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.In a poll last October by the Pew Research Center, just 21 percent of Internet users agreed with the statement “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” an 8-point drop from the last poll in 2005.Disapproval has gotten especially rare among 20-somethings, who grew up with web dating as the norm, says e Harmony spokesman Grant Langston.